Arabian Prince - Biography
Arabian Prince was an early west coast electro pioneer and one of the founding members of N.W.A. After quitting that group, he briefly dabbled in the gangsta rap they helped make popular before returning to his electro roots.
Mik Lezan was born in Compton in 1965 and was raised in Inglewood. Lezan's mother was a music teacher and his father worked at a radio station, KACE, where the teenager would use the production facilities to make mixtapes to sell at school. That lead to DJing at school dances as Arabian Prince with a classmate and then a club, The Cave, which featured many early west coast rap artists including Egyptian Lover, World Class Wreckin' Cru, Rodney O & Joe Cooley, L.A. Dream Team and his own act, Uncle Jamm's Army. In 1983, a German team came to Los Angeles to film a documentary, Breakin' and Enterin', filmed at, Radiotron, a sort of youth center originally located in Westlake. Arabian Prince, Ice-T, Egyptian Lover, Chris "The Glove" Taylor, Shabba Doo, Pop'n Taco, Kid Frost and Boogaloo Shrimp were all present and the film was the inspiration for Breakin'.
Arabian Prince joined the comedy electro act, Bobby Jimmy & the Critters, and in 1984, they released their debut, "We Like Ugly Women." Arabian Prince's next release was his solo debut, "Strange Life." In 1985, Arabian Prince continued working with Bobby Jimmy as well as on other releases on Raspur, a label run by KDAY's Russ Par. He also released two more solo singles, "It Ain't Tough" and "Take You Home Girl."
After Raspur closed shop, Arabian Prince started his own labgel, Street Kut Records and "Situation Hot" in 1986. It proved to be the label's only release and that year he formed the soon-to-be-infamous N.W.A. with a fellow electro DJ, World Class Wreckin' Cru's Dr. Dre as well as hardcore rap act C.I.A.'s Ice Cube and a Eazy-E, adrug dealer who co-founded Ruthless Records with his earnings. Their first release, N.W.A. & the Posse, was intended more as a showcase of Ruthless's talent than a proper group release. Arabian Prince's main contribution was "Panic Zone." Along with Dr. Dre and World Class Wreckin' Cru's other DJ, Yella, Arabian Prince also co-produced J.J. Fad's massively popular "Supersonic." The following year the members of N.W.A. took a turn for the gangsta, adopting the style and attitude of another Ruthless rapper, MC Ren, when he formally joined the crew. Arabian Prince worked on their seminal Straight Outta Compton, appearing on the cover and rapping on "Somethin' 2 Dance 2" but he quit the group shortly before its release, alleging unfair business practices.
After leaving N.W.A., Arabian Prince's next collaboration, on J.B. Beat's "Freak City," attracted none of the attention of his former group, which were by then under fire from members of Congress, the LAPD and the FBI. As Professor X, he released a techno single, "Professor X (Saga)" on Techno Kut. For his full-length solo debut, Brother Arab (1989 Orpheus Records), the rapper rocked gold rope, a Raiders cap, almost completely eschewing electro in pursuit of gangsta sound popularized by his former comrades. It reached #193 in the charts.
Situation Hot (1990 Macola Records) repackaged many of Arabian Prince's pre-N.W.A. singles and was further expanded in a 1998 re-issue. Despite his lack of post-N.W.A. success, Arabian Prince signed a deal with Capitol/EMI. In 1992, he recorded The Underworld. In the face of the controversy surrounding gangsta rap, the label got cold feet and pulled it before release. Arabian Prince, in turn, started another independent label, Da Bozak Records, and released Where's My Bytches (1993), which included some of the tracks from The Underworld. After it's commercial failure, Arabian Prince worked on L.A. Nash's debut.
In the latter half of the '90s, Lezan focused on producing music for TV and film spots. In 1999, he was hired at Fox Interactive to work as a video game tester and worked on The Operative - No One Lives Forever (2002 Sierra Entertainment) and others. He also operated an animation studio in Korea, working on Kimchi Pong. In 2004, Lezan launched a website, Onefader.com. Today, he still DJ's regularly around Los Angeles and working on another animation project, Funky Lil Anime.