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Eazy-E
Eazy-E, circa 1992.
Eazy-E, circa 1992.
Background information
Birth name Eric Lynn Wright
Also known as Eazy Muthaphukin E, The Hip-Hop Thugsta, Compton's King
Born Template:Birth date
Compton, California, United States
Died Template:Death date and age
Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres Hip hop
Occupations Rapper, producer, CEO
Years active 1985-1995
Labels Ruthless, Priority, Relativity, Epic, MCA
Associated acts N.W.A., Above the Law, Dresta, B.G. Knocc Out, Kokane, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Brownside, Frost, H.W.A.
Website Eazy-E.com

Eric Lynn Wright (September 7, 1963 – March 26, 1995), better known by his stage name Eazy-E, was an American rapper, producer, and record executive from Compton, California. Widely regarded as one of the founders of the gangsta rap subgenre, he rose to fame as the founder and member of the group N.W.A., and later achieved critical and commercial success as a solo artist.

Eazy-E's vocal style was marked by his youthful, high-pitched voice and his lyrics focusing on the elements of urban street life such as guns, drugs, relations between residents and the police, and sexual activity.[1] He had also for some time hosted a hip-hop radio show on Los Angeles-based radio station KKBT.[2]

Early life (1963-1986)Edit

Eric Wright was born to Richard and Kathie Wright on September 7, 1963 in Compton, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. His father was a postal worker and his mother was a grade school administrator. Eric dropped out of high school[3] in the tenth grade and supported himself by selling drugs. His profit went to invest in Ruthless Records. He was also a member of the Kelly Park Compton Crip during his teen years, and he openly associated himself with other Crips.[4] He later received a high school equivalency diploma.

Ruthless Records, N.W.A. and Eazy-Duz-It (1987-1991)Edit

In 1987, Eazy used the profits from his drug sales to co-found Ruthless Records with Jerry Heller.[2] When Ruthless signees Dr. Dre and Ice Cube wrote "Boyz-n-the-Hood", Eazy-E formed the group N.W.A. with Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. (DJ Yella, MC Ren,and Arabian Prince were later added.)[5] In this period, Ruthless Records released the compilation N.W.A and the Posse (1987), and N.W.A's proper debut Straight Outta Compton (1988). One month later, Eazy-E released his first solo album, Eazy-Duz-It. The album sold two million copies, certifying it as a double platinum album, and spawned the hit singles "We Want Eazy" and "Eazy-Er Said Than Dunn". The album was produced by Dr. Dre and DJ Yella and largely written by Ice Cube, with contributions from MC Ren and The D.O.C.. After the release of Straight Outta Compton, Ice Cube left N.W.A in 1989, due to internal disputes, and the group had since continued as a four-piece. In March 1991, Eazy-E accepted an invitation to a lunch benefiting the Republican Senatorial Inner Circle, hosted by then-President George H. W. Bush. A spokesman for the rapper claimed that Eazy-E supported Bush for overseeing Operation Desert Storm.[6] On the final N.W.A. album, Niggaz4Life (1991), some of the lyrics provoked outrage from many liberals and conservatives alike.

End of N.W.A. and feud with Dr. Dre (1991-1994)Edit

Disputes about money caused N.W.A. to break up in 1991, as it was thought Eazy-E and Heller were stealing money from the group, though this has been denied by Heller[7]. Ice Cube is believed to have left N.W.A for this reason,[citation needed] which he later referenced in his diss song, "No Vaseline". Subsequently, Eazy-E and Dr. Dre started a feud that grew to embroil most of Ruthless Records and Dr. Dre's new label, Death Row Records. Eazy-E released two EPs during this period, 5150: Home 4 tha Sick (1992), and It's On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa (1993); the latter was a response to Dr. Dre's The Chronic, including the diss songs "Real Muthaphukkin G's" and "It's On!" Death Row Records co-founder Suge Knight reportedly threatened Eazy-E to ensure Dr. Dre's release from his contract with Ruthless Records[8].

Legal issuesEdit

At the start of Dr. Dre's defection from Ruthless Records, executives Mike Klein and Jerry Heller sought assistance from the Jewish Defense League (JDL). Klein, former Ruthless Records director of business affairs said this provided Ruthless Records with muscle to enter into negotiations with Death Row Records over Dr. Dre's departure.[9] While Suge Knight violently sought an outright release from Ruthless Records for Dr. Dre, the JDL and Ruthless Records management were able to sit down with Death Row and negotiate a release in which the record label would continue to receive money and publishing rights from future Dr. Dre projects. It was under these terms that Dr. Dre left Ruthless Records and formed Death Row with Suge Knight. The FBI launched a money laundering investigation, assuming that the JDL was extorting money from Ruthless Records to fight their extremist causes. This led to JDL spokesperson Irv Rubin issuing a press release stating "There was nothing but a close, tight relationship" between Eazy-E and the organization.[9]

Illness, death and posthumous album (1995)Edit

On March 16, 1995, Eazy-E was admitted into Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles with what he believed to be asthma. Instead he was diagnosed with AIDS, and soon announced his illness publicly. He died shortly after, on March 26, 1995, at approximately 6:35 PM (Pacific time). He was 31 years old when he died.[2] During the week of March 20, having already made amends with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Eazy-E drafted his last message to fans. One week after making that announcement, Wright succumbed to the disease.[5][10]

On his death bed days before, Eazy married long-term girlfriend (and mother of his two children) Tomica Woods, who inherited his share of Ruthless Records. He was buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California.[11]

In November 1995, shortly after Eazy-E's death, Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton was released.[1][12]

DiscographyEdit

Main article: Eazy-E discography

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Huey, Steve (2003). "Eazy-E Biography". Allmusic. http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:gifexq95ld6e~T1. Retrieved 2007-08-24. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Pareles, Jon (1995-03-28). "Eazy-E, 31, Performer Who Put Gangster Rap on the Charts". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE6DB1F3EF93BA15750C0A963958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved 2008-03-08. 
  3. "Straight Outta Left Field". Dallas Observer. September 12, 2002. http://www.dallasobserver.com/2002-09-12/music/straight-outta-left-field/. Retrieved January 6, 2010. 
  4. In Eazy-E biography
  5. 5.0 5.1 Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2000). "N.W.A. - Biography". Allmusic. http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:0ifuxq95ld6e~T1. Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  6. Template:Cite journal
  7. Heller, J. & Reavill, G. 'Ruthless: A Memoir', (Simon Spotlight Entertainment: New York, 2006), (p.9)
  8. Heller, J. & Reavill, G. 'Ruthless: A Memoir', (Simon Spotlight Entertainment: New York, 2006), (p.15)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Berry, Jahna (2000-09-19). "The FBI Screws Up Again". Jewish Defense League. http://www.jdl.org/misc/fbi.shtml. Retrieved 2007-08-24. 
  10. "Eazy-E on AIDS". Jet. 1995-04-03. http://www.mdcbowen.org/p2/sf/faq031.htm 
  11. Find a Grave - Eazy-E
  12. Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Str8 Off tha Streetz of Muthaphu**in Compton > Overview". allmusic. http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:apfuxq8hldke. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 

External links Edit

Template:Eazy-E Template:N.W.A Template:Ruthless Records

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