On this day 15 years ago, the rap community suffered one of it’s most fatal blows when the godfather of gangsta rap Eric “Eazy-E” Wright passed away from complications from AIDS at the tender age of 31. The rapper/producer/record executive who introduced one of rap’s most fearless groups (N.W.A.) to the world fought his last battle after he was admitted to Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, publicly announcing he’d been diagnosed with AIDS. Ten days later, the hip-hop world was shocked when Eazy passed from the virus, leaving a legacy of music behind.
They say the good die young, and Eazy was about as good as it gets. Not only did he spawn one of hip-hop’s most volatile rap cliques with N.W.A. (and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony later down the line), but the Compton native introduced a wealth of savvy business tactics within hip-hop that continue to be used today.
Wright’s music shall reign supreme forever thanks to the copious number of MCs who cite him as a reference point, such as the Game, Nipsey Hussle, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre. Even Eazy’s son Eric Wright Jr. (aka Lil Eazy-E, who was ten years old at the time of his dad’s death) has followed the same career path his father created.
In remembrance of Eazy, we decided to bring back this old clip of his debut on “Yo! MTV Raps.” Even Fab 5 Freddy admitted this was his first time visiting the hood.
Shortly before Eazy passed, he left his fans with one last jewel from his hospital bed. “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,” he said. “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.” – Rahman Dukes (MTV)
R.I.P. Eric “Eazy-E” Wright.
What’s your favorite Eazy-E moment? Let us know in the comments.