Eric "Eazy-E" Wright's become known as the architect who build the foundation for Gangsta Rap and West Coast dominance in the '90s. But in the 16 years since his passing, his impact has reached a much broader scope. Some of hip-hop's biggest names can all be traced back to Eazy. On the anniversary of Eazy's death, XXL takes a look at some of the artists the West Coast legend has influenced. R.I.P.
N.W.A.:Eazy founded the world's most dangerous group, N.W.A. in 1986. Comprised of Eazy, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella, the group released two platinum LPs.
Dr. Dre: The good doctor left N.W.A in '91 to become arguably the most influential producer in hip-hop history. Dre formed Death Row with Suge Knight in '92 where he birthed the careers of superstar Snoop Dogg, Dogg Pound, Lady of Rage, Nate Dogg and others. He left Death Row in '95 and formed Aftermath a year later. Since then, he's birthed more mega stars like Eminem, 50 Cent and The Game. Though Dre and Eazy feuded for a few years, they reconciled before his death. Dre visits E's grave in his latest video, "I Need a Doctor."
Ice Cube: Cube was the first member of N.W.A. to leave the nest. Since then he's gone on to release seven platinum and gold LPs and become a major Hollywood player. Though he and Eazy were at odds at the time of his death, Cube always pays homage to the man who gave him his shot.
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony: Bone kept the lights on at Ruthless Records post the N.W.A. era. They released six records with the label, four of which earned multiplatinum certifications. "Tha Crossroads," a song dedicated to Eazy, reached No.1 on Billboard 100 and won a Grammy.
BEP's international pop sound may be a far cry from Eazy's gangsta soundscapes, but the group's frontman, will.i.am, signed to Eazy's Ruthless records under the moniker Will-1X in the early '90s.
Lil Eazy: Bearing a striking resemblance to his father, Lil Eazy has been contributing to his pop's musical legacy for years now. He was previously signed to Virgin Records and is now inked to Universal.
Snoop Dogg: Big Snoop was signed to Dre's Death Row Records in the '90s. He even jumped into Dre's feud with Eazy-E and dissed him on The Arsenio Hall Show. These days he gives Eazy his just due whenever he gets a chance.
Warren G: Though he was never linked to Dre, contractually, Warren G was always in the fold. As a West Coast MC, he's taking cues from what Eazy's built.
Nate Dogg: The hook man extraordinaire was signed to Death Row Records in the '90s. He's connected to Eazy through Dr. Dre.
Tupac Shakur: 'Pac was signed to Dre's Death Row label, which was founder when the producer left N.W.A.
WC: WC is connected to Eazy-E through Ice Cube. He was part of Westside Connection.
Game: This West Coast MC has name-dropped Eazy on countless songs. He even has a tattoo of Eazy. Game is connected to Eazy through Dr. Dre.
The D.O.C.: The D.O.C. was signed to Ruthless Records. His debut, No One Can Do It Better went platinum and is heralded as a hip-hop classic.
Michel'le: This R&B vocalist was signed to Ruthless Records.
Mack 10: Mack Dime is connected to Eazy through Ice Cube. He was part of Westside Connection with Cube and WC.
Lady of Rage
Kid Frost: The latino MC was signed to Ruthless Records in the '90s.
J.J. Fad: This female trio was signed to Eazy-E's Ruthless Records. Their debut album, Supersonic, went platinum.
Eminem: Slim Shady's signed to Aftermath, which Dre founded after leaving Ruthless Records.
Tha Dogg Pound: This dynamic duo was part of Death Row Records, the label Dre formed after Ruthless.
50 Cent: Fif is one of four superstars Dre's produced since leaving Eazy's Ruthless Records.