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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. He was a Kelly Park Compton Crip from the early teenage years until his death. 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. He was the one who started the gangster era and to this day has influenced many other rappers in their rap game. Eazy-E`s vocal 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.
He lived in Compton, CA his entire life
Eric Wright dropped out of high school and supported himself by selling drugs. He used the profits from his drug sales to establish the Ruthless Records rap music label. When Ruthless signees Dr. Dre and Ice Cube wrote "Boyz-n-the-Hood", Wright formed the group N.W.A., joining Dr.Dre and Ice Cube, also adding DJ Yella and Arabian Prince
The subsequent period saw Ruthless Records release the compilation N.W.A. and the Posse (1987), N.W.A`s proper debut Straight Outta Compton (1988), and one month later, Eazy-E`s solo album, Eazy-Duz-It. The album sold two million copies, certifying it as a double platinum album, and spawned the hit singles "We Want Eazy" and "Eazy-Er Said Than Dunn" (a remix of "Boyz-n-the-Hood", a previous hit, was also included). The album was again produced by N.W.A.`s Dr. Dre and DJ Yella and largely written by fellow N.W.A. rapper MC Ren, with contributions from Ice Cube and The D.O.C. (whose solo No One Can Do It Better would be released the following year).
On the final N.W.A. album, Efil4zaggin (1991), some of the lyrics provoked outrage from many critics and conservative circles. Eazy-E included even more of the elements 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 stealing 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.
At the start of Dr. Dre’s defection from Ruthless Records , there was a fear of further violence. Ruthless Records executives, Mike Klein and Jerry Heller sought assistance from the Jewish Defense League (JDL). Mike Klein, former Ruthless Records director of business affairs said  This provided Ruthless Records with muscle to enter into negotiations with Deathrow Records over Dr. Dre’s departure. While Suge Knight violently sought an outright release from Ruthless Records for Dr. Dre, the JDL and Ruthless records management were able to sit down with Deathrow and negotiate a release in which the record label would continue to receive money and publishing rights from future Dr. Dre projects. It was under these terms Dr. Dre left Ruthless Records and formed Deathrow with Suge Knight. The FBI launched a money laundering investigation, assuming that the JDL was extorting money from Ruthless Records to fight their extremist causes. This led to JDL spokesperson Irv Rubin to issue a press release stating "There was nothing but a close, tight relationship" between Eazy-E and the League.
Jerry Heller has acknowledged that Eazy E received death threats, and it was discovered that he was on hit list by some neo-Nazi skinheads. Heller has speculated that it may have been because of "Fuck Tha Police" song. He also said "It was no secret that in the aftermath of the Suge Knight shake down incident where Eazy was forced to sign over Dr Dre, Michele and DOC, that Ruthless was protected by Israeli-trained security forces." Jerry Heller maintains that Eazy E admired the group for their slogan Never Again, and that he had plans to do a movie about the group.
Illness and Death:
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, already having made amends with Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, 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, Tomika Wright, whom he married just days before, and seven children — one with Woods-Wright, and six others from previous relationships.
Wright`s body was buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California
Honors and legacy:
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: the greatest hits collection Eternal E and unfinished solo studio album Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton. 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 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 1999, Dr. Dre publicly discussed the death of Eazy in the song "What`s the Difference?" 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
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. Lil Eazy has began his era and hopes to continue his dad`s as well. Another documentary called Impact of a Legend was produced and sold along with the EP 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.
In 2007, Record producers Capitol/Priority Records released the album Featuring...Eazy E which featured his best known collaborations and included several out of print recordings.
More than five million copies of Eazy-E’s albums have been sold in the U.S. alone.
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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. Wright is affectionately called "The Godfather of Gangsta Rap". He was born to Richard and Kathie Wright in Compton, California. 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 artist Ice Cube wrote "Boyz-n-the-Hood", Dr. 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 and then disbanded after Eazy released Dr. Dre from his contract.
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Rapper, CEO, record producer
Ruthless, Priority, Relativity, Epic, MCA
N.W.A, The D.O.C., Rhythum D, Above the Law, B.G. Knocc Out & Dresta, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, DJ King Assassin, Kokane
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