Some refer to 2pac as the greatest rapper of all time, for others its Biggie, Eminem, JayZ, and for some, it’s even artists that have remained underground. However, it is Eazy E that is widely regarded as the Godfather of Gangsta Rap. He was a record producer, rapper, and entrepreneur who first became famous as a member of the N.W.A, a group that had people like Dr. Dre and Ice Cube as some of its past members.
Eazy E’s Background
The world will continue to know him as Eazy E, but it was as Eric Lynn Wright that the rapper was born on September 7, 1964, in Compton, California to a postal worker father, Richard Wright, and a grade school administrator, Katie Wright.
The rapper, who would later be known for his notoriety, was also raised in Compton – a city in Los Angeles County that was known for its crime and violence. While he started schooling, he soon dropped out when he was in the 10th grade and became involved in drug dealing. His close friends later revealed that although they knew he sold marijuana, he was not involved in drugs such as cocaine.
In order to cut away from the life of crime, Eazy E chose to go into rap music which he felt was less risky and more lucrative than dealing in drugs. He eventually co-founded the Ruthless Records with Jerry Heller under which he released his first album, Eazy Does It.
Soon, he founded the group, Niggaz Wit Attitudes (N.W.A) which went on to popularize gangsta rap. N.W.A had Arabian Prince, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and MC Ren as its past members at different times. The group would go on to release two albums, Straight Outta Compton (1988) and Niggaz4Life (1991). There was also N.W.A. and the Posse which was released in 1987.
His next album Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton was released in 1996. His extended plays are 5150: Home 4 tha Sick (1992), It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa (1993) and Impact of a Legend (2002).
Before he died in 1995, Eazy E got married to Tomica Woods whom he met in 1991. Although the first time they met she didn’t know who he was, their paths kept crossing and before long, they started dating.
Tomica, who was born in 1969, has been in charge of her late husband’s Ruthless Records since his death. The label which she restructured and fought so hard to keep is one of the most known hip-hop records that has produced star groups like Bone Thugs ‘n’ Harmony and the Black Eyed Peas.
Eazy E has 11 children. With Tomica, he has twin children, Dominick and Daijah Nakia who were born 6 months after their father had died.
The other children of the N.W.A star are Eric Darnell Wright Jr. who is popular as Lil Eazy-E; Erin Bria Wright who was birthed to him by Tracy Jernagin; Marquise Wright (Yung Eazy); Baby Eazy-E; Raven Wright who has been away from the spotlight; Elijah Wright; and David Wright. The remaining three are not known to the media.
Controversies Surrounding His Death
The death of most stars is never without a conspiracy theory or two, and the case of Eazy E is no different. Although the cause of his death was officially recorded as AIDS, many believe that a lot was left unsaid. Eazy E announced on March 16, 1995, that he had contracted the disease, and on March 26, 1995, he died from it.
The question raised was how he could have died of AIDS only a month after announcing he had contracted it. However, not many knew that since the start of 1994, he had been struggling with what was thought to be asthma.
Many others who believed he actually died from the disease think it was probably not through sex that the Godfather of Gangsta Rap contracted the disease. The rapper’s son, Yung Eazy, believes that his father was killed by Suge Knight.
On his part, Jerry Heller who was N.W.A’s manager also believes Suge Knight could have infected Eazy E by injecting him with infected blood from someone who had the disease. Because of this, he said one of his greatest regrets in life was stopping the late rapper from killing Suge Knight when he confided in him that he wanted to take him out.
However, the main question that many keep asking is how someone with the kind of wealth Eazy E controlled could die of AIDS which can be managed. Following his death, Eazy E was buried on April 7, 1995, with more than 3,000 people attending the funeral at Whittier, California.
How Rich Was He?
Eazy E had acquired an impressive net worth at the time of his death. According to his son, the Godfather of Gangsta Rap had a net worth of $50 million before his death. Among other assets that he had, his music label, Ruthless Records was said to be worth close to $15 million before the rapper died.