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About Eazy-E

A pioneer of gangsta rap and founder of the infamous West Coast group N.W.A., Eazy-E’s entrepreneurial guile and radical rhymes redefined the extremities of hip-hop in the late 1980s. Born Eric Wright in 1964 in Compton, California, Eazy-E founded Ruthless Records in 1986 with capital earned from drug dealing. Debuting his distinctive high-pitched timbre in 1987 with the stentorian, day-in-the-life anthem “Boyz-n-the-Hood,” he joined with Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella to form N.W.A., which erupted into mainstream America with gangsta rap’s definitive album Straight Outta Compton in 1988. The ungovernable, funk-injected recital of street life, which culminated with the anti-police anthem “F**k tha Police,” thrust the group’s charismatic figurehead to the forefront of rap. Capitalizing on the controversy, Eazy-E released his debut album, the seminal Eazy-Duz-It, remixing the hardcore, wry storytelling of “Boyz-N-The-Hood” and producing hulking narrative bangers like “Nobody Move.” Ushering in gangsta-funk in 1991 with the burnished reality rap spectacle Efil4zaggin, that album would be N.W.A.’s last, due to a falling-out between Eazy E and Dr. Dre. The feud would reach its apogee on Eazy-E’s 1993 EP, It's On (Dr. Dre): 187um Killa, a virulent G-funk retaliation, peaking with the explosive “Real Muthaphuckkin G's” aimed at Dre. While recording his follow-up LP in 1995, Eazy-E passed away suddenly from AIDS-induced pneumonia, a month following his diagnosis. The album, Str8 off Tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton, was released a year later, framing an iconic career as a trailblazer for West Coast hip-hop.

Compton, CA, United States
September 7, 1964
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