Real Name: Alonzo Williams
Lonzo is, or was, the managing force behind the evolution from disco to electric-funk of the west coast club scene. A former Locking-style dancer on the club circuit to a club owner and music producer he has been involved in the transitional periods of west coast club and underground music scene of the late 1970s to mid ‘80s. Grandmaster Lonz brought fourth the innovative World Class Wreckin’ Cru and planted the seed for the insurmountable rise of the most destructive musical forces ever witnessed, Gangsta Rap.
Lonzo began his story as a street dance performer in nightclubs during the mid ‘70s dance craze of locking and breaking. When disco music and live bands took a back seat to the revolution of Djing, he, like most other early hip-hop enthusiasts took up the career as a DJ with another former dancer, Rodger ‘Ace of Dreams’ Clayton starting a company they called Z-Car Productions functioning as party and function organizers. Soon parting ways, (Roger would start up Uncle Jamm’s Army) Lonzo was left to continue his work as a mobile DJ and started working small dance parties with DJ Unknown, Dr. Dre and DJ Yella calling themselves Disco Construction. He would cover three main clubs by 1977-79 Dudo’s, Eve’s After Dark and Skateland USA all in the downtown Los Angeles region. The flavour in Lonzo’s selection was mainly east coast influenced electronic funk, experimenting with this new wave during the vacant scene after the storm of disco died down. This proved to be a successful transition and by 1979 Lonzo had assumed control of Eve’s After Dark a small, well-known nightspot out of Compton. Utilizing the record-spinning proficiency of DJ Yella and Dr. Dre they soon collaborated on record, with Lonzo serving as manager and scoring them a record deal to capture the essence of this new fad of music from the west coast. This group was known as the World Class Wreckin’ Cru and the money saved from the record deal Lonzo put into building a small four-track recording studio at the back of Eve’s for the young emerging talent in the club. World Class and Ice Cube’s CIA recorded tracks for Lonzo’s now record label Kru-Cut records. Lonzo had become a club owner and record executive producing early rap records under the genre of electronic-funk or electro-rap.
As Eve’s was now a well-known hot spot for discovering talent, several independent scouts began poaching performers out of the club. Such notables as Eazy-E who would later form the world famous NWA with WC’s Dr. Dre and DJ Yella and CIA’s Ice Cube would frequent the arena looking for arising super stars. Also the largest independent urban record manufacturer and distributor, Macola Records approached Lonzo in 1984 to work under them with his own record label, Kru-Cut Records in which he could produce records for his stars giving the rights of their music to Macola Records. Lonzo went about
starting up electro-rap groups, namely the World Class Wreckin’ Cru and CIA through the mid ‘80s. The group came up with high-selling singles as ‘Juice’, ‘Surgery’ and ‘Cabbage Patch’. After a brief contract with Epic Records, the group disbanded as Lonzo held on to his stars too tight, and with lucrative freedom offered by Eazy-E who aspired to take the talents of Dr. Dre, Yella and Ice Cube off Lonzo’s label to head up his own super-South Central rap group called NWA under Ruthless Records, they left after making several hits. Lonzo was fed well after the final release of hit single ‘Turn Off The Lights’ from the World Class Wreckin’ Cru. Lonzo tried to sustain the popularity of World Class and assembled the new Wreckin’ Kru and released several compilation albums and a few singles which were later released under Lonzo’s own solo identity. He went about marketing the unreleased tracks produced by Dre before he left the group, titled ‘First Round Knock Out’.
Through the 1990’s Lonzo was sued by the original World Class members because he earned money off the success of using Dr. Dre’s name to boost his own sales and contained a controversial unreleased track. These days Lonzo concentrates on running his newest club, Club Hall Of Fame, located in Inglewood, California.