Depending who you ask, Eazy-E is either one of Hip-Hop’s greatest pioneers or one of its greediest figures. For as many success stories that surround him, like bringing the world Bone Thugs N Harmony, the negative connotations, like allegedly being the reason N.W.A. split, run rampant.
I never knew the guy, just the urban legends surrounding him. Being that the man unfortunately can’t be here to defend himself, I won’t focus on the negative aspects. There’s enough negative B.S. going on in the world today anyway. When Eric Wright passed away 15 years ago today, I barely knew who he was. I was only nine. Over the years though, I’ve gotten to know the artist through his music, old interviews, documentaries and everything in between.
One thing I can say is this – he helped set one of the greatest trends of all time. Jay had the button up. Cam had the “all-pink-everything” movement. Pharrell/Clipse had B.A.P.E. But Eazy’s (and Cube’s) White Sox/Raiders fitted + black sunglasses + flannel look was the reason I wanted to move to Cali. Then I realized being light skin wouldn’t have been good for my campaign. I probably would’ve gotten taken as serious as Braxton from “The Jamie Foxx Show” when he appeared on “Original Gangstas.” Us light skin brothers didn’t recover from that until Barack showed up.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is, take a minute out and remember a legend. As the years go by and the generations pass, it’ll be harder and harder to remember people of E’s stature. That’s just a product of the game though. Time distances you from everything. To assist you with the commemoration, run back through these clips and remember when the Jheri curl was a testament to your gangsta and South Central Los Angeles was America’s #1 war zone.
I include this video for two reasons. One, I still find this to be one of the better, more entertaining and controversial clips of the ’90s. Nothing will ever top the 1995 Source Awards, but this is knocking on the door, at least in the ignorance category. And two, “Damn, E, they tried to fade you on ‘Dre Day’/But ‘Dre Day’ only make Eazy’s payday/All of a sudden Dr. Dre is a ‘G-Thang’/But on his old album cover, he was a she-thang…” is one of the best diss lines of all time. Dre is my dude, but that’s just keeping it 100. Plus, how many rappers will ever be allowed to perform a diss song on national TV?