Eazy-E Tribute: Tomica Wright, A Gangsta & a Gentleman

Eric “Eazy-E” Wright had a multitude of fans that respected him as a rapper and for his business acumen. However, in the eyes of his No. 1 supporters—his wife and children— none of his roles was more important than that of a family man.

As an artist, Eazy is often remembered as a gangster rap pioneer but in his personal life, he was funny, loving, quirky and a motivating force in the lives of those who knew him best.

On the 15th anniversary of the rap icon’s passing, XXLMag.com caught up with Eazy’s widow, Tomica Wright, who has taken up the helm of Ruthless Records since her husband’s passing. Here she explains how she’s constantly working to keep Eazy’s legacy alive, while providing a rare glimpse into the heart of Eric Wright.

XXLMag.com: What’s one of your earliest memories of Eazy?

Tomica Wright: I remember being on our first date and driving. He had a sunroof and I asked him why he wouldn’t open the sunroof and I went to go open it and he got scared [Laughs]. He was like, “Don’t open it because something is gonna fall in.” He got scared and swerved over. I thought it was funny because it’s like, why get a car with a sunroof if you’re scared of it? That let me know that [he was] human. You look at a person from a different perspective and those little nuances is what brings you close to an individual to see that they have fears, insecurities, strong points and weaknesses.

XXLMag.com: What are some things that you miss most about him?

Tomica Wright: His laughter, the genuineness, his smile, the friendship and that person that you have that you can talk to who genuinely cares whether you’re happy, or sad or whatever—the friendship mostly.

XXLMag.com: Eazy was such a trailblazer for not just hip-hop but the music industry in general. What do you think he would be doing career-wise if he were still alive today?

Tomica Wright: Artist-wise, I think that once a person has it in them, it’s something they don’t let go. I think he’d probably be making the same contribution that some of the other older legends and icons and people that are in this industry who have sustained the test of time have done by contributing, whether it’s a verse here or there… I don’t know if he would have solo project after solo project [but] I think he definitely was a person who sought out other talent and saw things before their time.

I believe he definitely would have done film, merchandising, television—all sorts of things and due to the short demise some things didn’t happen in that time but a lot was accomplished and many doors have opened that allowed opportunities for other people and an example to go off of. So I think he would be doing the same thing he did in the beginning, which is hustling and going against the grain and making his mark even larger than what it is today.

XXLMag.com: In your eyes, who was Eric Wright?

Tomica Wright: He was a lot to a lot of people⎯a mentor, a father, a son, a friend, a fellow band member, an artist. [He was] many, many things and definitely opened doors and deserved a lot of credit but he was very humble at the same time. He worked hard for all he had and learned a lot along the way. Anybody who ever had the opportunity to cross his path had the opportunity to deal with a person who was down-to-Earth, straightforward but had a lot to offer…

He’s missed but his spirit is here. With everybody comes good, bad, ugly and beautiful. He was a real person and he’s truly missed in this era, especially with how music has transitioned. I think he would have had a lot more to be able to contribute; give guidance to a lot of the younger peers and people that are coming up.

XXLMag.com: What were some of the most important lessons you learned from him?

Tomica Wright: What you put into something is what you get out. It doesn’t matter if you’re going against the grain as long as you’re holding strong to that drive, dream plan or whatever it is, there’s going to be an outcome. The other biggest thing I’ve learned from him is there’s not anything you can’t achieve but you have to put forth the effort. No one’s going to give it to you; you have to pave your own way.

XXLMag.com: How are you helping to keep Eazy’s legacy alive?

Tomica Wright: By keeping things that are part of him viable and secure to where they place and have a value in the industry⎯not in just the music side but in other forms that have branched out that he may not have had the ability based on the short demise to be able to accomplish. I’m educating people more about him as a person, an artist, a businessman, an entrepreneur and some of the philosophies and the ideas and accomplishments he achieved. Not just being a gangster rapper, not just dying of AIDS, but really what his contribution was to this genre of music. —Starrene Rhett

  • http://xxlmag.com BZ

    RIP EAZY MUTHAPHUKIN E!!

  • MR. UNDI$PUTED THE MOGUL

    RIP to EAZY – E!!!! I can’t believe it’s been that long. To all the people that hated on the man just know this. If he hadn’t put his money where his mouth & mind was,where would alot of today’s artists be at. If you’ve ever looked at all the artists that come from the Ruthless tree on down, look what they’ve accompolished. From NWA down to 50 Cent.

    Peace & Get Money!!!
    Mogul $$$ Game ‘10!!

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  • DJ ALL DAY

    BIG BIG BIG R.I.P. 2 EAZY-E WE LOVE U AND MISS U SOLDIER AND WE KNOW U LOOKIN DOWN ON US REAL THUGZ AND G’Z KEEPIN UR LEGACY GOING STRONG FUCK ALL THESE FAKE ASS INDUSTRY CATS WHO USED UR TALENT 2 GET 2 A HIGHER PLATEAU….ONCE AGAIN R.I.P EAZY-E

  • http://pimpinpens.blogspot.com enzo

    i like the story of Eazy being afraid to open his sunroof. that little quirk really gives you a glimpse into what kind of dude he was. a character. rip kid

  • Joe Morgan jr.

    Eazy was a ok rapper. It’s pretty common knowledge that others wrote his lyrics. As a visonary in the music buisnness is were he truly shined. They haven’t made another one like him yet. The methods that he pioneered are still succesfully used today. Many old school rappers owe there carrer to Eazy putting them on. And many new school rappers can trace back there success to Eazy, even though they never met the man. Dre brought us Em and 50. Ice Cube succesfully made it into the movies brining us Chris Tucker and gangster rappers in DISNEY movies. And Eazy was much bigger than just gangster rap. Black Eyed Peas are still sellinig records like a muther fu%ker. Eazy had a gift in finding rare talent and knowing how to get them to the masses. Eazy changed the course of history and many peoples lives forever. May he rest and peace and his family be blessed.

    • Gangsta Windex

      I HATE WHEN PEOPLE GET IT TWISTED. IN THE BEGINNING, YES PEOPLE WROTE HIS LYRICS FOR HIM BECAUSE HE WAS A DRUG DEALER, NOT A RAPPER. BUT AS TIME MOVED FOWARD AND NWA BROKE UP, EAZY E WROTE HIS OWN LYRICS, THUS MAKING HIM A TRUE RAPPER, IN THE BEGINNING HE HAD TO BE TAUGHT HOW TO RAP BUT AS FAR AS THE BUSINESS SIDE OF IT, HE MASTER MINDED THAT ALL ON HIS OWN.

  • Jon Dog

    ^^^Co Sign^^^

    Not to mention Bone Thugs ‘n’ Harmony

    • Joe Morgan jr.

      Bone Thugs is a perfect example of Eazy’s contribution to the music world. Eazy could spot that these kids from the streets of Cleavland would be INTERNATIONALY loved. I’m a West Coast cat and when Bone first dropped it didn’t matter what hood you were in Black ,White, Mexican, Samoan, Filipino and everybody else was bumping the sh!t out of it. You could hear it out the apartment and car windows. When I hear Bone’s “Cross Roads” joint it stops me in my tracks. My mind is transported to another time and another place,and I vividly remember and sadly mourn my homeboys that didn’t get to see what I have. Eazy could feel Bones power to create strong, emotional and heartfelt music that can stand the test of time. It makes me wonder what music the world missed out on due to Eazy’s death at a young age. R.I.P to everyone’s loved ones.

  • easyenigga

    They got this new thing right, this new thing in jail its where they take a syringe, fill it up with blood with aids and shoot it into someone. They call that an Easy E!

  • Anonymous

    my Nigga’s “Project Mayhem” just did a Boyz in the Hood 2010 remix….Easy E, what would Hip Hop be today with his vision!

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    • http://gmail shadowmar hunter

      io would like to star in this movieLOL!

    • Anonymous

      hes the heart of my life(so sexy dont like trey songz or any rapper but him i would really love to write his wife a letter

  • http://gmail.com shadowmarhunter

    i got to say he is a funny guy i woului be afraid also if something falled in my car RI EAZYE I WILL ALWAYS LOVE LOVE LOVE U!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://gmail shasdowmarhunter

    i would love to get in touch with his widow rip eazye maybe i can write her a letter her husband is the most sexiest!!!!!!!!

  • Daniel

    Tomica is dumb as hell, losing great rappers like Hopsin… dumb bitch

  • shenna raye

    forever in the memory, and never forgotten- rip EazyE. Ur wife seems nice and keep doin ya thang women, u is mrs. wright. much luv n peace.

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  • megan

    Eazy-E is in my heart, fo real.
    me and my brothers grew up with his music and he was the realest out there.

    Eazy-E 4 life.
    R.I.P

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  • omgruserious

    RIP Eazy will never forget you
    @Tomica thanks for all the info about Eazy it’s really nice to hear all these things about who he was.

  • Marquita

    4th question. They said through YOUR eyes, not everyone elses eyes. Ya dummy!

  • mistermario100

    Alot of people don’t know what tomika had to deal with after Eazy-E death with lawsuits, threatening phone calls, extortion, That Jew Devil Jerry Heller, and paying off Eazy’s Debts, as well as, tracing money and songs people stold from the company as well as, trying to keep a hit group like Bone Thugs together. That’s alot to deal with. Its August 2013 and I think the best is yet to come for Tomika in keeping Eazy-E, Ruthless Records and the Groundbreaking and World’s Most Dangerous Group alive, NWA. She has alot of hidden power she hasn’t tapped into yet. Much Luv Tomika and thanks from all of Eazy’s fans for that interview.