13 years have passed since legendary Compton rapper Eazy-E died suddenly of AIDS. Today, he’s remembered as one of the forefathers of gangster rap.
Two weeks after his passing, Compton Mayor Omar Bradley designated April 7 Eazy-E Day in Compton. And this Monday (April 7) marks that day, according to a report from Louisiana State University’s Daily Reveille.
The late rapper is responsible for creating one of the seminal acts of the gangsta rap genre, N.W.A., along with Dr. Dre, MC Ren, the D.O.C. and Ice Cube. They achieved platinum success with their debut, Straight Outta Compton, and the individual members went on to have successful solo careers, specifically Ice Cube and Dre.
Furthermore, the group helped catapult West Coast rapper into a force in the music industry, spawning films like “Boyz N The Hood,” “Menace II Society,” and the parody “CB4.”
In their heyday, they even gained the attention of the FBI, who issued a warning letter to the group, thanks, in part, to their controversial “F*** The Police” track.
Remembering what inspired that historic song in hip-hop history, Dr. Dre explained that it started with him and Eazy getting busted by the cops.
“It was me and Eazy riding around,” Dr. Dre explained during an interview back in March 2007 with World Entertainment News Network. “He had this paintball gun, and he was shooting people at bus stops. The cops caught us and we were face down on the freeway with guns pointed at us.
“We thought it was bullsh**, so we went to the studio and created the song,” he continued.
When news broke of Eazy being diagnosed with AIDS, most believed it was only a disease of homosexuals, but that changed. Eazy, with the help of Dre and Ice Cube, sent out a message to the community educating young people about the sexual transmitted disease.
“There were great rewards for me personally like fancy cars, gorgeous women and good living,” Eazy said. “I’m not religious, but wrong or right, that’s me. I’m not saying this because I’m looking for a soft cushion wherever I’m heading, I just feel that I’ve got thousands and thousands of young fans that have to learn about what’s real when it comes to AIDS.
“Like something good that will reach out to all my homeboys and their kin because I want to save their asses before it’s too late. I’m not looking to blame anyone except myself … It affects everyone.”
10 days after being admitted to the hospital, Eazy-E died on March 26, 1995.
13 years later, Eazy is still remembered, and was a pioneer of the world of West Coast hip-hop. Today, rappers carry on the torch. His son, Lil Eazy-E, is carrying on his father’s legacy, but he has some big shoes to fill.
R.I.P. Eazy-E. September 7, 1963–March 26, 1995.