#VitalFactz: Rest In Peace - Eazy E
On this day in 1995 the Hip Hop Industry was in total shock over the tragic death of West Coast pioneer & Ruthless Records founder Eazy E, Born Eric Lynn Wright September 7, 1964. Wright, along with music manager & businessman Gerald Elliot "Jerry" Heller founded Ruthless Records in 1986 as a platform for himself & N.W.A. members Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, DJ Yella & MC Ren to get their music heard. Although they didn't start Gangsta Rap in the West Coast (that title goes to legend Ice T), they took Gangsta Rap to another level & brought nationwide awareness to life on the streets that they felt Suburban America had limited knowledge of. After a few bumps in the road, their hard work paid off in August of 1988 when N.W.A. released their full length debut album Straight Outta Compton. This album was Certified Triple Platinum & peaked at #4 on Billboard's Hot 200 Albums Chart. They achieved this with very little airplay. One month later Eazy dropped his debut album Eazy-Duz-It, with songwriting credit from MC Ren, Ice Cube & The D.O.C. (despite rumors that only Ice Cube did the writing). This album was Certified Double Platinum & included the singles Eazy-er Said Than Dunn & We Want Eazy. Sadly, this would be the only album released with contributions from Ice Cube as he left N.W.A. late in 1989 due to compensation issues he had with Jerry Heller. In 1991 N.W.A. released their 2nd album Niggaz4Life. This album was Certified Double Platinum & peaked at #1 on Billboard's Hot 200 Albums Chart. Unfortunately this would be the last album N.W.A. released because Dr. Dre left the group as well (ironically for the same reasons Ice Cube left) thus bringing an end to the N.W.A era. This brought about diss tracks between Dre & Eazy that started with Dre. Eazy fired back on his 1993 EP It's On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa. This EP went Double Platinum & included the track directed mainly at Dr. Dre Real Muthaphuckkin G's. Sadly, this would be the last project released during Eazy's lifetime. On February 24th of 1995 Eazy was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles due to an illness he believed to be asthma because of his contact coughing. Unfortunately he was diagnosed with full blown AIDS. Luckily Eazy had made amends with all of his group members & set up trust funds for his kids before he lapsed into a coma from which he would not awaken. On March 26th, Eazy E passed away from his illness. It was reported that DJ Yella was the only N.W.A. member to attend Eazy's funeral. Nevertheless, all of the group members were shaken by his passing as was the entire Hip Hop Community. Like Magic Johnson before him, Eazy's diagnosis brought awareness to AIDS as well as other repercussions of having unprotected sex. Eazy will always be remembered for contributing to the style of Hip Hop that brought street life to the forefront. Regardless of his lyrical ability (or lack of), what he brought to the table cannot be disputed. Rest In Peace Eric Lynn Wright September 7, 1964 - March 26, 1995.