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Eazy-E

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Eazy-E
Eazy

Birth name

Eric Lynn Wright

Born

7 September 1963
Compton, California, United States

Died

26 March 1995 (aged 31)
Los Angeles, California, United States

Genres

Gangsta rap, West Coast hip hop, G-funk

Occupations

Rapper, CEO

Years active

1986-1995

Labels

Ruthless, Priority

Associated acts

Above the Law, B.G. Knocc Out, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, The D.O.C., DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, Dresta, Ice Cube, Kokane, N.W.A

Eric Lynn Wright (7 September 1963 - 26 March 1995), better known by his stagename Eazy-E, was an American rapper who performed solo and in the gangsta rap group N.W.A. After dropping out of high school in the tenth grade, he supported himself by selling drugs before investing in Ruthless Records and becoming a rapper. When Ruthless artists Ice Cube and Dr. Dre wrote a song named "Boyz-n-the-Hood", Dre, Cube, and Eazy formed N.W.A in 1986. After DJ Yella, MC Ren, and Arabian Prince joined the group, they released the compilation album N.W.A. and the Posse. In 1988, they released their controversial debut album, Straight Outta Compton. The group released two more albums and then disbanded after Eazy released Dr. Dre from his contract.

Eazy-E was influenced by 1970s funk groups, contemporary rappers, and comedians. His unique style and voice made him recognisable and helped him become a star. On 24 February 1995, Eazy was admitted into Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles with what he believed to be asthma, but was instead diagnosed with AIDS. On 16 March, he publicly announced his condition and passed away due to complications ten days later.

Early lifeEdit

Eric Lynn Wright was born to Richard and Kathie Wright on 7 September 1963 in Compton, California, a Los Angeles suburb notorious for gang activity and crime. His father was a postal worker and his mother was a grade school administrator. Wright dropped out of high school in the tenth grade, but later received a high school general equivalency diploma.

Wright supported himself primarily by selling drugs after being introduced to the occupation by his cousin. Wright sold marijuana, and allegedly had made as much as US$250,000 from dealing drugs by 1986. However, after his cousin was shot and killed, he decided that he could make a better living in the Los Angeles hip hop scene, which was growing rapidly in popularity. He started recording songs during the mid-1980s in his parents' garage.

Musical careerEdit

Beginning of Ruthless RecordsEdit

The original idea for Ruthless Records came when Wright asked Heller to go into business with him. Wright suggested a half-ownership company, but it was later decided that Wright would get eighty percent of the company's income, and Heller would only get twenty percent. Along with Heller, Wright invested much of his money into Ruthless Records. Heller claims that he invested the first $250,000, and would eventually put up to $1,000,000 into the company.

1987-1991: N.W.A and Eazy-Duz-ItEdit

N.W.A was formed when Ruthless signees Dr. Dre and Ice Cube wrote the song "Boyz-n-the-Hood". The group consisted of Eazy-E, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, and later DJ Yella, MC Ren and Arabian Prince. Their debut release was the compilation album N.W.A. and the Posse in 1987, which also featured material recorded by Dallas group Fila Fresh Crew, Rappinstine, and Ron-De-Vu.

N.W.A's debut studio album, Straight Outta Compton, was released on 8 August 1988. The album redefined the direction of hip hop, which resulted in lyricism about the gangsta lifestyle becoming the driving force in sales figures. Eazy-E's debut album, Eazy-Duz-It, was released on 16 September 1988. It was produced by Dr. Dre and DJ Yella, and was largely written by MC Ren, Ice Cube and The D.O.C.. After the release of Straight Outta Compton, Ice Cube left the group due to internal disputes, and the group continued as a four-piece ensemble. N.W.A released the EP 100 Miles and Runnin' in 1990 and the album Niggaz4Life in 1991.

In March 1991, Wright accepted an invitation to a lunch benefiting the Republican Senatorial Inner Circle, hosted by then-President George H. W. Bush. A spokesman for the rapper said Eazy-E supported Bush because of his performance in the Gulf War.

1991-1994: End of N.W.A and feud with Dr. DreEdit

N.W.A began to fall apart after Jerry Heller became the group's manager. Dr. Dre sent Suge Knight to look into Eazy-E's financial situation because he was beginning to grow suspicious of Eazy-E and Heller. Dr. Dre then requested that Eazy release him from the Ruthless Records contract, but Eazy refused. The disagreement led to an altercation between Knight and Eazy at the recording studio where Niggaz4Life was recorded. After he refused to release Dre, Knight declared to Eazy that he had kidnapped Heller and was holding him prisoner in a van. Eazy did not believe the rumor, so Knight gave Eazy a piece of paper that contained Eazy's mother's address, telling him, "I know where your mama stays." Eazy finally signed Dre's release, officially marking the end of N.W.A.

The feud with Dr. Dre escalated with the release of Dre's 1992 solo album The Chronic, which featured both obvious and subtle disses to Eazy. Eazy responded with the EP It's On (Dr. Dre) 187umKilla, featuring the songs "Real Muthaphuckkin G's" and "It's On". The album also contained photos of Dr. Dre wearing lacy outfits and makeup when he was a member of the electro group World Class Wreckin' Cru.

DeathEdit

On 24 February 1995, Eazy-E was admitted to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles with what he believed to be asthma. Instead, he was diagnosed with AIDS. Eazy's sexual activity began at the age of twelve and resulted in not only a fatal disease, but also in seven children with six different women. He announced his illness in a public statement on 16 March. During the week of 20 March, having already made amends with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Eazy-E drafted his last message to his fans. One week after the release of that message, Eazy died due to complications from AIDS on 26 March 1995 at approximately 6:35 PM (Pacific time). Eazy was buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California. His final studio album, Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton, was released on 30 January 1996.

LegacyEdit

Eazy-E is often referred to as the godfather of gangsta rap. He has also been called a rap pioneer and sometimes cited by critics as a legend. He was responsible for the breakthrough of a number of artists signed to the Ruthless Records label.

Two of his seven children, Eric "Lil' Eazy-E" Wright, Jr. and Derrek "Baby Eazy-E" Wright, have also become rappers.

DiscographyEdit

Studio albumsEdit

EPsEdit

As a member of N.W.AEdit

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