March 26th 1995 marks the death of one of the Godfathers of Gangsta Rap, Eazy E. Co-founder Ruthless Records, Eazy-E was the driving force behind the formation of “the world’s most dangerous group,” namely N.W.A. For better or worse, Eazy’s funding of his music ventures via drug money provided a blueprint for future emcees to do the same (see Jay Z). That said, Eazy’s impact on Hip Hop cannot be overstated. After the N.W.A’s debut album, N.W.A. And The Posse, went Gold and introduced the group to Hip Hop enthusiasts, his solo record, Eazy Duz It, would reach #41 on the Billboard charts.
Ultimately, the success of that album set up N.W.A’s classic sophomore release, Straight Outta Compton, which took the mainstream by storm. Featuring unapologetically vivid tales of urban Los Angeles life in the late 80s and early 90s, songs like “Dopeman”‘ and “Fu*k The Police” scared the crap out of mainstream America, and Eazy E would ride that wave of fear all the way to the bank. Eventually financial disputes with Eazy-E and N.W.A. manager Jerry Heller would lead to very public feuds that resulted in key members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre departing the group. Eazy-E would press on however, releasing a trio of solo albums after N.W.A disbanded, and more importantly founding yet another legendary Hip Hop act, the Grammy award winning group, Bone Thugs & Harmony.
Sadly, Eazy-E would ultimately pass away from complications with the AIDS, reminding us all that the disease knows no biases and that we should always take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves. RIP Eazy-E, a true giant in the Hip Hop game. JP Lime salutes your legacy.