(AllHipHop News) Today (March 26), marks the 18 year anniversary of the passing of iconic Compton, California rapper Eric “Eazy-E” Wright.
Known by many as the “Godfather of Gangsta Rap,” Eazy-E admittedly formed his label, Ruthless Records, off of drug money earned after dropping out of high school in 10th grade.
Eazy-E would later go on to form N.W.A with the help of famed producer Dr. Dre, rappers Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ/producer DJ Yella in the late 1980’s.
Armed with Dr. Dre’s production, Ice Cube’s poignant lyrics and attitude, and Eazy-E’s strong business sense, N.W.A was able to reach the suburbs of white America, raising concerns amongst the media and the government that gangsta rap music was influencing the youth in America to commit violent acts.
Despite uproar from the LAPD, the FBI and from the media about the lyrics of gang violence and misogyny, Eazy-E was beloved by his fans, selling millions of records over the course if his short career which includes two studio albums, three EPs, two compilation albums, and eight singles.
At the time of print, his solo albums Eazy-Duz-It, Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton and It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa are all platinum selling albums, with Eazy-Duz-It going 2x platinum, as certified by the RIAA.
Although Eazy-E had great success, his business practices were surrounded by controversy as Ice Cube eventually would leave N.W.A over money issues and Dr. Dre would sign with Death Row/Interscope, leading to an estranged relationship with Eazy-E over contracts and money as well.
In a popular interview with Arsenio Hall, Eazy-E explained to the national television audience that he would be getting paid from Dr. Dre’s records for 6 years from the date Dr. Dre signed with Interscope/Death Row.
On the show, Eazy-E performed “Real Muthaphuckkin Gz,” which called out Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Death Row Records.
While Eazy-E was able to withstand ongoing beef in the streets and in the music industry, he tragically was unable to combat HIV/AIDS and succumbed to the disease in 1995 leaving a wife and 7 children.
Take a look at the videos below as we remember Eazy-E:
Eazy-E on Howard Stern with L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates