Eazy-E & N.W.A.
With persuasion from The D.O.C., Dre took a realisation to Cube’s N.W.A.-bashing lyrics and disbanded from Eazy’s group citing contractual and creative differences. N.W.A. never surpassed the success of Cube’s Straight Outta Compton writing and now without Dre’s production prowess N.W.A. could not function as a group and therefore this chapter of gangsta rap had ended with Dre’s departure. Dre left to start a solo producing and business career forming the legendary Death Row Records with Suge Knight, introduced to him via The D.O.C. When he released his first solo album ‘The Chronic’ he began a well-publicized feud with Eazy, constantly belittling him on the song and video for ‘Fuck Wit’ Dre Day(And Everybody’s Celebratin’ taunting him and calling him "Sleazy-E." Dre’s solo project was regarded as the highest selling hip-hop album ever developed.
Eazy-E responded immediately by releasing the EP, It's On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa in 1993 dissing Dr. Dre and displaying pictures on the album sleeve of Dr. Dre in make-up from his younger years in World Class Wreckin' Cru. The album went double platinum. However, Dr. Dre and his Death Row juggernaut was becoming increasingly success in west coast hip-hop, leaving Eazy-E on the losing end of record sales and implausible.
Ruthless Records pressed on, having considerable success with Above the Law, MC Ren, N.W.A master tapes and the most productive and innovative group from Eazy’s label a highly successful and unique harmonic rap group, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony with gangsta rap overtones from Cleveland, Ohio.
Eazy-E was heavily condemned by many rap fans in Los Angeles and especially Compton after openly supporting Theodore Briseño, the only non-white police officer who took part in the Rodney King beating that sparked the 1993 L.A. Riots, and for attending a Republican Party fundraiser, effectively having dinner with the President of the United States of America, George H.W. Bush Sr. an unprecedented act of a so-called gangsta rapper. The FBI actually uncovered a plot by white supremacists to assassinate Eazy.
By 6.35pm on March 26, 1995 Eric ‘Eazy-E’ Wright died as a result of a complication of the AIDS virus. After entering the hospital with suspected bronchitis one month earlier, he was diagnosed with HIV, the virus that caused AIDS as a result of unprotected sex with many women through his career, fathering nine children with seven different women. He immediately announced his illness to the public. This brought former partners, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre to Eazy’s bedside to make peace with the star before passing. Dre claimed on MTV when he said goodbye to Eazy, he never answered and subsequently died. ‘Str8 Off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton’ was released posthumously. Although this album continued the feud with Dre and Death Row, it should be noted that Eazy-E made peace with Dr. Dre before his death.
Eazy-E is lived on through his nine children. Namely his oldest son, nicknamed ‘Lil Eazy’, released a documentary about his father entitled ‘The Life and times of Eric Wright.’ ‘The Impact of a Legend’ pack came with its own documentary of the same name with last remaining tracks recorded from Eazy. His wife, Tomika Wright took over the executive role of Ruthless Records, a division of Epic Records. Ruthless was home to groups, Above the Law, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, BG Knoccout and the Dresta, Blood of Abraham and J J Fad later joined the label.
Eric Wright Junior has built a reputation, admittedly piled on top of his father's legacy but Lil Eazy is set to bring back the Compton grind as he plies his trade with the same grind and hustle his father used. The self-proclaimed Prince of Compton feels his quest is to win back the respect of his father, the west coast pioneer and iconic legend behind this gangsta-rap rollercoaster.
E Junior expressed his inspiration for the continuation of his father's footsteps, "One day I just finally got fed up with the lack of respect my father wasn't getting, so I decided to properly rep my pops and bring the West Coast back the way it needed to be brought back." He continued, "It (His death) was a huge impact (on me). Losing your parent is difficult no matter how you look at it, I've got a lot of good memories of him just being a good dad- Us hanging out, him picking me up from school, going to Disneyland, birthday parties and all that stuff. My dad is a legend and a hip hop pioneer. He was also a good business-man and I look forward to reaching his level of entrepreneurship (that) he had."
"(This is) my life story. My pops is always an inspiration, however, when I write, I write about my life, and growing up in the streets of Compton, and basically walking in very similar steps that my father walked in." Futuristically predicting, "(I see myself) being a good business man like my father. (I plan on) getting into different business ventures outside of music. I plan on giving back to the community, and helping minorities with jobs the way my father did. I will have my hands into a few (other) things, yes, (but) I won't go into details yet. However, I plan on being around for a while. I see (myself as) a very successful entrepreneur."
Like father, like son, Lil E has already opened his own recording subsidiary, Kings Of L.A. under Virgin with his co-manager, Bruce 'Bruiser' Bible which is readying itself for the release of E's début opus, Prince of Compton, affectionately titled to pay homage to his father, the King of Compton. The album features his father's colleagues, some of the Pacific coast's finest such as Ice Cube, The DOC, Bone Thugz N Harmony, Dr. Dre and his Aftermath protégés, Mel Man & Scott Storch, Sha Money XL to list the production credits as well as Johnny J and Megahurtz from Westside Connection.
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