Lil Eazy-E got up early on Friday morning (March 26). The day started with him comforting his grandmother, and all day, he talked about his namesake, his father his father Eric "Eazy-E" Wright, who died 15 years ago from AIDS complications. Lil Eazy knew Eazy-E just as Dad, but he shared his pops with the world.
Eazy was a marketing and record-label genius. He pioneered gangsta rap, and his ear for talent spoke for itself. Besides founding N.W.A and discovering Bone Thugz-n-Harmony, Eazy Sr. put a lot of other viable acts and influenced countless others.
"It was big," Lil Eazy said of his dad's influence. "A lot of producers he gave inspiration to. Dr Dre's a big thing. Eminem's a big thing. 50 Cent's a big thing. If you didn't have my father, you wouldn't have none of them. Other rappers, if my father didn't invent Ruthless Records and N.W.A, you wouldn't have that line. Ice Cube, MC Ren, Dr. Dre. Dr. Dre, therefore Death Row. Death Row was started before any breakup was going on. They'll get the truth one day on a nice big screen. He had a lot of artists outside the genre of rap. J.J. Fad, Michel'le, Will.I.Am, he was even working with my father. My father found him. A lot of big things.
"His loyal fans give him that credit, but he's the godfather of gangsta rap. One thing he doesn't get a lot is the big respect for hip-hop. Eazy-E is a big, big part of hip-hop."
Although Lil Eazy obviously still misses his dad, the anniversary of his death has become easier to cope with over the years.
"As I got older, it was more of a celebration," he said about March 26. "I got a lot of strength through support of people. I'm the oldest son, so you gotta be there. Just like this morning, my grandmother had it kinda hard. I don't know if it's because it's 15. Today, I knew she had it hard. I can't let the morning hit me too hard. Usually, every year, I do a little radio tribute, me and Julio G. It gives a little inspiration. The fans give love and support. It lightens me up. But on my personal tip, it's not a good day. It's not."
Lil Eazy said he'd love to have a biopic on his dad, as he still rides with many of his pop's CDs in his car. When asked about the fond memories, his smile shone bright.
"People don't understand, he was a father," Lil Eazy said. "My grandmother, I was raised by her. Weekends, I got picked up by my father. He picked up all his kids. My father had a lot of kids. Everything was jokes. We'd be over at Grandma's. He took us on Disneyland trips. That's when you realize you're really somebody. All these [other fan] kids? We're supposed to be having time with daddy. All these kids and all these families wanna take pictures. He bought me anything I wanted. He was a great daddy. He had a lot of time for us."
Eazy said it was around 5 or 6 years old that he discovered his pops was unlike other dads. Around 8, he sat down with his dad for the first time and gave an opinion on music. Lil Eazy held back tears when talking about the last memories he has of his dad.
"My last one was about when he first went into surgery for leakage in his lungs," Lil Eazy said. "He went to the hospital. We was chillin', talking, not understanding he was sick. He was like how he is every other day, eating a hamburger. You're not supposed to, but you're eating a hamburger. We was chillin' in Cedars Sinai. That was the last fondest, good memory. Then I was called in a couple of days before he passed away, and he couldn't talk. I just walked in, and they let me see him. He couldn't say nothing. I just cried. As a kid, I couldn't understand it, why he couldn't say nothing to me. He's squeezing my hand as I exited from the room."
Eazy-E died on March 26, 1995, due to complication from the AIDS virus. Lil Eazy-E said he continues to promote awareness of the disease as well as to help find a cure.
How has Eazy-E's music impacted your life? Share your memories in the comments section below.