Remembering Eric “Eazy-E” Wright’s Impact on Hip-Hop

Eighteen years ago, Hip-Hop suffered a major loss with the passing of Eric “Eazy-E” Wright.  Although he wasn’t the most technically skilled rapper, his business acumen and charismatic personality more than made up for it.

Eazy-E is one of the pioneers of the rap genre called gangsta, but he didn’t have an angry scowl across his face at every waking moment.  He was a member of “the world’s most dangerous group,” yet he did work the Athletes and Entertainers charitable organization.  Eazy challenged authority, and, ironically, that made him a voice of a generation.

From September 7, 1963, to March 26, 1995, when he died due to complications from AIDS, Eazy-E lived life to the fullest.  And the effect that he had on the world continues to resonate with people to this day.  In honor of Eazy-E, Eazy-E_304x304AllHipHop takes a moment to celebrate his life and recognize the impact of a Hip-Hop icon.

Eazy-E is gone, but here are 5 reasons that he will never be forgotten.

Ruthless Records:  Eazy-E was not just a solo artist and a member of N.W.A, he founded Ruthless Records along with former rock manager, Jerry Heller.  The label didn’t merely serve as a vehicle for “N***** Wit Attitude,” but created hits for J.J. Fad, The D.O.C., and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.  And Eazy’s eye for talent didn’t stop there; he also introduced a pre-fame (then known as Will 1X) to the world on the song, “Merry Muthaphuckkin’ XMas” in 1992.

“Boyz-n-the Hood”:  Ice-T’s “6 in the Mornin’” does precede this song in terms of depicting life on the California streets.  And while Ice provided a narrative set there, Eazy was able to distinguish himself with his unmistakable voice and geographic slang (e.g. “Cruisin‘ down the street in my ’64).  The record also gave a writer named Ice Cube and a producer named Dr. Dre a chance to show their chops.  This record is great, but it was a just a preview of things to come.

Straight Outta Compton:  It’s pretty much impossible to say anything about this album that hasn’t already been said.  But to recap: it went platinum with no radio airplay, the video to the album’s title track was banned from MTV, it encouraged a letter from the F.B.I. accusing the group of advocating violence, and it changed the look and the sound of music forever.  None of this would have been possible without Eazy.

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony:  Just as how Eazy-E took music into uncharted territory with the explicit nature of N.W.A, he did it again with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.  The group, which hails from Celeveland, Ohio, is truly one of a kind.  Their rapid-fire and melodic flow was never done before and hasn’t been matched since.  Their catchy tunes and speedy delivery creates an appeal that reaches pop audiences and Hip-Hop heads alike.

Posthumous Influence:  Eric “Eazy-E” Wright left his mark on the music industry.  Even having worked with Marvin Gaye, Journey, and Styxx, among others, Heller still titled his 2006 memoir, Ruthless, after the company he started with the then-unknown rapper.  Game has a tattoo of Eazy and has made numerous references to him in his music.  One of Eazy’s children, Lil Eazy-E, incorporated his namesake in order to help carry on his father’s legacy.  And at the end of the epic clip for “I Need a Doctor,” the video concludes with Dr. Dre at the grave of his friend and one-time rival paying his respects.

What impact do you think Eazy-E has had on music?  Is he remembered and acknowledged as much as he should be?  Sound off in the comments section!

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18 Responses to “Remembering Eric “Eazy-E” Wright’s Impact on Hip-Hop”

  1. CabriniGreeny

    No, Eazy-E is not acknowledged enough. The original “Hop-Hop Thugster.” E made innovated moves that change music, the business, and our culture. Salute.

    • Dave Williams

      kool g rap was rapping Gangsta Rap) that way long before Easy E and Schooly D. Easy E and N.W.A. was the first group to be on Video and Radio !! but i Agree he is not Acknowledged enough

      • Opposite Of Everyone

        he wan’t actually. Kool G’s first track in 86 had no gangster content. Schooly D wronte Gangster Gangster in 84 but 1 yr before that Ice T was rappin gangster shit – in 83 !

      • CabriniGreeny

        No doubt. Those are my dudes, I grew up on them. With that being said, they didn’t do what Eazy-E did business wise with Ruthless Records.

  2. Juan Spin Serrano



    RIP to the Hip Hop Thugsta Eazy “Muthaphuckin” E!!!!!!! Def Jam is the most legendary hip hop label of all time, but the Ruthless Records’ family tree is truly “unfuckwitable”!!!!! A couple of years back either The Source or XXL did a layout on all the artists whose roots began with someone who was either on Ruthless or they got signed by someone who once was on Ruthless & that ish was ridiculous!!!!

  4. insaneangelic

    Eazy-E needs to be honored the same way they honor Pac, Biggie, Pun and others. I remember reading an article talking bout some of the people he wanted to sign because they were different than mainstream one of them being Esham which tripped me out cuz I didn’t know he had his eye on the midwest like that. I wonder if his former label mates will ever do a video fully explaining the real way he may have gotten AIDS.

  5. Ike's Mood

    my mother threw me a surprise b-day party at the riviera(chicago) nov. 19, 1994 & it was a coincidence that she booked my party the night eazy-e performed. he did “real muthaphuckin g’s”. my mama wanted me to dress up for it and i did. i was the only nigga in the riv wit a suit on! what a night!!! Rest in peace to my mother, father, & eazy-e…i wonder did they meet at “tha crossroads”?

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