From BSMG and West World Records – R.I.P. Eric “Eazy-E” Lynn Wright (9.7.63 – 3.26.95)
Eric Lynn Wright (September 7, 1963 – March 26, 1995), better known by his stage name Eazy-E, was an American rapper who performed solo and in the Hip-Hop group N.W.A. After dropping out of high school in the tenth grade, he supported himself primarily by selling drugs before investing in Ruthless Records and becoming a rapper. When Ruthless artists Dr. Dre and Ice Cube wrote “Boyz-n-the-Hood”, Dre, Cube, and Eazy formed N.W.A. After DJ Yella, MC Ren, and Arabian Prince joined the group, N.W.A released N.W.A. and the Posse. In 1988, they released their most controversial album, Straight Outta Compton. The group released two more albums, then disbanded after Eazy signed Dr. Dre off of his contract.
Eric Wright was born on September 7, 1963 in Compton, California, a suburb of Los Angeles notorious for crime and gang activity. Wright dropped out of high school in the tenth grade and supported himself by selling drugs. His profit went to invest in Ruthless Records. He was also a member of the Kelly Park Compton Crips during his teen years, and he openly associated himself with other Crips. He later received a high-school general equivalency diploma (GED). In 1986, at the age of 23, Wright had allegedly earned as much as $250,000 (USD) from dealing drugs. However, he decided that he could make a better living by becoming involved with the Los Angeles hip-hop scene, which was growing rapidly in popularity. He then began recording songs during the mid-1980s in the garage of his parents’ home
In 1987, Eazy co-founded Ruthless Records with Jerry Heller. When Ruthless signees Dr. Dre and Ice Cube wrote “Boyz-n-the-Hood”, Eazy-E formed the group N.W.A. with Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. (DJ Yella, MC Ren, and Arabian Prince were later added). The compilation album N.W.A. and the Posse was released on November 6, 1987 and would go on to be certified Gold in the United States. The album featured N.W.A collaborating with the Fila Fresh Crew, a West Coast rap group originally based in Dallas, Texas.
Eazy-E’s debut album, Eazy-Duz-It, was released on September 16, 1988, and featured twelve tracks. It featured the musical genres West Coast Hip-Hop, Gangsta rap, and Golden age Hip-Hop. It has sold over 2.5 million copies in the United States and reached number forty-one on the Billboard 200. The album was produced by Dr. Dre and DJ Yella and largely written by Ice Cube, with contributions from MC Ren and The D.O.C. Eazy-Duz-It was said by several critics to have “paved the way” to N.W.A’s debut album, Straight Outta Compton. Eazy-E’s only solo recording was a remix of the song “8 Ball”, which originally appeared on N.W.A. and the Posse. The album featured Eazy-E’s writing and performing, where he performed on eight of the songs, and helped write four songs.
On February 24, 1995, Eazy-E was admitted into Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles with what he believed to be asthma. Instead he was diagnosed with AIDS, and announced his illness in a public statement on March 16. The disease came about in Eazy because of his sexual activity, which started when he was twelve and resulted in not only a fatal disease, but seven children to six different women. He died due to “complications from AIDS” one month after his diagnosis, on March 26, 1995, at approximately 6:35 PM (Pacific time). He was 31 years old. During the week of March 20, having already made amends with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Eazy-E drafted his last message to fans. One week after making that announcement, Eazy succumbed to the disease. Eazy was buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California. In November 1995, shortly after Eazy-E’s death, Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton was released.