While new rap artists highlight this year’s resurgence of West Coast hip-hop, one of the movement’s potential major players has it in his genes. Eric Wright, Jr.’s pops, Eazy-E, founded the ’80s gangsta rap pioneer group N.W.A., which also claimed Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, DJ Yella and MC Ren as members. While the group has since broken up, and the West Coast has been notably less prominent in the rap scene, Eric Jr. has added a simple “Lil” to his father’s name and is ready to make his own mark.
“[Rapping] is something that I was born with, but I got into it two years ago,” Lil Eazy-E says “It’s just an option I made two years ago, and it was a natural talent, so I decided to just go with it.”
The young rapper raised eyebrows last year with a collaboration alongside fellow West Coast Renaissance man, The Game. “I met Game sometime back,” Lil Eazy recalls. “We’d work on little things; I’d fuck with him, he’d come to my hood and fuck with me. At the Beverly Center we ran into Whoo Kid, and we just decided — with the fact that Game was reppin’ my pops like that, and I’m Eazy’s son — why not?”
The chance meeting resulted in the Red Spyda-helmed “My Confession,” which appeared on DJ Whoo Kid’s G-Unit Radio Part 8 mixtape. “It was real cool It was a nice experience, and a good look, I ride with him.”
Since then, the Compton native (and current resident — he lives in the same house his father grew up in) has kept busy. While he’s ankle-deep in a beef with Daz Dillinger after Daz fired snitching accusations his way in an interview with AllHipHop.com (“On my mama, I ain’t never been no snitch, and that’s all I have to say about it,” he retorts), he’d rather focus on the spring release of his Virgin Records debut, which boasts production by A-listers Midi Mafia, Mel Man and Scott Storch, and guest appearances from Snoop, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and Nate Dogg. While sketchy with details, he claims to have outside projects such as endorsements, movies, and involvement with a “Grand Theft Auto type street car video game” on the way as well.
While Lil Eazy admits that his father’s influence has given him experience points, he’s quick to confirm that he has put in work of his own. “I operate the way I operate anyway, but at the same time, I learned a lot,” Lil Eazy claims. “The way that people looked at him, and thought he did artists of his own — how deals are structured and worked around — that’s part of being the boss of your own shit. But at the same time, I operate mine how I operate mine; I’ve got one of the best deals in the West, with a production company with Virgin Records. I just operate the way I do.”
Lil Eazy says he plans on expounding on the legacy left by his father, who reportedly died of AIDS in 1995. “I’m tired of the lack of respect that my father gets in the game,” he fumes. “I’m just going to talk on how people feel he passed away, the type of man he is, and the tribute he gave in this game, because a lot of people took it and ran with it.”
Furthermore, Lil Eazy plans on bringing back the West we all once knew — when N.W.A. was at their peak, and it was all about the attitude they displayed, “That’s my outlook: a mad man, a nigga with an attitude. I’m bringing that whole back-in-the-day feel, the whole West Coast, ’89 feel. That real street shit, that’s what I’m bringing.”