Students of the game remember this clip of Eazy-E on The Arsenio Hall Show* for the Hip-Hop history it rightfully represents. Showcasing Eric Wright in all of his controversial, charismatic and defiant glory (and crusty feet), those not familiar should take it as a lesson. Never will you see something like this on live television again. Largely because of the climate of the culture, Hip-Hop was in its rising popularity during this time yet largely shunned upon by mainstream (middle) America phase. And thanks to Eazy, referred to here as the “Godfather of Gangsta Rap,” the movement towards the depression and violence of the streets had begun to spill over into business side of the genre.
Right or wrong, those who love the music cherish this time. I’m not one of those homers who cling to the ’90’s by its right tit, yet there’s a reason it continues to hold such significance in the hearts of people who eat, sleep and breathe the culture. This is where the identity was formed and the personality was crafted around artists who cared nothing about a glass ceiling; instead, they shattered it. Another reason the clip is comparable only to the participants involved in this era is because many present day diss records fail to pack the punch and “wow” factor its predecessors had. At some point after Jay mentioned not respecting shots not sent directly at him, the entire game photo copied this mindset, took it to heart and made a living off the ever-so-frustrating “subliminal shot.”
Here, Eazy went directly for the jugular by performing one of the greatest diss songs in history with “Real Muthaf*ckin’ G’s.” By this time, obviously, Death Row was on its rise to mid-1990’s domination with the release of The Chronic and new-superstar-in-the-making, Snoop Dogg, all of whom were under the direction of Marion “Suge” Knight. Eazy said “f*ck ’em all” with the record and, to this day, a rhyme so vicious it still send chills down spines:
“Damn E, they tried to fade you on ‘Dre Day’
But ‘Dre Day’ only make Eazy’s pay day
All of a sudden Dr. Dre is a G-Thang
But on his old album covers he was a she-thing…”
Consider this a cold glass of nostalgia, folks. Enjoy it, go on about your evening and remember a time when Hip-Hop was the underdog and could care less about consequences as long as their point was driven home. Death Row eventually folded, Dre and Snoop went on to become mega stars and Eazy died shortly after this. No one ever said history lessons had happy endings. Especially not in Hip-Hop.
* – To this day, that show doesn’t get the credit it deserves for its coverage of Hip-Hop. It may not have been perfect, but it had it’s fair share of legendary moments.