Eazy-E's daughter pays photo tribute, says father due more respect
When Eazy-E’s daughter, Erin Bria Wright (who goes by E.B.), decided to pay tribute to her late father, the Compton rapper who died 17 years ago Monday, she chose to channel his style by re-creating some of his iconic album covers.
The 20-year-old aspiring pop-rock singer re-created two of the N.W.A. founder’s solo album covers, "Str8 Off Tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton" and "It's On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa" (she opted to not include the 40 oz. and the joint her father sported on the cover). Wright also visted her father’s grave for a striking beauty shot, ball gown included.
She called into Pop & Hiss to chat about her father’s legacy, the state of West Coast rap and returning to his grave.
What made you decide to tackle re-creating album covers as a tribute, and posing at his grave?
Every year, I try to find a different way to celebrate him. This year, I tried to think of something where his fans and my fans could come together. I wanted them to see us together and connect the two. I didn’t want to do a song of his because I don’t rap, and I don’t want everybody to get the wrong idea. I thought the best thing to do was to re-create the iconic covers.
I decided to do the cemetery picture because, for one, I wanted to visit my father. I hadn't been there since I was a little girl. So I came up with the idea of going to his grave site at Rose Hills Cemetery because I knew it would be so emotional for me and I wanted to capture that emotion along with me being glamorous, in hopes to show in a beautiful way how much I love and miss my father. Secondly, the album covers were really for fun, that wasn't too emotional for me ... It definitely was the best part of the shoot. I had a great time re-creating his artwork in my own artistic form."
In the statement you released with the photos, you wrote, “hopefully one day he will finally get the recognition he truly deserves.” Why do you feel that recognition or respect hasn’t come?
I feel like his legacy isn't as big as it should be. People don’t really recognize or realize the things that he did and the impact that he had in the music industry and on people. He was at the forefront. If there wasn’t him, there would be no Dr. Dre, there would be no Ice Cube, which means there would be no Eminem, and there would be no 50 Cent. My father really started that whole style of rap. Even down to Kanye West, who is the kind of person to speak his mind. My father was the first person to do that with no censors and be himself and tell the truth. A lot of people don’t give him credit. He doesn't get the same respect that Tupac and Biggie do in hip-hop.
If he were still with us, what do you think he’d say about the current state of West Coast rap? A lot of California artists are getting attention, but many divert from the type of gangsta rap that your father and N.W.A. birthed.
It has changed a lot, but he would be with it. My father was a true visionary. He was doing things back when he was alive that are just now happening in the 17 years after his death. He was the first person to sign the Black Eyed Peas [to his Ruthless Records]; he had the white girl rapper Tairrie B., which is now similar to a Kreayshawn or to an Iggy [Azalea]. My father was doing things that are just now happening.
Give us a personal playlist of essential Eazy-E. If someone knew nothing about your father, what songs would you tell them to listen to as a primer?
"We Want Eazy" : It’s really a fun record. It was probably one of his most commercial records, and also N.W.A.’s “Radio” is another favorite. His personality really shines on those records.
"Real Compton City G’s": Another fun record, not to be taken too serious. Its definitely my favorite.
"Boyz-N-the-Hood": It’s just classic. It’s classic gangster storytelling. I still hear that record when I go out now. People get so excited when they hear it. Its one of the best ones."
Eazy-E, born Eric Lynn Wright, died March 26, 1995, of complications from AIDS.
-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
Photos: Alexander George, with the exception of "Str8 Off Tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton." The album cover is courtesy Relativity Records.