On this day in 1995 the world lost one of the most influential artists of all time, Eazy-E. The rap pioneer, N.W.A. member and business man has a rich legacy in music history and played a vital role in putting Compton on the map.
Before Cash Money, Bad Boy or Death Row, there was Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records. Ruthless helped shape the blueprint and set an example for future entrepreneurs in the hip hop culture.
Aside from his legacy as a label owner and artist, Eazy-E was a visionary in the sense of who he signed. J.J. Fad became the first female rap group to receive a Grammy nomination, their album Supersonic went Gold and the trio helped pave the way for future female MC’s like Lil Kim, Lauryn Hill and Missy Elliott. Eazy also gets credit for helping solidify Bone Thugs-N-Harmony in the music industry, ultimately collaborating together and dropping numerous Platinum albums under Ruthless. The rapper released Michel’le’s self-titled, double-platinum debut album in 1989 on Ruthless Records, which showcased his range and vision outside of gangster rap.
The N.W.A. member had an uncanny ability to vividly depict the gang activity and crime in Compton, which helped gain gangster rap recognition outside of the United States. With the help of many others like Ice-T and Schoolly D, gangster rap became the norm at the time with nothing else sounding like it.
Eazy-E was also a controversial figure in rap from the late 80s to early 90s after his fallout with Dr. Dre became highly publicized. With numerous diss-tracks going back and forth at each other, Eazy’s straightforward shot on “Real Muthaphuckkin G’s” resonated the most.
Eazy (31) was diagnosed with AIDS in February 1995, and passed away only a month later in March 26th. The West Coast legend left behind seven children and managed to make up with Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre before his passing.
Let’s celebrate the life and legacy of Eazy-E.
Rest in Peace, Eazy.