In September 1990, N.W.A appeared on “The Arsenio Hall Show” to perform the title track from their EP 100 Miles and Runnin’, closing an episode featuring actresses Annie Potts and Cree Summer. Hall granted the self-proclaimed “World’s Most Dangerous Group” a pre-performance interview, and to emphasize that this was a serious conversation and not simple promotion, Arsenio sat with them on the edge of the interview set—the “getting real” pose popularized by daytime talk-show hosts of the era like Geraldo Rivera and Phil Donahue.
They had a lot to talk about. The interview was the group’s first public comment on a letter their label had received a year earlier from Milt Alerich, assistant director of the FBI office of public affairs, in response to the release of their song “Fuck tha Police”. In the letter, Alerich informed the group that “advocating violence and assault is wrong, and we in the law enforcement community take exception to such action.” Though the letter gave a group founded upon controversy a prime opportunity to duke it out with the Feds on firm First Amendment grounds, N.W.A remained silent, only issuing a statement through their publicist that doubled as a PR blurb for their debut album: “Everything N.W.A has to say has been said on Straight Outta Compton, and there is no further comment.”