Eazy's death offers lesson

By Jason Fierstein

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Toward the end of my seventh grade year, a fellow wanna-be rapper in my homeroom class, Chris Larson, provided the vehicle for what would later provoke my obsession with rap music. Chris offered me a copy of Eazy-Duz-It, then the newest album by a gangsta street rapper from Compton, Calif., named Eric "Eazy-E" Wright.

The tracks were straight dope. The beats, the sexual colloquialisms, and the black street fighter mentality wowed us as no other rapper had in the past. Junior high fashion began transforming from Gotcha and Quicksilver-brand surf gear to any shirt or hat sporting the L.A. Raiders, Kings or Dodgers logo.

Eazy-E was quickly propelled into the limelight and was praised by white, middle-American teens for reasons even we didn't understand. Could we relate to the black militancy of South Central Los Angeles? Did we have any clue as to why they rapped about what they did? Did their lyrics make any sense whatsoever?

No, but we loved Eazy. Eazy and the boys from the now-defunct Niggaz Wit Attitudes, or N.W.A., (Dr. Dre, MC Ren, Yella and Ice Cube) lay framework for what would become a new era of rap music led by Dre's The Chronic album and pot-revival subculture, Death Row Records, Snoop Doggy Dogg and the Dogg Pound.

News of Easy-E's hospitalization and subsequent death from AIDS complications struck me with mixed emotions. As a junior high hero, Eazy provided me with audio porn delight and brazen Compton storytelling. As a person, Eazy seemed to be an obnoxious and promiscuous womanizer. Dr. Dre so accurately dubbed the marketing machine/rapper "Sleazy-E" in his "Dre Day" video.

It comes as no surprise to hear Eazy-E was stricken with the AIDS virus. It seemed inevitable. But, as a result, hopefully rap trends will shy away from the "bitches and hos" mentality and morph into songs with real lyrics and real creativity. There was nothing original about creating 5,000 new ways to say one had slept with a woman.

I hope the HIV virus will wake up the rap community and make even those rappers who can't keep their penises in their baggy pants think twice. Maybe it's a double whammy: creativity gets better and AIDS awareness will eliminate much of the promiscuity element from rap tracks.

What will hopefully matter is that impressionable kids who used to buy Eazy's music will start to change their attitudes towards women and see them less as sexual tools or pieces of meat. The makings of a hip-hop sub-revolution are definitely in the makings as a result of the news shocker.

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