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The Outlawz (formerly known as Tha Outlaw Immortalz) was an American hip hop group founded by rapper Tupac Shakur in late 1995 after Shakur's release from prison. Collectively, they were best known for their association with Shakur.
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In the earlier years of the Outlawz, they were known as Dramacydal. Dramacydal first appeared on the B-side of Tupac Shakur's 1993 single "Holler If Ya Hear Me", on the track "Flex". Dramacydal was composed of K-Dog (Kastro), Young Hollywood (Yaki Kadafi), Mutah or Mu (Napoleon), and Big Malcolm (E.D.I. Mean). They also appeared on 2Pac's Me Against The World and All Eyez on Me albums. They were also known as "Thoro Headz" and "Young Thugz".
When 2Pac signed to Death Row upon his release from prison, he recruited his stepbrother, Mopreme Shakur, and Big Syke from Thug Life. Hussein Fatal, Napoleon, E.D.I. Mean, Kastro, Yaki Kadafi, and Storm (the only female Outlaw) were also added. Together they formed the original lineup of the Outlaw Immortalz that debuted on 2Pac's multi-platinum smash hit album All Eyez on Me. They later dropped the title of "Immortalz" after the untimely deaths of 2Pac and Yaki Kadafi. Subsequently, some of the members of Thug Life, not joined by the others, moved on as the "Outlawz".
When Tupac Shakur recorded "Hit 'Em Up", a diss track beamed towards his former friend and rival The Notorious B.I.G., Puff Daddy, and Lil' Kim, he recruited three members from the group he had previously worked with, eager to work with them again. Together with New Jersey rappers and other associates they formed the original lineup of the Outlawz. Young Noble was later added and appeared on 2Pac's second Death Row release, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, that carried 2Pac's new stage name, Makaveli. It was on this Makaveli album that Outlawz, appearing on a few songs, first came to the greater rap community's notice.
The idea behind the group was for each member to have a rap name coinciding with the names of various leaders who resisted control by the new world order, past and present. Outlawz chose in later years to make a backronym out of the letters of their group name, "Operating Under Thug Laws As Warriorz", although it does not stand for the group's name and is used infrequently.
There were ten original members of the Outlawz, including Makaveli:
- Makaveli (Tupac Shakur), also known as 2pac, was the leader of the group; he gave himself the name of Makaveli after the Italian political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli, whose writings inspired Shakur in prison. Shakur was fatally injured in a drive-by shooting on September 7, 1996 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
- Yaki Kadafi (Yafeu Fula), also known as Young Hollywood, Yak and Killa Kadafi, was given the name Yaki Kadafi after Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. He was also Shakur's godbrother and an original member of Dramacydal. He was shot and killed by Napoleon's cousin in what is believed to have been an accident on November 10, 1996, 2 months after the death of Tupac Shakur.
- Kastro (Katari Cox), also known as K-Dog, Kato and K.Kastro was given the alias Kastro after Cuban communist revolutionary and leader Fidel Castro. He is also a blood cousin of Shakur and an original member of Dramacydal. In 2009, Kastro left the Outlawz.
- E.D.I. Mean (Malcolm Greenridge), also known as Big Mal, was given the alias E.D.I. Mean (later changed to EDIDON) after Ugandan president and dictator Idi Amin and was also an original member of Dramacydal.
- Hussein Fatal (Bruce Washington), also known as Dirty Bruce, Dizza and Fatal Hussein, introduced to Tupac by childhood friend Yaki Kadafi, was given the alias after former President and leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein. Hussein left the group temporarily in June 1996 after accidentally crashing a truck, which Tupac bought for the Outlawz, into a pole while being intoxicated, thus knowing that he might get kicked out of the group. He more recently rejoined the Outlawz, which then comprised him, Young Noble and Edi before being killed in a car accident on July 10, 2015.
- Napoleon (Mutah Beale), also known as Lil Mu, childhood friend of Kadafi, was given the alias after French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte and was also an original member of Dramacydal. Napoleon left the group in 2005 and went on to be a Muslim motivational speaker.
- Mussolini (Tyruss Himes), also known as Big Syke who was in 2Pac's previous group Thug Life, joined the Outlawz and Makaveli gave him the name Moozaliny after Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. He died December 5, 2016.
- Komani (Mopreme Shakur), 2Pac's stepbrother, who was in 2Pac's previous group Thug Life, joined the Outlawz under the alias Komani after the Iranian political figure Ruhollah Khomeini.
- Storm Harkness (Donna Harkness), The only female member of the group, she met Tupac during the shooting of a film. After he found out how well she could rap, he immediately signed her on the spot and added her to the group, which later became known as The Outlaw Immortalz. She was introduced on the multiplatinum selling album All Eyez on Me.
- Young Noble (Rufus Cooper III), the last official Outlaw member. He was introduced to Tupac by Kadafi and Hussein (Fatal-N-Felony) in Los Angeles, a few months before his death. He appeared in many of 2Pac's last recordings, and featured on 2Pac's last album and The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. He was always known as Young Noble and was never given an alias from Tupac.
- Nutt-So (Sean Cole, brother of Keyshia Cole)
- New Child (Wallace Lynch, joined in 1999)
- Muszamil (Kamil Beale, brother of Napoleon)
- Stormey Coleman (Courtney Coleman, joined in 2003)
Shortly after joining the group, Mopreme and Big Syke severed all ties with Death Row and left the Outlawz for financial and personal reasons. Two months after the death of Shakur, Kadafi was killed in a housing project in New Jersey; after two years, Napoleon convinced his cousin to turn himself in for shooting Kadafi.
Though Tupac had told them specifically to never sign to Death Row Records and were originally going to sign to Makaveli Records, but after his death, the leftover members of the Outlawz decided to do just that. As a result, Fatal left the group, claiming they were not being loyal to 2Pac. Napoleon left the group due to his conversion to Islam and is now traveling all around the globe to spread the teachings of Islam. While managing and working on her solo project, Tupac was looking for solo deals for Storm. And Young Noble as well. She left the group around late 1998.
The Outlawz are also known for their longtime relationship with Brooklyn's Boot Camp Clik, a relationship that begun as a result of 2Pac's friendship with Boot Camp's Smif-n-Wessun and Boot Camp Clik, while working on the yet unreleased "One Nation" album. Despite stylistic differences and divergent fanbases, the two crews maintained connections on the basis of personal relationships. Members of the Outlawz were featured on Boot Camp releases like Heltah Skeltah's "Magnum Force" and Rock's "Veterans' Day."
In 1999, the Outlawz released their first album as a group with original unreleased recordings of 2Pac, entitled Still I Rise. The album was released on Death Row Records. Member Hussein Fatal did not appear on any of the album as he was edited out of the original recordings due to issues with the record labels. Storm was also edited out of some of the original recordings for unknown reasons. Original member Big Syke also appeared on the album. It wasn't until late 2000, though, that they finally got the go-ahead to release their debut album, Ride Wit Us Or Collide Wit Us. Unfortunately, the album didn't prove to be much of a success, and neither did the group's follow-up album a year later, Novakane, also released on the group's Outlaw Recordz label (distributed by Koch). In 2008 they signed a short deal with Young Buck's Ca$hville Records. In 2009, Kastro had confirmed he had left the Outlawz to pursue a solo career. He reunited with the group on Outlaw The Lost Songs Volume 1 & 2 in March 2010. Later the members went to release solo albums and collaborations with other artists.
In 2009, the Outlawz reunited with former member Hussein Fatal, who had left the group following the deaths of Makaveli and Kadafi.
The Outlawz sixth studio album Perfect Timing was released on September 13, 2011 on 1Nation Entertainment. The album features guest appearances from many big name rappers including Bun B, Tech N9ne, Scarface, Krayzie Bone, Young Buck, Lloyd, among others and production from Focus..., Cozmo, Maxwell Smart, The Network and CyFyre.
In 2011, some of the remaining members of The Outlawz made peace with longtime rival enemy Lil Cease of Junior Mafia. They both recorded a track called "Bury the Hatchet", on a DJ Kay Slay album. They also confirmed the longstanding rumor that they smoked Tupac's ashes.
In 2015, Hussein Fatal died in a car crash.
In 2016, Mussolini died at his home in California.
Between 2016 and 2017, the group released their final albums, Livin Legendz and LastOnezLeft.
- "Outlawz | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
- "Yafeu Akiyele 'Yaki Kadafi' Fula was Tupac's Godbrother". Capital XTRA. Retrieved 2018-09-25.
- "Shakur shooting witness found dead in N.J. - Las Vegas Sun Newspaper". Lasvegassun.com. Retrieved 2018-09-25.
- "Rapper Big Syke Dead at 48". BallerStatus.com. 2016-12-06. Retrieved 2018-09-25.
- Rao, Mallika (August 30, 2011). "The Outlawz Insist They Smoked Tupac". HuffPost.com. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
- "Hussein Fatal, Member of Tupac-Led Group Outlawz, Dies at 38". Billboard.com. July 12, 2015. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
- BITETTE, NICOLE. "Rapper Big Syke, longtime friend and collaborator of Tupac, found dead in California home". Nydailynews.com. Retrieved April 1, 2020.