Eric Lynn Wright (September 7, 1963 – March 26, 1995), better known by his stage name Eazy-E, was an American rapper who performed solo and in the hip hop group N.W.A. Wright is affectionately called "The Godfather of Gangsta Rap". He was born to Richard and Kathie Wright in Compton, California. After dropping out of high school in the tenth grade, he supported himself primarily by selling drugs before investing in Ruthless Records and becoming a rapper. When Ruthless artist Ice Cube wrote "Boyz-n-the-Hood", Dr. Dre, Cube, and Eazy formed N.W.A. After DJ Yella, MC Ren, and Arabian Prince joined the group, N.W.A released N.W.A. and the Posse. In 1988, they released their most controversial album, Straight Outta Compton. The group released two more albums and then disbanded after Eazy released Dr. Dre from his contract.
Eazy-E's debut album, Eazy-Duz-It, was released on September 16, 1988, and featured twelve tracks. It was labeled as West Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap, and Golden age hip hop. It has sold over 2.5 million copies in the United States and reached number forty-one on the Billboard 200. The album was produced by Dr. Dre and DJ Yella and largely written by MC Ren, Ice Cube, The D.O.C. Both Glen Boyd from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and MTV's Jon Wiederhorn claimed that Eazy-Duz-It "paved the way" for N.W.A's most controversial album, Straight Outta Compton. Wright's only solo in the album was a remix of the song "8 Ball", which originally appeared on N.W.A and the Posse. The album featured Wright's writing and performing; he performed on eight songs and helped write four songs.
After the release of Straight Outta Compton, Ice Cube left due to internal disputes, and the group continued as a four-piece ensemble. N.W.A released 100 Miles and Runnin' and Niggaz4Life in 1991. A diss war started between N.W.A and Ice Cube when "100 Miles and Runnin'" and "Real Niggaz" were released. Ice Cube responded with "No Vaseline" on Death Certificate. Wright performed on seven of the eighteen songs on Niggaz4Life. The feud with Dr. Dre continued after a track on Dre's The Chronic contained lyrics that insulted Eazy-E. Eazy responded with the EP It's On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa, featuring the tracks "Real Muthaphuckkin G's" and "It's On". The album, which was released on October 25, 1993, contains pictures of Dre wearing "lacy outfits and makeup" when he was a member of the Electro-hop World Class Wreckin' Cru.
On February 24, 1995, Eazy-E was admitted to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles with what he believed to be asthma. Instead he was diagnosed with AIDS. He announced his illness in a public statement on March 16. Eazy's sexual activity began at the age of twelve and resulted in not only a fatal disease, but seven children with six different women. He died due to "complications from AIDS" one month after his diagnosis, on March 26, 1995, at approximately 6:35 PM (Pacific time). He was 31 years old. During the week of March 20, having already made amends with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Eazy-E drafted his last message to fans. One week after the release of that message, Eazy succumbed to the disease. Eazy was buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California. In November 1995, eight months after Eazy-E's death, his final album, Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton was released. Since his 1995 death, many book and video biographies were produced, including 2002's The Day Eazy-E Died and Dead and Gone.