Aliases: Tha Devil's son-in-law
Real Name: Eric Wright
Hometown: Compton, CA
Date of Birth: Sep 07, 1963
Date Deceased: Mar 26, 1995
Cause of Death: AIDS
Groups / Crews: N.W.A
Eric Lynn Wright (September 7, 1963–March 26, 1995), better known by the stage name Eazy-E, was an American rapper, producer, and record executive from Compton, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. He was a Kelly Park Compton Crip from the early teenage years until his death, mentioned in the song 'Any Last Werdz?'. He was the son of Richard and Kathie Wright. He is widely regarded as one of the founders of the gangsta rap sub-genre and initially rose to fame as a member of the group N.W.A., but later achieved critical and commercial success as a solo artist.
Eazy-E's 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 deviant sexual activity.
When N.W.A. was first started, Eazy-E never planned on rapping in any songs; he was set to provide the money, not the talent. After hearing Eazy-E rap, however, the other N.W.A. members liked his distinct, almost child-like voice and Ice Cube gave him some lyrics he had already written (see "Boyz-n-the-Hood").
Eazy-E's first solo album, Eazy-Duz-It, sold two million copies certifying it as a double platinum album. This album had three hit singles: "We Want Eazy", "Eazy-Er Said Than Dunn", and "Boyz-n-the-Hood". Fellow N.W.A. rapper Ice Cube wrote the lyrics for Eazy-E's first songs.
Eazy-E's creative vision was not always shared by the other members of N.W.A.. Dr. Dre was especially critical of the direction Eazy-E was leading the group. Eazy-E wanted to portray a rough, realistic image using stark production and minimal beats; Dr. Dre preferred to incorporate more mainstream elements into his production.
The subsequent period saw the release of several EPs as both group and Eazy-E solo efforts, plus a side project from The D.O.C.. On the final N.W.A. album, Efil4zaggin (1991), some of the lyrics provoked outrage from many critics and conservative circles, but this served to increase the group's audience. Eazy-E included even more of the elements that Dr. Dre considered cartoonish, such as the use of pistols and shotguns in videos for "Alwayz into Somethin'" and "Appetite for Destruction".
These differences of opinion led to a bumpy relationship; a break-up ensued when it was revealed that Eazy-E and Jerry Heller were borrowing money from the group. Ice Cube had previously discovered this causing him to leave N.W.A., and he referenced this in his diss song, "No Vaseline". Subsequently, Eazy-E and Dr. Dre started feuding - a feud that grew to embroil most of Ruthless Records and Dr. Dre's new label, Death Row Records.
In March 1995, Eazy-E was admitted into Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles with what he believed to be bronchitis. Following comprehensive tests, it was discovered that he was suffering from AIDS. The illness was found to be in an advanced stage, and his condition deteriorated rapidly. During the week of March 20, Eazy-E drafted what would be his last message to his fans:
“ "...I may not seem like a guy you would pick to preach a sermon. But I feel it is now time to testify because I do have folks who care about me hearing all kinds of stuff about what's up. Yeah, I was a brother on the streets of Compton doing a lot of things most people look down on -- but it did pay off. Then we started rapping about real stuff that shook up the LAPD and the FBI. But we got our message across big time, and everyone in America started paying attention to the boys in the 'hood. Soon our anger and hope got everyone riled up. There were great rewards for me personally, like fancy cars, gorgeous women and good living. Like real non-stop excitement. I'm not religious, but wrong or right, that's me. I'm not saying this because I'm looking for a soft cushion wherever I'm heading, 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. "I'm not looking to blame anyone except myself. I have learned in the last week that this thing is real, and it doesn't discriminate. It affects everyone. My girl Tomika and I have been together for four years and we recently got married. She's good, she's kind and a wonderful mother. We have a little boy who's a year old. Before Tomika I had other women. I have seven children by six different mothers. Maybe success was too good to me. I love all my kids and always took care of them. Now I'm in the biggest fight of my life, and it ain't easy. But I want to say much love to those who have been down with me. And thanks for your support. Just remember: It's YOUR real time and YOUR real life." ”
On March 26, 1995, ten days after being admitted into the hospital, Eric "Eazy-E" Wright died, at the age of 31. Among his survivors were his wife, Tomica Woods-Wright, whom he married just days before, and seven children -- one with Woods-Wright, and six others from previous relationships.
Some believe that before his death, Eazy-E had made amends with Ice Cube and Dr. Dre (although others believe that only DJ Yella saw Eazy-E while he was in the hospital). Dr. Dre believes that their history together overshadowed the feud. Four years later, Dr. Dre publicly discussed the death of Eazy in the song "The Mesage" from 2001 with his lyrics, "Eazy, I'm still wit' you, fuck the beef, nigga I miss you, and that's just bein' real with you". Ice Cube later paid tribute to him on the song "Growin Up", off his comeback album Laugh Now, Cry Later with the lyrics "Never thought I'd see Eazy in a casket Thanks for everythang, that's on everythang I learned a lot of game from you I like your son, he got his name from you I tell him everythang that he need to know If he ask my advice, I won't think twice homey" Wright's body was buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California.
Before his death, he was scheduled to make music with artists such as Guns N' Roses, Tupac Shakur, Scarface, Dirty Red, Brotha Lynch Hung, Kid Frost and Bizzy Bone.
The Mayor of Compton Omar Bradley announced Eazy-E day to be held every year on April 7 for the city. In 1995, two posthumous albums were released: Eternal E and Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton. Both releases proved to be successful. Following Eazy's death, his record label was taken over by his widow, Tomica Wright. It is currently a division of Epic Records. Ruthless Records has also found considerable success with former N.W.A. member MC Ren, as well as with Above the Law, B.G. Knocc Out and Dresta, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, among others. The latter group has dedicated their performance at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards and also a few of its songs to Eazy, mainly their 1997 Grammy Award winning single "Tha Crossroads". In 2002, Eazy's oldest son, Eric "Lil Eazy-E" Wright, Jr., released a documentary about his father entitled The Life and Times of Eric Wright. Another documentary called Impact of a Legend was produced and sold along with the CD of the same name. In 2004, the song "Eazy-Er Said Than Dunn" was featured in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas soundtrack on one of the game radio stations Radio Los Santos and the character of Lance "Ryder" Wilson in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was inspired by Eazy-E, and modeled on him. In 2006, Eazy-E was honored at the VH1 Hip Hop Honors along with other legendary hip hop artists and pioneers such as Afrika Bambaataa, the Beastie Boys, MC Lyte, Ice Cube, Rakim, Russell Simmons, and the Wu-Tang Clan.
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