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Eazy-E in 1993
Background information
Birth name Eric Lynn Wright
Born (1964-09-07)September 7, 1964[1][2]
Compton, California, U.S.
Died March 26, 1995(1995-03-26) (aged 30)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active 1986–1995
Associated acts

Eric Lynn Wright[3][4][5] (September 7, 1964 – March 26, 1995), better known by his stage name Eazy-E, was an American rapper who performed solo and in the hip hop group N.W.A. Wright is affectionately called "The Godfather of Gangsta rap". He was born to Richard and Kathie Wright in Compton, California. After dropping out of high school in the tenth grade, he supported himself primarily by selling drugs before investing in Ruthless Records and becoming a rapper. When Ruthless artist Ice Cube wrote "Boyz-n-the-Hood", Dr. Dre, Cube, and Eazy formed N.W.A. After DJ Yella, MC Ren, and Arabian Prince joined the group, N.W.A released N.W.A. and the Posse. In 1988, they released their most controversial album, Straight Outta Compton. The group released two more albums and then disbanded after Eazy released Dr. Dre from his contract.

Eazy's main influences included 1970s funk groups, contemporary rappers, and comedians. When reviewing Eazy's albums, many critics noted his unique overall style, with Steve Huey of the All Music Guide remarking: "While his technical skills as a rapper were never the greatest, his distinctive delivery...over-the-top lyrics, and undeniable charisma made him a star."[6]


  • Early life and Ruthless Records investment 1
  • Musical career 2
    • N.W.A and Eazy-Duz-It (1987–91) 2.1
    • End of N.W.A and feud with Dr. Dre (1991–94) 2.2
  • Personal life 3
  • Legal issues 4
  • Death 5
  • Musical influences and style 6
    • Legacy 6.1
  • Discography 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life and Ruthless Records investment

Eric Wright was born to Richard and Kathie Wright on September 7, 1964, in Compton, California, a Los Angeles suburb notorious for gang activity and crime.[7][8] His father was a postal worker and his mother was a grade school administrator.[9] Wright dropped out of high school in the tenth grade,[10] but later received a high-school general equivalency diploma (GED).[11]

No one survived on the streets without a protective mask. No one survived naked. You had to have a role. You had to be "thug," "playa," "athlete," "gangsta," or "dope man." Otherwise, there was only one role left to you: "victim."

Jerry Heller on Eazy-E[12]

Wright supported himself primarily by selling drugs, introduced to the occupation by his cousin.[10] Wright's friend [12] Wright was also labeled as a "thug". Heller explains: "The hood where he grew up was a dangerous place. He was a small guy. 'Thug' was a role that was widely understood on the street; it gave you a certain level of protection in the sense that people hesitated to fuck with you. Likewise, 'dope dealer' was a role that accorded you certain privileges and respect."[12]

In 1986, at the age of 22, Wright had allegedly earned as much as US$250,000 from dealing drugs. However, after his cousin was shot and killed, he decided that he could make a better living in the Los Angeles hip hop scene, which was growing rapidly in popularity.[13] He started recording songs during the mid-1980s in his parents' garage.[11]

The original idea for Ruthless Records came when Wright asked Heller to go into business with him. Wright suggested a half-ownership company, but it was later decided that Wright would get eighty percent of the company's income, and Heller would only get twenty percent. According to Heller, he told Wright, "Every dollar comes into Ruthless, I take twenty cents. That's industry standard for a manager of my caliber. I take twenty, you take eighty percent. I am responsible for my expenses, and you're responsible for yours. You own the company. I work for you."[12] Along with Heller, Wright invested much of his money into Ruthless Records.[14] Heller claims that he invested the first $250,000, and would eventually put up to $1,000,000 into the company.[12]

Musical career

N.W.A and Eazy-Duz-It (1987–91)

Wright's signature written for an Eazy-E Fan Club letter

N.W.A was formed when Ruthless signees Dr. Dre and Ice Cube wrote "Boyz-n-the-Hood". It included Wright, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube, and later DJ Yella, MC Ren, and Arabian Prince.[15] The compilation album N.W.A. and the Posse was released on November 6, 1987, and would go on to be certified Gold in the United States.[16][17] The album featured N.W.A collaborating with the Fila Fresh Crew, a West Coast rap group originally based in Dallas, Texas.[18][19]

Eazy-E's debut album, Eazy-Duz-It, was released on September 16, 1988, and featured twelve tracks. It was labeled as West Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap, and Golden age hip hop. It has sold over 2.5 million copies in the United States and reached number forty-one on the Billboard 200.[11][20] The album was produced by Dr. Dre and DJ Yella and largely written by MC Ren, Ice Cube, and The D.O.C..[21] Both Glen Boyd from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and MTV's Jon Wiederhorn claimed that Eazy-Duz-It "paved the way" for N.W.A's most controversial album, Straight Outta Compton.[22][23] Wright's only solo in the album was a remix of the song "8 Ball", which originally appeared on N.W.A. and the Posse. The album featured Wright's writing and performing; he performed on seven songs and helped write four songs.[24]

After the release of Straight Outta Compton, Ice Cube left because of internal disputes, and the group continued as a four-piece ensemble.[15] N.W.A released 100 Miles and Runnin' and Niggaz4Life in 1991. A diss war started between N.W.A and Ice Cube when "100 Miles and Runnin'" and "Real Niggaz" were released. Ice Cube responded with "No Vaseline" on Death Certificate.[25] Wright performed on seven of the eighteen songs on Niggaz4Life.[26]

In March 1991 Wright accepted an invitation to a lunch benefiting the Republican Senatorial Inner Circle, hosted by then-U.S. President

External links

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  2. ^ Rani, Taj; Reagans, Dan (September 7, 2014). "Happy 50th Birthday, Eazy-E".  
  3. ^ a b "Top Five Most Wanted". Billboard: 38. 2008-08-09. 
  4. ^ Miller, Michael (2008). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music History. Alpha. p. 219.  
  5. ^ "Celebrities We've Lost To AIDS | Lifestyle|". 2007-11-19
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  7. ^ Hochman, Steve (1995-03-28). "Rap Star, Record Company Founder Eazy-E Dies of AIDS Music: Singer, entrepreneur helped popularize 'gangsta' style with the group N.W.A. and later became a top-selling solo artist". Los Angeles Times.
  8. ^ "Hip-Hop News: Remembering Eric 'Eazy-E' Wright". Rap News Network. 2006-03-26
  9. ^ Harris, Carter (June–July 1995). "Eazy Living".  
  10. ^ a b "Straight Outta Left Field".  
  11. ^ a b c d Pareles, Jon (1995-03-28). "Eazy-E, 31, Performer Who Put Gangster Rap on the Charts". The New York Times.
  12. ^ a b c d e Heller, Jerry (2007). Ruthless: A Memoir. Gallery. pp. 65–77.  
  13. ^ a b Chang, Jeff (2004-04-24). "The Last Days of Eazy E".  
  14. ^ Hunt, Dennis (1989-10-22). "Dr. Dre Joins an Illustrious Pack In the last year, producer has hit with albums for N.W.A, Eazy-E, J. J. Fad and the D.O.C.". Los Angeles Times.
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  19. ^ Brackett, Nathan (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide: Completely Revised and Updated 4th Edition.  
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  22. ^ Boyd, Glen (2010-03-20). "Music Review: Eazy E - Eazy Duz It (Uncut Snoop Dogg Approved Edition/Remastered)". Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  23. ^ Wiederhorn, Jon. (2002-07-31). "N.W.A Classics To Be Reissued With Bonus Tracks". MTV.
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  25. ^ Lazerine, Cameron; Lazerine, Devin (2008). Rap-Up: The Ultimate Guide to Hip-Hop and R&B. Grand Central Publications. pp. 43–67.  
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  27. ^ "Rap's Bad Boy to Get Lunch With the Prez". Los Angeles Times. 18 March 1991. 
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  29. ^ a b Borgmeyer, Jon; Lang, Holly (2006). Dr. Dre: A Biography. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 52–55.  
  30. ^ "Eazy-E's daughter pays photo tribute, says father due more respect" Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  31. ^ "Woods-Wright, Tomica" Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  32. ^ "6 Months After Aids Kills Rapper, His Baby Is Born" Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  33. ^ a b Berry, Jahna (2000-09-19). "The FBI Screws Up Again".  
  34. ^ Moss, Corey (2003-07-18). "50 Cent, Eminem, Dr. Dre Face Suge Knight At 'Da Club': VMA Lens Recap". MTV.
  35. ^ Borgmeyer, Jon and Lang, Holly (2006). Dr. Dre: A Biography. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 99–100.  
  36. ^ Talia, Pele (September 1995). "Vibe article". Vibe 3 (7): 32. 
  37. ^ "Eazy-E's Last Words". Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  38. ^ Kapsambelis, Niki (1995-03-27). "Gangsta rapper Eazy-E dies of AIDS".  
  39. ^ "Rose Hills Memorial Park, Whittier, CA".  
  40. ^ "Magic Show takes the gold at Rose Hills". Lawn & Landscape. 2010-11-04.
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  42. ^ The Life and Timez of Eric Wright (Color, DVD, NTSC). April 2, 2002. Event occurs at 21:03.  
  43. ^ Thomas, Stephen. "Str8 Off tha Streetz of Muthaphu**in Compton – Eazy-E". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-11-27. 
  44. ^  
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  48. ^ Simmonds, Jeremy (2008). The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars: Heroin, Handguns, and Ham Sandwiches.  
  49. ^ "Widow Of Rapper Eazy-E Gives Birth To Child". Jet 88 (23): 40. 1995-10-16. 
  50. ^ The Black Dot (2005). Hip Hop Decoded: From Its Ancient Origin to Its Modern Day Matrix. MOME Publishing. p. 100.  
  51. ^ a b Shaheem, Reid (2010-03-26). "Lil Eazy-E Remembers His Dad, 15 Years Later". MTV.
  52. ^ Davis, Todd. "Lil Eazy-E: Son of a Legend". 2005-12-09.
  53. ^ "About the Official Hip Hop Hall Of Fame and Producer JT Thompson". 2010-11-16.
  54. ^ "The Day Eazy-E Died (A B-Boy Blues Novel #4) (9781555837600): James Earl Hardy: Books".  
  55. ^ "Day Eazy E Died [PB,2002]: Jema Eerl Herdy: Books". 2009-09-09. 
  56. ^ "Dead and Gone: Tupac, Eazy-E, Notorias BIG, Aaliyah, Big Pun, Big L: Video". 2009-09-09. 
  57. ^ "Rap Star Eazy-E Battles AIDS; Listed in Critical Condition in LA Hospital". Jet: 13. 2010-04-03. 
  58. ^ "The Invisible Woman". Vibe: 62. June–July 1995. 
  59. ^ HN (1997-08-09). "Ruthless Sounds". Billboard: 44. 
  60. ^ Colin, Potter (July 1995). "AIDS in Black America: It's Not Just A Gay Thing".  
  61. ^ Smith, Rex. "Newsweek article".  
  62. ^ "Eazy-E". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
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  65. ^ "Eazy-E". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  66. ^ "Eazy-E Documentary To Release, Featuring Jerry Heller, MC Ren, B.G. Knocc Out". Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  67. ^ "Jason Mitchell". IMDB. 2015. 
  68. ^ Hess, Mickey (2009). Hip Hop in America: A Regional Guide: Volume 1: East Coast and West Coast. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 237.  
  69. ^ "Eazy-Duz-It – Eazy-E". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-11-27. 
  70. ^ Relic, Peter; Schoeller, Martin (Photographer) (January 2007). "How the West Was One". Vibe: 93. 
  71. ^ Robbins, Ira (1997). The Trouser Press guide to '90s rock: the all-new fifth edition of The Trouser Press record guide. Fireside. p. 227.  
  72. ^ "5150 Home 4 tha Sick – Eazy-E". Allmusic. 1992-12-28. 
  73. ^ Hess, Mickey (2007). Is Hip Hop Dead?: The Past, Present, and Future of America's Most Wanted Music. Praeger. p. 107.  
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  75. ^ Hoffmann, Frank (2005). Rhythm and Blues, Rap, and Hip-Hop (American Popular Music). Facts on File. p. 78.  
  76. ^ "Str8 Off tha Streetz of Muthaphu**in Compton – Eazy-E". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-11-27. 
  77. ^ Molanphry, Chris (2002-04-20). "Eazy-E CD Includes Video Game". Billboard: 62. 
  78. ^ "The Impact of a Legend – Eazy-E". Allmusic. 2002-03-26. 
  79. ^ Kyllonen, Tommy (2007). "The Birth of Gangsta Rap". Un.orthodox: Church. Hip-Hop. Culture.  
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Year Name Ref
1987 N.W.A. and the Posse [79][80]
1988 Straight Outta Compton [81][82]
1990 100 Miles and Runnin' [83][84]
1991 Niggaz4Life [85][86]
With N.W.A
Year Name Ref
1988 Eazy-Duz-It [68][69][70]
1992 5150: Home 4 tha Sick [3][71][72]
1993 It's On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa [73][74]
1995 Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton [75][76]
2002 Impact of a Legend [77][78]
2007 Featuring...Eazy-E


In the 2015 film Straight Outta Compton, Eazy-E is played by Jason Mitchell, and the film is dedicated in his honor.[67]

In 2012 a Eazy-E documentary was released by Ruthless Propaganda, called Ruthless Memories. The documentary featured interviews from Jerry Heller, MC Ren and B.G. Knocc Out.[66]

When Eazy was diagnosed with AIDS, many magazines like Jet,[57] Vibe,[58] Billboard,[59] The Crisis,[60] and Newsweek covered the story and released information on the topic.[61] All of his studio albums and EPs charted on the Billboard 200,[62][63][64] and many of his singles—"Eazy-Duz-It", "We Want Eazy", "Real Muthaphuckkin G's", and "Just tah Let U Know"—also charted in the U.S.[64][65]

Eazy-E has been called the godfather of gangsta rap.[48][49][50][51] MTV's Reid Shaheem said that Eazy was a "rap-pioneer,"[51] and he is sometimes cited by critics as a legend.[52][53] Steve Huey of AllMusic said that he was "one of the most controversial figures in gangsta rap."[6] Since his 1995 death, many book and video biographies have been produced, including 2002's The Day Eazy-E Died and Dead and Gone.[54][55][56]

Graffiti of Eazy-E in the Netherlands


Several members of N.W.A wrote lyrics for Eazy-Duz-It: Ice Cube, The D.O.C., and MC Ren.[44] The EP 5150: Home 4 tha Sick features a song written by Naughty By Nature. The track "Merry Muthaphuckkin' Xmas" features Menajahtwa, Buckwheat, and Atban Klann as guest vocalists, and "Neighborhood Sniper" features Kokane as a guest vocalist.[45] It's On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa features several guest vocalists, including Gangsta Dresta, B.G. Knocc Out. Kokane, Cold 187um, Rhythum D, and Dirty Red.[46] Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton featured several guest vocalists, including B.G. Knocc Out, Gangsta Dresta, Sylk-E. Fyne, Dirty Red, Menajahtwa, Roger Troutman, and ex-N.W.A members MC Ren and DJ Yella.[47]

When reviewing Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton, Stephen Thomas Erlewine noted "... Eazy-E sounds revitalized, but the music simply isn't imaginative. Instead of pushing forward and creating a distinctive style, it treads over familiar gangsta territory, complete with bottomless bass, whining synthesizers, and meaningless boasts."[43] When reviewing Eazy-Duz-It, Jason Birchmeier of Allmusic said, "In terms of production, Dr. Dre and Yella meld together P-Funk, Def Jam-style hip-hop, and the leftover electro sounds of mid-'80s Los Angeles, creating a dense, funky, and thoroughly unique style of their own." Birchmeier described Eazy's style as "dense, unique, and funky," and said that it sounded "absolutely revolutionary in 1988."[41]

[42], Eazy-E mentions collaborating with many of his influences.The Life and Timez of Eric Wright In the documentary [41] Allmusic cites Eazy-E's influences as

Musical influences and style

During the week of March 20, having already made amends with Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, he drafted a final message to his fans.[37] Eazy-E died due to complications from AIDS one month after his diagnosis, on March 26, 1995, at approximately 6:35 p.m. PST. He was 30 years old.[11][38] He was buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California.[39][40] In November 1995, eight months after Eazy-E's death, his final album, Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton was released.

"I just feel that I've got thousands and thousands of young fans that have to learn about what's real when it comes to AIDS. Like the others before me, I would like to turn my own problem into something good that will reach out to all my homeboys and their kin. Because I want to save their asses before it's too late."

Eazy-E, in his final message to fans

On February 24, 1995, Wright was admitted to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles with what he believed to be asthma. Instead, he was diagnosed with AIDS. He announced his illness in a public statement on March 16. Wright allegedly lost his virginity at the age of twelve, and his promiscuous behavior resulted in not only the fatal disease, but also in seven children with six different women.[13][35][36]


[33] After Dr. Dre left Ruthless Records, executives Mike Klein and Jerry Heller sought assistance from the

Legal issues

Wright met Tomica Woods at a Los Angeles nightclub in 1991, and they married in 1995, twelve days before his death.[31] They had a son named Dominick and a daughter named Daijah (born six months after Wright's death).[32] After Wright's death, Ruthless Records was taken over by his wife.

Wright had a son, Eric Wright Jr., in 1984. He also had a daughter named Erin.[30]

Personal life

The feud with Dr. Dre continued after a track on Dre's The Chronic contained lyrics that insulted Eazy-E. Eazy responded with the EP, It's On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa, featuring the tracks "Real Muthaphuckkin G's" and "It's On". The album, which was released on October 25, 1993, contains pictures of Dre wearing "lacy outfits and makeup" when he was a member of the Electro-hop World Class Wreckin' Cru.[29]

N.W.A began to split up after Jerry Heller became the band's manager. Dr. Dre recalls: "The split came when Jerry Heller got involved. He played the divide and conquer game. Instead of taking care of everybody, he picked one nigga to take care of and that was Eazy. And Eazy was like, 'I'm taken care of, so fuck it'." Dre sent Suge Knight to look into Eazy's financial situation because he was beginning to grow suspicious of Eazy and Heller. Dre asked Eazy to release him from the Ruthless Records contract, but Eazy refused. The impasse led to what reportedly transpired between Knight and Eazy at the recording studio where Niggaz4life was recorded. After he refused to release Dre, Knight declared to Eazy that he had kidnapped Heller and was holding him prisoner in a van. The rumor did not convince Eazy to release Dre from his contract, and Knight threatened Eazy's family: Knight gave Eazy a piece of paper that contained Eazy's mother's address, telling him, "I know where your mama stays." Eazy finally signed Dre's release, officially ending N.W.A.[29]

End of N.W.A and feud with Dr. Dre (1991–94)

[28].Persian Gulf War A spokesman for the rapper said that Eazy-E supported Bush because of his performance in the [27]

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