Today marks what would have been hip-hop legend, Eazy-E’s 53rd birthday. One of the greatest Visionaries, entrepreneur and businessmen in hip hop history. He is affectionately called “The Godfather of Gangsta rap”. Founder of the groundbreaking group, NWA.

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Rapper Eazy-E was born Eric Wright on September 7, 1963, in Compton, California, a city in Los Angeles County. He dropped out of high school and supported himself hustling and drug dealing, using his income to co-found a label, Ruthless Records. He teamed up with two other youngsters from the region, O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson and Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, who started crafting songs for Wright’s label.

After another Ruthless group opted not to record a song by Jackson and Young, Wright joined with the two men to record “Boyz-n-the-Hood” as Niggaz With Attitude, also known as N.W.A.

With other rap artists such as DJ Yella, MC Ren, and the D.O.C. joining the act, the group released its debut album, N.W.A. and the Posse, in 1987, dropping its next album, Straight Outta Compton, the following year. The disc, which went on to earn double-platinum sales, also contained the track “F— tha Police,” spurring the FBI to send a cautionary letter to the company that housed Wright’s label.

Eazy-E released his solo album Eazy-Duz-It the same year, which was in fact another collaborative effort between various members of N.W.A. with Eazy serving as the main performer. After Ice Cube left the group in 1989, N.W.A. released the EP 100 Miles and Runnin’ in 1990 and the full-length Efil4zaggin the following year, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts.

N.W.A. broke up in the early ’90s, with Eazy and Dr. Dre embroiled in litigious disputes that also saw the two attacking each other in their respective work. Eazy, a consummate businessman who commented on how rap controversy could be used to spur album sales, continued running Ruthless Records, discovering acts like Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. In 1992, he released his own solo EP, 5150 Home 4 tha Sick; another EP was released the following year.

In 1995, after Eazy was hospitalized for severe respiratory issues, it was learned that the rapper had contracted AIDS. He soon revealed his condition to the public and, weeks after his diagnosis, would die from complications related to the disease on March 26, 1995, at age 31. Alot of people believe Easy-E was murdered:

Happy Birthday in Heaven Easy!