“I’m not a role model or a Dr. Seuss. Yo I’m a gangsta.” Eazy-E personified the tone of Gangsta Rap. Coming from Compton, California, the face of Ruthless Records along with his team N.W.A, Eric Wright let off a loud shot that is still –and will always be– heard.
Many are able to embody the persona of gangsta rap. That’s thanks to the likes of Schooly D, Ice-T, and N.W.A. The difference between the two former when compared to the latter, is Eazy-E. A true entrepreneur, if it wasn’t the rap game, his money would’ve (as it has) been made regardless.
In 1986 Eazy-E went into business with Jerry Heller to create Ruthless Records. It’s often told that Wright used up to $250,000 of his own money –which he made in the streets– to fund this endeavor. Because of this, as Jerry Heller mentioned in his memoir titled, Ruthless, Eazy-E owned 80% of the rights to the company.
Yeah, I was a brother on the streets of Compton doing a lot of things most people look down on but it did pay off. Then we started rapping about real stuff that shook up the LAPD and the FBI. But we got our message across big time, and everyone in America started paying attention to the boys in the hood.
Ruthless Records would present Dr. Dre to a national audience, as well as Ice Cube. Their method: Gangsta Rap. It would be the harsh lyrics and gritty portrayal of the gang activity, crime, racial discrimination, police brutality, and day-to-day life in a predominately black area during the Reagan/Crack-era that would solidify not only the record company but the groups and acts associated as hip-hop royalty.
In nine short years after, 1995 to be exact, the creation of Ruthless Records, the world would lose Eric “Eazy-E” Wright to complications from AIDS.
-Jamaal Fisher (@jamaalfisher)