By Raynold D Fabre-Jeune
March 26, 2012 marks the 17th anniversary of Eric “Eazy-E” Wright’s death. Born and raised in Compton, CA, amidst heavy gang activity, Eazy-E’s career tells one of the early rags-to-riches tales in hip-hop. Taking leave from drug activity in the streets, Eazy used his profits to invest in Ruthless Records, where he linked up with Dr. Dre and Ice Cube to form N.W.A.
The pioneering group consisted of Ice Cube, MC Ren, Dr. Dre, DJ Yella and Eazy himself and their music caught the attention of fans nationwide—even without much radio airplay— due to in-your-face, explicit lyrics. During this era Eazy, along with NWA group manager Jerry Heller, helmed Ruthless Records. The company was home to a list of artists that included Bone Thugs and Harmony.
On February 24, 1995 Eazy-E was admitted to Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA under the impression that he was having an asthma attack, however, during the visit to the medical facility Eazy E was diagnosed with AIDS. On March 16, 1995 Eazy made a public announcement about his illness and tragically passed away 10 days later on March 26, 1995. During his career he released six major albums, four of them with NWA, influencing many artists that would follow in his footsteps.