Eazy E: A Straight G Killed By HIV

© Jeffrey Bertrand

To hear him tell it on his records, Eazy E was a ghetto-blasting geyser spewing bullets and semen in every direction. If Eazy wanted to screw in a lightbulb, he could just wrap his dick around it and let the world turn around his balls. And if some studio-gangsta criticized this method, E would pop a cap in that ass.

Eazy E succumbed to AIDS on March 26, 1995 at the age of 31, but his legacy lives on through brutal, bitch-slapping gangsta rap and various microscopic organisms. He was a set-claiming hero for alienated black youth, a jheri-curled Casanova for rap-lovin’ starfuckers, a total embarrassment to African American moral authorities, and for the suburban white community—the musical equivalent of a PCP-laced joint smoked in a highschool bathroom stall. A few days after he passed away, the mayor of Compton, Omar Bradley, officially declared Eazy to be “Compton’s favorite son.” After all, E had made his downtrodden LA suburb a household name.

The story of Eazy E’s rise from a neighborhood Crip to the Godfather of Gansta Rap reads like a paranoid Ku Klux Klan pamphlet: shifty Jewish investors, gun-toting black thugs, a conservative white police state, an American society in perpetual decline.

It all starts with $250,000 of drug money that Eazy had stashed away for a rainy day. After securing the added capital of Jerry Heller—a Jewish entrepreneur from the Valley—Eazy E founded Ruthless Records. Their first endeavor was Niggaz Wit Attitude, featuring Dr. Dre droppin’ phat beatz, Ice Cube weaving blow-ya-mind rhymes, and Eazy E’s whine on the mic. N.W.A.’s first major release came in 1988. Straight Outta Compton blew the doors open for gangsta rap to sweep across America, and the album has sold over two and a half million copies to date.

N.W.A.’s most notorious track, “Fuck tha Police,” was so incendiary that the FBI sent a letter requesting that the label cease distribution immediately. The lyrics are both an indictment of police brutality against minorities, and a bloodthirsty hate anthem with more rhyme than Reason. Ice Cube’s fury struck a chord with black kids slugging it out in American ghettos—and wouldn’t you know it, even sheltered white teenagers were rapping along:

A young nigga on tha war path,
And when I’m finished,
It’s gonna be a bloodbath
Of cops dyin’ in L.A!
Yo, Dre, I got somethin’ ta say…

Fuck tha Po-lice!

According to Dr. Dre, it was Jerry Heller’s management that tore N.W.A.’s brotherhood apart: “[Heller] picked one nigga to take care of instead of taking care of everybody, and that was Eazy.” When Dre tried to leave Ruthless to form Death Row Records with bodyguard-turned-thug-4-life, Suge Knight, he was refused. But Suge doesn’t take “no” for an answer. This is the man who once dangled Vanilla Ice from a 4th-storey balcony by his ankles, and went on to become a suspect in Biggie Smalls’ murder, among other nefarious activities.

After Knight threatened both Jerry Heller and Eazy E’s mother, Heller got the Jewish Defense League involved. The FBI was soon to follow. In the end, Dre was released to Death Row Records in 1991, under the condition that a portion of his profits would go to Heller and Eazy E. The duel was on, to be settled on the mean streets of MTV.

Bolstered by his affiliation with Suge Knight and Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre recorded the track “Fuck Wit Dre Day,” in which he promises to inflict various forms of oral and anal rape upon his former homie, Eazy E, even going so far as to threaten murder. To add insult to, well, insult, Dre also says “Yeeeah” and “Heeell Yeeeah” in a much more manly fashion than the helium-voiced E could possibly muster.

What Eazy E did muster was an entire EP dedicated to calling Dr. Dre out as a “studio-gangsta” and the most despicable of deviants, reviled by gangsta and preacha alike: a “faggot.” One who will be sucking Eazy’z nutz, if Eazy has his way about it.

The album’s title says it all: It’s On  (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa. The sleeve features photographs of Dr. Dre from the early 80s, wearing a lacy white ensemble and what appears to be lipstick and dark foundation. Like many hyper-masculine icons, Dre apparently went through a fruity spell, and Eazy E wasn’t about to let him forget it. The knock-out track, “Real Muthaphukkin G’s,” not only claims that the supposedly gat-packin’ Dr. Dre has never put in true criminal work, he is not even from Compton. Ouch.

And so the feud wore on. Eazy’s EP sold over two million copies. Dre’s The Chronic sold three million. Eazy smoked weed like it was good for him, buzzed from ho to ho like a honeybee on hydraulics, and filled his mansion with ghoulish clown statues and Chucky dolls. Dre advertised weed like the black Marlboro Man, put ho after ho in his videos, and filled various mansions with his chart-topping protégés.

Eazy became reasonably concerned that he might be killed by one of his gangsta rivals, and had even gotten word that his name was on some White Power hit-list. He was constantly ducking into the shadows—where he would find yet another “bitch” to offer her body to his insatiable appetite. Say what you will, at least the man was true to his lyrics.

Eazy E spread the love like Johnny Appleseed chewing a mouthful of Viagra. But as with many earthly delights, this ho-fucking free-for-all would eventually take its toll. Eazy was admitted to the Cedars Sinai Medical Center on February 24, 1995 with a wracking cough.

If there is any hard evidence of Intelligent Design—however malevolent—it has to be the AIDS virus. Its molecular structure is so devious, so simple and yet so effective, it’s no wonder that conspiracy theorists believe the government created HIV in a laboratory to eradicate black people (along with junkies, gay men, and vampires.)

A dirty needle, a torn anus, maybe even a cut mouth kissing a busted lip—the transmission is so pleasure-specific, you’d think the infernal Powers That Be didn’t want us to have too much fun. One drop of bad blood, an infected splat of semen, a swarming vaginal secretion, and that’s it. You’re the walking dead. The little germs devour your white blood cells like microscopic cop-killers. Before long, you can’t shake a chest cold. Most AIDS victims die of pneumonia.

The virus itself is so sleek, you’d think the Germans made it. One glycoprotein-dotted lipid bilayer, two little protein sheaths, and some viral RNA tucked inside with reverse transcriptase enzymes to get the ball rolling. The glycoproteins attach to the T-cell’s membrane, and the viral probe enters the cell’s cytoplasm. The reverse transcriptase copies the RNA into DNA, which is inserted into the cell’s genome—where it waits patiently. Maybe it’s a day. Maybe it’s twenty years.

An HIV brigade making a break from a withering T-cell

When it comes time to rock n’ roll, the little strip of tainted DNA begins cranking out new viral RNA strands. These genetic freeloaders clothe themselves with the T-cell’s own components, then flood out into the bloodstream, looking for fresh white blood cells. When the virus has reproduced beyond the host T-cell’s capacity, the cell collapses. But that’s okay. There are plenty more T-cells where that came from. Until there aren’t. That’s when the whole organism dies. So long as this unfortunate individual had an opportunity to go raw dog one good time, the HIV strain will sally forth to slay the next victim.

Upon learning that his pneumonia was the result of AIDS, Eazy E was faced with a choice. He could die quietly of “natural causes,” or he could go public with the news. He had to know that such a stigmatized disease would provoke vicious rumors—and strike terror in horny groupies from coast to coast—but ten days before he died, Eazy came forward with his final message:

“I may not seem like a guy you would pick to preach a sermon. But I feel it is now time to testify[...]

“I’m not saying this because I’m looking for a soft cushion wherever I’m heading, I just feel that I’ve got thousands and thousands of young fans that have to learn about what’s real when it comes to AIDS. Like the others before me, I would like to turn my own problem into something good that will reach out to all my homeboys and their kin. Because I want to save their asses before it’s too late.

“I’m not looking to blame anyone except myself. I have learned in the last week that this thing is real, and it doesn’t discriminate[...]”

Eazy E had every reason to be concerned. According to statistics compiled by the international charity organization, AVERT, African Americans are afflicted with sexually transmitted diseases in far greater proportions than any other race. The numbers are stunning.

A recent analysis by the CDC found that 48% of black women and 39% of black men suffer from genital herpes in America, compared to 21% of women and 11.5% of men overall. Black Americans have 8 times the levels of chlamydia and 18 times the levels of gonorrhea as compared to whites.

Blacks make up only 13% of the US population, and yet out of the half million Americans who have died from AIDS, nearly 40% were black. Just over a million people are living with HIV in America (1 in 300,) of which about half are black. Blacks comprise over half of all new HIV and AIDS diagnoses in America—which means the problem is growing.

According to a 2005 study by the CDC, nearly half of gay and bisexual black men in five major US cities are HIV positive (Including NYC, San Francisco, and LA.) African Americans also seem to contract HIV through heterosexual sex at much greater rates than other races. Of those living with HIV, 22% of black men contracted the virus through high-risk heterosexual contact (comprising two-thirds of all straight-sex contractions,) and 85% of black women were infected this way. In fact, AIDS is the leading cause of death among young black women ages 24-35.

AVERT cites poverty, poor health care, and unemployment as likely causes of these disproportionate infection rates. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest one more factor: promiscuity. Popular folk wisdom has long alleged that blacks are endowed with stronger libidos than whites, though liberated white folks have been trying to catch up for decades.  The statistics seem to confirm that notion.

Fact: In a completely monogamous (or exclusive polygamous) society, sexually transmitted diseases would have no way to survive. Without mixing and matching genitalia, they could not spread. Alternatively, if condoms were always used—every time—a few germs might pop through, but infections would be reduced to isolated instances. Thus, the campaigns for safe sex and/or total abstinence.

The only problem: Slippery sensations are exponentially dulled by awkward rubber sheaths, and the last American to sleep with just one person was your old Aunt Fanny. Simple as that. We chase the fleeting pleasures of Life in the face of Death—or at least some very nasty sores.

On the day of Eazy E’s funeral, the mayor of Compton declared the occasion “Eazy E Day.” In the year after Eazy’s death, Ruthless Records became the first indie label to outsell the majors. A ghetto martyr was glorified. Despite every lame assertion that art only imitates life, I assert that admirers also imitate artists, oftentimes slavishly. It is an identity feedback loop.

© Brandt Hardin at DREGstudios

One quarter of black LA gang members interviewed by the Minority AIDS Project said they did not care if they got HIV because they were just going to die young, anyway. I’m reminded of Eazy’s tales of valor on “Eazy Duz It”:

Well, I’m Eazy E, I’ve got bitches galore.
You might have a lot of bitches, but I’ve got much more.
With my super-duper poop comin’ out the shoot,
Eazy E, muthafucka’s cold knockin’ the boots.


Gettin’ stupid, because I know how,
And if a sucka talks shit,
I’ll give him a

Eazy E was the Godfather of Gangsta Rap and the biological father of seven children by six different women. It is uncertain how many women he infected before he died.

For better or worse, Eazy’s cultural progeny have spread across the nation. You’ll find them in any urban center, along with various rurbans bangin’ in the backwoods. The gangsta meme continues to spread like viral bandanas, so perhaps we can look forward to an Age of Real Muthaphukkin G’s.

© 2011 Joseph Allen

Real Muthaphukkin G’s1993