Today in Hip Hop History: September 7, 1963
Eric Lynn Wright, a.k.a. Eazy-E, was born in Compton, California in 1963. Eazy was an American rapper, affectionately nominated as “The Godfather of Gangsta Rap.” After dropping out of high school and selling drugs to make a living, Eazy-E invested in his own record label, Ruthless Records, and became a rapper. When fellow Ruthless artist Ice Cube wrote “Boyz-n-da-Hood,” the two plus Dr. Dre decided to create a hip hop group. Alongside MC Ren, DJ Yella and Arabian Prince, the group named themselves Niggaz with Attitude, or N.W.A..
At the early age of 22, Eazy-E reportedly made over $250,000 from slanging drugs, but after his cousin was shot and killed within the business, Eazy dropped the gig and started recording raps. Eazy met Jerry Heller and created the record label together with him getting 80% of the cut and Jerry taking 20% as a manager role. When N.W.A. was formed, hip hop would never again be the same.
N.W.A originally released a compilation album, N.W.A. and the Posse, with Dallas-based crew Fila Fresh Crew, that become RIAA Certified Gold in the United States. Eazy-E then released his debut solo album Eazy-Duz-It with significant help from his fellow N.W.A. members and The D.O.C. on the credits. Eazy-Duz-It sold over 2.5 million copies in the U.S. and helped pave the way for N.W.A.’s debut. Straight Outta Compton was released in 1988 and became one of the most important and recognizable albums in hip hop history.
After the release of Straight Outta Compton, Ice Cube left N.W.A. which resulted in a diss war between the two parties. Then, Dr. Dre violently left N.W.A. for Death Row Records with Suge Knight and a legendary diss war began between Eazy-E and Dr. Dre.
Years later, Eazy-E was diagnosed with full blown AIDS after a promiscuous and dangerous life. In his short time before passing away, Eazy became a spokesperson against the disease in an effort to spread knowledge about the deadly disease. Unfortunately, on March 26, 1995, at the age of 31, Eazy-E succumbed to the disease.
Eazy-E was a rap pioneer, an inspirational story, and one of the greatest rapper/entrepreneurs in hip hop history. Despite his long list of fueds and enemies, Eazy is one of the most well respected and known figures in hip hop history. All of his solo releases charted on the Billboard 200 in addition to him helping create one of the most controversial and well-known records of all time. From True Too, happy birthday to one of the greatest and Rest in Peace Eric Wright, aka Eazy-E (1963-1995).