Comprised of rappers Eiht and Chill MC, turntablist DJ Mike T, and producers DJ Slip and the Unknown DJ, CMW came together in 1989 and recorded a debut album, It's a Compton Thang (1990). The album was a landmark for its time, standing beside N.W.A's Straight Outta Compton (1988) as a genre-defining work. The following year they toured with fellow gangsta rappers the Geto Boys and recorded a follow-up album, Straight Checkn 'Em (1991), around the same time they were climbing the charts with "Growin' Up in the Hood," the lead single from their album that also had been included on the Boyz n the Hood soundtrack (1991). Riding atop the single's success, Straight Checkn 'Em peaked at number 26 on Billboard's R&B chart in September, signaling the group's closest brush yet with commercial success. The following year came Music to Driveby (1992), a fine album that would signal the group's dissolution.
By this point, the rap community had elevated Eiht to superstar status, and his role as an actor in the film Menace II Society (1993) only solidified his status, along with his solo contribution to the chart-topping soundtrack. And once his solo album, We Come Strapped (1994), debuted in Billboard's Top Five, he didn't look back for several years, as he continued to release one album after another. By the end of the decade, though, West Coast gangsta rap had lost much of its popularity, and Eiht's solo career reflected this. Not surprisingly, he reunited with the former members of CMW (sans the Unknown DJ) to record their first album in years, Represent (2000), an album met with little fanfare. A retrospect best-of album, When We Wuz Bangin' (2001), followed, commemorating the group's ten-year anniversary. Eiht resumed his solo career thereafter. Five years later the band would reunite once again for Music to Gang Bang, which was released by Thump. ~ Jason Birchmeier, Rovi