Straight Outta Compton: Alonzo ‘Lonzo’ Williams
Straight Outta Compton and still there, Alonzo ‘Lonzo’ Williams mentored N.W.A. on the other side of fame when they were just energetic kids By ALISA CHILDS, Contributing Writer COMPTON—Can you imagine rap music without N.W.A? Not hearing
Straight Outta Compton and still there, Alonzo ‘Lonzo’ Williams mentored N.W.A. on the other side of fame when they were just energetic kids
By ALISA CHILDS, Contributing Writer
COMPTON—Can you imagine rap music without N.W.A? Not hearing “Straight Outta Compton” blasting in cars cruisin’ down Rosecrans Avenue? Can you? What about the group’s police brutality anthem “F— Tha Police?” Well, without Alonzo Williams, you would have never witnessed the “strength of street knowledge.”
Founding owner/operator of The Loft nightclub, Williams spearheaded the mid-80s sensation, World Class Wreckin’ Cru, that included at the time Dr. Dre and DJ Yella. The group gifted club goers with electro funk hits like “Juice,” “Surgery,” and “Turn Off The Lights.”
This writer recently chopped it up with the entrepreneur about his being portrayed in the N.W.A. biopic, “Straight Outta Compton,” which opened nationwide Aug. 14. The movie was No. 1 in its first weekend with earnings of $56.1 million, the biggest August box office opening ever for an R-rated film.
These same individuals whose story has grabbed the attention of film-goers, Williams knew on the other side of world fame, hence his role in “Straight Outta Compton.”
“It’s a surreal feeling to have somebody portraying you while you still alive. Most people don’t see that in their lifetime,” said Williams, popularly known as “Lonzo.”
Actually, Williams said he was surprised to learn that he was portrayed in the biopic. A friend encouraged him to stop by a location shoot in Compton to meet the actor portraying him. On a break from filming a club scene, Corey Reynolds, wearing a “Lonzo suit” and Jheri curl, suddenly appeared.
“It almost brought tears to my eyes,” said Lonzo, who added that it brought back a lot of memories. “For me it was an honor and a blessing.”
Reynolds, known for his role as Sgt. David Gabriel on TNT’s “The Closer” and most recently Rev. C.T. Vivian in “Selma,” would benefit from the impromptu meeting as Lonzo imparted what he called, the “essence of Lonzo.” — character and personality traits.
An endeavor close to Williams’ heart is Hip Hop Hall of Fame Edutainment Center, a 501 (c)3 he founded in 2012 to educate aspiring music artists from a hip-hop perspective.
“It frustrates me to hear in 2015 artists [who say] that they are getting screwed,” he said. “I’m not going to sit and here and tell you I’ve been [an expert] business man. I’ve done bad deals to eat, to pay my house note.”
Williams said he believes new artists coming up in the game have allowed their egos and money to take priority over business. “Logic goes out the window. We can go shopping. We can buy a car,” adding, “youngsters should find a mentor.”
Headquartered inside The Loft, the goal of the Hall of Fame Edutainment, said Williams, is to display personal memorabilia alongside artists who have contributed to hip-hop culture.
The next chapter in Williams’ career will be the unveiling his autobiography in the forthcoming book, “Not Without Alonzo,” which details, among other anecdotes, his early mentoring of the world’s most dangerous group — N.W.A.
RELATED: Alonzo Williams’ Web site