2023 marks the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop and with this week marking the 28th anniversary of his passing, I thought we’d take a look at the musical contributions of rapper Eric “Eazy-E” Wright.
Considered by many as the Godfather of Gangsta Rap, Eazy-E helped bring West Coast Hip Hop into the mainstream with his group NWA (which consisted of members Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, Arabian Prince, and DJ Yella).
I had the opportunity to meet Eazy-E twice in the 90’s and both were complete surprises. Our first meeting was at a nightclub in Riverside, California where I was hosting a performance by DJ Quik. We chatted briefly in a back room before he gave me an autograph on some random flyer I pulled down from the wall.
Our second encounter took place at a Denny’s of all places while I was hangin’ out with Greg Mack, the radio Programmer/Disc Jockey credited for bringing Hip Hop to the airwaves of Los Angeles on the legendary radio station 1580 KDAY.
Without providing any explanation, Greg had me pull my car into the Inglewood restaurant parking lot and we went inside. Sitting in a booth at the far end of the restaurant were members of NWA. Greg signaled that he was there and Eazy-E walked over to us. The rest is a star-struck blur.
In March of 1987, Eazy-E released his debut single “Boyz-N-The-Hood“. The song has been covered, remade, and sampled numerous times over the years by various artists including Meghan Thee Stallion who released “Girls In The Hood” in 2020.
In 1991, director John Singleton used the song title for his movie “Boyz n the Hood” starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne, and Ice Cube. When the movie “Straight Outta Compton” based on NWA was released in 2015, it renewed interest in the group and catapulted the song “Boyz-N-The-Hood” onto the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time at #50.
Eazy-E released the EP “Eazy-Duz-It” in 1988 and contains one of my all-time favorite songs “Radio“. The song features Greg Mack as the DJ introducing the record. Scroll down below and take a listen.
The music video for “100 Miles and Running” pays homage to the 1979 movie “The Warriors” in which a female disc-jockey sends out a message over the radio. Ironically, the same scene plays out in the movie ‘John Wick 4‘ which is in theaters now.
Though primarily known for their tough demeanor and gangster-themed lyrics, NWA had one of the hottest bass-style dance records called “Something 2 Dance 2“. Check it out down below.
Whether you’re a fan or not, Eazy-E has earned his place in Hip Hop history as one of the most iconic figures in the genre. RIP E and thanks for the memories!
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