Born: September 7, 1964, Compton, Los Angeles, CA
Died: March 26, 1995, Los Angeles, CA
Eazy-E was an American gangsta rapper/producer. Born and raised in Compton, he dealt drugs for a living after dropping out of high school. In the mid-1980s he founded a rap record company, Ruthless Records, with profits from his drug dealing, recruiting emerging rap talents such as Dr. Dre, HBO and Ice Cube.
In 1986, Eazy-E began a rap career by forming Niggaz Wit Attitudes (known as N.W.A.) with Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, DJ Yella, The Arabian Prince, and The D.O.C. (MC Ren joined in 1987.) Over the next few years N.W.A. became the most notorious group in rap, penning vulgar rhymes which celebrated urban violence, denigrated women and advocated killing police officers. Eazy-E was an instrumental member of the group, his high-pitched whiny voice becoming a trademark of the group, now considered the progenitors of the "gangsta rap" genre.
When N.W.A. split up in 1991, Eazy-E went on to a high-profile full-time solo career, though he had actually released his solo debut, Eazy-Duz-It, in 1988, while still in N.W.A. Most of his solo raps covered the same group as N.W.A., though a prominent feud with Dr. Dre also inspired many anti-Dre rhymes. Eazy-E also continued running Ruthless Records, producing new artists, and making frequent guest appearances on other rappers' albums. He died of AIDS in March 1995, one month after first being diagnosed with the disease.