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the Godfather of Gangsta Rap: Eazy-E

As an ardent hip hop head and longtime Eazy-E fan, I‘m thrilled to provide this in-depth profile of one of rap‘s most influential pioneers. Let‘s delve into the legendary life and career of the godfather of gangsta rap himself, Eazy-E!

Eazy-E: Profile Overview

Full Name: Eric Lynn Wright
Stage Name: Eazy-E
Birthday: September 7, 1964
Birthplace: Compton, California
Death Date: March 26, 1995 (age 30)
Height: 5‘3
Net Worth: $50 million
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

From Compton Streets to Hip Hop Fame

Long before he earned fame as the frontman of N.W.A, Eric Wright was just a kid growing up in the gritty streets of Compton, CA. Even as a youngster in the 70s and 80s, Wright was immersed in the emerging local hip hop scene.

After dropping out of high school in 10th grade, Wright fully embraced the streets and the "gangsta" lifestyle. As he later rapped on tracks like "Boyz-N-The Hood," he began dealing drugs and joined a local Compton gang called the Kelly Park Compton Crips. This early life experience gave him an authentic perspective he would later channel into his groundbreaking music.

However, Wright also had a passion for hip hop from a young age. He explored DJing and rapping with friends at house parties and block clubs. As his childhood friend and future collaborator Dr. Dre recalled, "Every Friday and Saturday night it was, ‘Let‘s party!‘" Long before fame, Wright honed his craft performing at late-night underground hip hop shows across Los Angeles.

The Rise of N.W.A and Gangsta Rap

In 1986, Eazy-E joined forces with Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella to form the most dangerous rap group in America: N.W.A. With Wright adopting the stage name "Eazy-E," N.W.A pioneered gangsta rap with their raw, visceral depictions of Compton street life.

Eazy served as the group‘s frontman and leader. His confrontational raps and squeaky high-pitched delivery on songs like "Straight Outta Compton" and "F*** Tha Police" drew immense controversy. But despite frequent condemnation, Eazy never wavered in his bold, uncensored approach. As he famously said, "I just put my real life experiences down on paper and rhyme it."

N.W.A‘s 1988 debut Straight Outta Compton was a triple platinum smash that introduced hardcore West Coast rap to Middle America. Embodying Eazy‘s vision, it brought the world‘s most dangerous streets to the forefront of popular music. Thanks to N.W.A, gangsta rap owned the rap game moving forward.

Ruthless Records and Business Savvy

Beyond rapping, Eazy was an equally brilliant entrepreneur. In 1987, he co-founded Ruthless Records alongside Jerry Heller. As one of hip hop‘s earliest independent labels, Ruthless Records was fundamental in launching the careers of West Coast rap giants like N.W.A, The D.O.C., Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and Eazy himself.

With his street hustler mentality, Eazy negotiated unprecedented control and profits for N.W.A‘s records, pioneering new standards for hip hop artists. Even as a teen, he demonstrated business savvy, signing a hungry 16-year-old Ice Cube to write songs after witnessing Cube freestyle.

Ultimately, Ruthless Records allowed Eazy and N.W.A‘s vision of hardcore gangsta rap to flourish, even as major labels refused to sign them. Eazy‘s business leadership was just as crucial as his rapping in cementing N.W.A‘s legacy.

Eazy‘s Ascent to Solo Stardom

Even after N.W.A‘s bitter breakup in 1991, Eric "Eazy-E" Wright continued his hip hop dominance into the 90s. While mentoring new Ruthless acts like Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Eazy kept dropping hit solo records.

He released two EP albums that reached #1 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop charts – 5150 Home 4 tha Sick (1992) and the Dr. Dre diss project It‘s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa (1993). On the album‘s smash single "Real Muthaphuckkin G‘s," Eazy mocked Dre‘s street credibility over a thumping G-Funk beat. Lyrics like "Damn it‘s a trip how a n**** could switch so quick from wearin‘ lipstick to smoking on chronic at picnics" became legendary hip hop disses.

Even as former bandmates like Ice Cube found greater commercial success, Eazy remained staunchly confident. As he stated in interviews, "I know I‘m a better rapper than them. I ain‘t gonna be like everybody else wearing high heels and dresses. Hell no!" Eazy took pride in keeping hip hop raw and authentic even as gangsta rap went mainstream.

Remembering a Rap Pioneer

Eazy-E‘s story was tragically cut short when he passed away from AIDS complications on March 26, 1995 at just 30 years old. Despite his small stature, Eric Wright had an outsized influence as both a gangsta rap pioneer and visionary label head.

To this day, Eazy‘s legacy looms large over West Coast hip hop. By presenting graphic tales of urban California street life, Eazy gave a voice to struggling youth across America. He pushed boundaries with his jaw-dropping lyrics and aggressive delivery that demanded respect. Though gone too soon, the Godfather of Gangsta Rap‘s music remains as powerful as ever.

Whenever I hear Eazy take the mic on tracks like "Boyz-N-The-Hood" and "Eazy Duz It," I still get chills. Even now, the godfather is still inspiring MCs all over the world. As an artist and entrepreneur who followed his own vision, Eazy-E changed hip hop forever. There will never be another rapper like him – long live the Godfather!


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