To me, he was my father, he was Eric – daddy Eric. To everybody else, he was Eazy-E.
– Yung Eazy
The movie Straight Outta Compton took the world by storm and introduced a whole new generation of kids to the world’s most dangerous group, NWA. For all of the minute details the film captured, it did seem to skim over the most obvious details of Eazy-E’s personal life, and the post-NWA success of Ruthless Records. For starters, the label had many other artists, most notably the platinum-selling JJ Fad, Michel’le, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. As well, Eazy was a proud father. In fact, his eldest son Lil’ Eazy was born in 1984 – how did that never come up in the film?
We recently had a chance to chat with Eazy’s 3rd son Marquise Wright, aka Yung Eazy. Many of you readers may have learned about him recently. He made inter-web noise with a controversial Instagram post suggesting that Suge Knight was behind the death of his father [a sentiment shared by many close to him]. He’s been making music for a long time and is currently prepping the release of his first official EP release in advance of his inevitable album. We discussed our thought about the record-breaking biopic, his father’s legacy, and his career.
Check out our discussion below.
So I’m assuming you saw the movie Straight Outta Compton…
Yeah yeah, I’ve seen it a few times.
What did you think of it? What was your first impression of the movie?
I mean… Before I start with the film, let me say… I saw the work they into this film. I had the chance actually to meet few of the actors. I kind of (personally) knew Jason Mitchell a little bit beforehand– and then I had the opportunity to meet Neil. We had our audition for the movie the same day, which he was auditioning for Yella. When it first came out I was surprised how hard it hit, and how big of a box-office seller it was. I don’t know what to expect, but I knew it was going to be dope. It blew my mind when I did get to sit down and watch the movie. I got to see it a little bit before it came out in theaters, at a private screening/red carpet event.
Do you think, maybe compared to the some of the other characters, that they didn’t delve deep enough into your father?
I mean, I’m going to think that way. My dad had a long storyline, throughout NWA – and aside from it when they split. The movie was supposed to be focusing on NWA as a group. I felt, like they did focus a little bit more on Dr. Dre and what he was doing in his side ventures and Ice Cube’s side ventures and so forth. They could’ve added a little bit more in regards to my dad and to what he was doing aside from the group split because he was still very much successful. You know, aside from NWA, Ruthless Records still had a bunch of gold (and platinum) selling artists like Michel’le, Kokane, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and so forth. So I felt like they could have added a little bit more to the storyline than what they did. Once they split, they made it seem like everything went downhill for him, and then he started to get sick and so forth so. It could have played a little differently but like I said it was a good film.
If you take a look at the billboard charts right, like this week, NWA’s Straight Outta Compton was at number four – and Eazy Duz It was at number forty-two. There is a whole new legion of people that are just learning about NWA. So I just think it was kind of interesting that they chose to leave so much of his legacy out. You know, there’s this one scene where he’s driving, and he was looking up at a billboard of the Chronic, and it’s this weird emotional scene. It almost negates the fact that he’d actually moved on and had a successful solo career.
Yeah, if I can elaborate on that a little bit, I found that scene a little bit funny. Like you said – If you were born after the mid 90’s, you don’t know what was going on. I was talking to a kid the other day about my father’s death, and he was like, “Eazy slept with all of these women…” And I was like, wait how old are you? Thirteen? Like, you were born after 2000, you know what I’m saying? I know for a fact that they portrayed him with a different attitude and different demeanor. I don’t know for a fact that he wanted to get the group gets back together but, you know, as far as that sentimental tearing up stuff… You’ve got to think, you’re talking about Eric Lynn Wright, Eazy-E, a gangster from the street. You think that he is going to be teared up at the fact that someone had left the group? You’ve got to think about it, when he was looking at Dr. Dre’s Chronic album, he was still making money off of everything Dr. Dre was putting out at that time. So, why would he be sad that he is making money from Dr. Dre? If anything he should be driving with a smile on his face!
People think of me as Eazy-E’s son, they typically think I’m going to try to bring that gangster music or that whole west coast thing; but in reality, I keep it more versatile.
They made like everyone was winning, but your dad was just starving to get back to the way it was.
Yeah, you know, they make it seem like he wasn’t anything without the group, and we all know that there’s no truth to that. It was beneficial for all of them, and the world wanted to see NWA reunited again. Who would’ve not wanted to see that happen? The world’s most dangerous group!
I mean, again, it is Hollywood right, so you know what I’m saying? They should have shown more, though… Like with Bone Thugs. I mean one of the highest selling rap groups of all time right? The only mention was when Yella leaves a tape for your father when he’s in the hospital.
Yeah, that’s the only evidence that you see of the Bone Thugs, I’m glad you realized that! I thought I was the only one who had seen that… But when Dre left the group, they made sure that they showed Snoop Dogg and Tupac and so on and so forth… And anybody who is related to the ruthless side of the family, they only mentioned them. They mention Bone Thugs-n-Harmony; however, they didn’t have anybody actually in the film to portray those characters as if they were unimportant you know what I’m saying? But in reality, Bone Thugs is one of the biggest rap groups of all time – and are still doing their thing. They showed even showed the Lynch Mob.
They didn’t make a big deal about Lynch Mob being there. It was tiny but it was there, there was some presence, you know? J.J Fad was another huge Ruthless group left out of the film.
Yeah, It was almost like some people were completely erased out of history. They were big back in the 80’s. You got to think about that; you can’t wipe them out from someone’s timeline, just because you felt like they aren’t important.
So let’s jump cues a little bit, let’s talk about your music and on what you’re doing… what you are working on right now.
Yeah man, well right now I’m working on my EP. This is one of my first actual official projects. I dropped a whole bunch of mixtapes just to get my name out there onto the streets, but it’s that time to have that appetizer before the main course. I’m talking about six to eight tracks – and I’m going to follow it up with an album after. I just finished up my first single for that, and I’m shooting a music video. It’s just exciting man; it’s an interesting project. People think of me as Eazy-E’s son, they typically think I’m going to try to bring that gangster music or that whole west coast thing; but in reality, I keep it more versatile. I talk about a lot of stuff that’s going on in my life and personal experiences as opposed to portraying this lifestyle that I don’t live or glamorizing something that I’m not. So I’m trying to keep it as real as possible, and just really give people an understanding of who I am, while at the same time, still carrying that legacy that my pops left behind.
I had an interview a while ago with Chris Rivers. He was saying that he had to fight through a lot of misconceptions about his background, and what he should rap about based on the fact that his dad is Big Pun. Do you find like people have a lot of misconceptions about you as an artist?
I always get that you know. I always get that comparison, and I even get that with my brothers. I got my brother Lil E and another one of my brothers who raps, and you know, people are always going to expect me to be doing the same thing that they did. I’m taking a completely different route; I’m sort trying to step outside of that shadow. People need actually to hear my music, and then they’ll be able to differentiate. They’ll be able to see that I’m trying to make my name; but at the same time, I’m embracing my background. I think that’s one of the biggest things right there that you got to deal with, especially when you have a father that is so iconic, you know what I mean?
Do you have any memories of your father?
My Pops, he passed away when I was five years old. So I was of age, I was able to remember the things that we did. I remember him coming over to my house out here in West Covina – and visiting my Mom and I. I remember the neighbours in the neighbourhood all flocked and were trying to take pictures and get autographs. It was just crazy you know; you got Eazy-E coming down here to visit his son and his mother. It was just so unexpected, people never really expect that you know. I remember him taking me to Chuck E Cheese and Taking Me to Toys R Us to buy me toys. I still have one of the toys that he got me when I was four years old. It was a white remote control car. I still have that in storage right now in a little box. I remember when we’d go out, it would be the same thing, it was always just crazy you know. To me, he was my father, he was Eric – daddy Eric. To everybody else, he was Eazy-E. I remember those times when we’d be going to the mall, and people would be over there like “Oh my god I see Eazy-E.” I didn’t understand, I’m seeing my dad on TV here and there, but I really couldn’t understand how big he was. I didn’t know what was going on because I was so young.
“I guess what I want people to understand, is that whether my father was Eazy-E or my dad was the mail carrier, I would still make music.”
– Yung Eazy
Your mom did not want you to get into this music business – what was her concern?
Well, you know… I grew up in a really religious household. My family were Jehova’s Witnesses, so they were really against and opposed to me being in that limelight, and making that choice of career as far as me being a music artist and stuff like that. She just tried to take me in a different direction. We are religious; we don’t celebrate any holidays, birthdays nothing like that. I feel like that had played a big part in it. As far as dad’s music – of course – I couldn’t listen to that at a young age. You have to think about that explicit content and material, you know, imagine me ten years old listening to the Straight Outta Compton or Fuck The Police. So, she steered me in a different direction. It wasn’t like until I got older that I listened to my dad’s music. I had to hide it… I’d have it downloaded to my iPod or hidden on CDs. When I was older, I was able to grasp and listen to it and understand where my dad was coming from in his music. But, my influence came from a whole variety of genres, from rock and roll to RnB, rap, hip-hop – everything.
What was the first song from you father’s that you heard? Do you remember?
Man, the first song that I heard from my dad… I believe it was “cruising down the streets in my 64…” [Boyz N The Hood] that was the first song that I remember hearing from my dad. I remember when I heard it, I knew that he was him, I was like “hey, that’s my dad right there.” In 93’ when they had they whole beef with Dr. Dre and Ice Cube and my dad dropped Real Muthafuckin G’s, that was really big too. I remember there were times I would be outside in the street, riding a little skateboard and or playing ball with my uncles and they’d be bumping that song. They’d be like “this is your daddy right here nephew, this is your daddy.” I remember those times very, very clearly.
What do you want that people to know about you as an artist?
I guess what I want people to understand, is that whether my father was Eazy-E or my dad was the mail carrier, I would still make music. It’s something that I’ve always loved to do. I don’t feel like my dad had a big influence on my choice of being an artist; you know what I mean? Because like I said, my biggest issue right now is people comparing me to my dad and thinking I’m going to try to be like my dad. I don’t want that to be, the way that I’m perceived. I want people to be able to understand that I’m different. I’m trying to make music that people can relate to – and I want people to recognize that I’m very real and lyrical. You know when you hear my music, you hear the difference, you see the difference. The biggest thing that I would want people to understand that this is my passion. Music is more than a dream to me; this is what I want to do, and I’m always going to do it no matter what.