Plies has long been called a rebel of the music industry, to the extent that some say he embodies the same radical spirit as the members of N.W.A. On Friday (March 26), the 15th anniversary of the death of N.W.A founder Eric "Eazy-E" Wright, Plies and his brother Big Gates reflected on Eazy's impact.
During a visit to MTV News' offices on Friday, Plies said Eazy and N.W.A's music resonates no matter where you're from. "Being Florida based, where we've resided all our life, I look at Florida as the gutter landmark," Plies said. "I feel that it don't work in Florida if it ain't gutta. To see a West Coast group and West Coast artist being embraced in Florida, and on a national level, for me, it's simple. Coming from the conditions we come from and having anybody represent what you represent and see them win on a national level, it allowed me to understand that I had a chance in music if it was what I chose to do.
"I had a chance to accomplish that and do it from a principle-driven way," he continued. "[Gates and I] say that all the time as brothers and as a company, our principles are non-negotiable. It's a lot of things we stand for that the business don't understand right now. We agree that it's more personal in this business than it is business. At the end of the day, you gotta stand for what you're trying to represent and reflect. I feel Eazy-E and N.W.A did a helluva job in doing that. I don't feel like we're carrying the torch, I feel like we're trying to stand behind what we're trying to stand behind. If that's a way we can be come successful in selling records, cool. If it ain't, we can look at each other and know we came into the game with our principles and we're gonna leave the game with our principles."
"I was just listening to an Eazy-E record," Gates said with a grin. "They started, really, what we're doing. We looked at them. Even now, we look at them as a influence of what we do. N.W.A speaks for itself. I'm sure you know what it means: N---as With Attitude. You listen to my brother's music, you see what we representing. I just got out of prison. It's kinda simple, what we stand for: That's really what Easy-E brought to the table. He told America, 'I can say what I wanna say. Speak my mind. Freedom of speech. Regardless of how you feel, what you think I should say, what you think I should wear, I'mma do me.' I came from a different struggle versus [people in] corporate America. Eazy spoke for me, so I try to make sure me and my brother speak for the people from where we came from."
Check out what the Game and other West Coast rappers had to say about Eazy-E on the 15th anniversary of his death.