Eazy Duz It

Game changing contributions from West Coast rap icon.

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Eazy Duz It - In the summer of 1988, controversial rap group N.W.A released their debut LP Straight Outta Compton. The now-classic album not only introduced West Coast legends Dr. Dre and Ice Cube to the world, but also established the gangsta-rap subgenre of hip hop that forever shaped the national image of rap music. Without the foresight and business acumen of frontman Eazy-E, who founded Ruthless Records, N.W.A.'s initial label home, none of the group's members would've ever had the platform to revolutionize the genre in the ways that they did. But Eazy's impact on the game extends even further than that. Today, March 26, 2012, the 17th anniversary of his tragic death due to AIDS, BET.com remembers Eazy-E's many contributions to hip hop and beyond.(Photo: Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Established N.W.A - Of course, one of his greatest accomplishments was going legit and investing his drug money into Ruthless Records, which established N.W.A., one of the greatest and most influential hip hop groups of all time.(Picture: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

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Established N.W.A - Of course, one of his greatest accomplishments was going legit and investing his drug money into Ruthless Records, which established N.W.A., one of the greatest and most influential hip hop groups of all time.(Picture: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

Discovered Bone Thugs-n-Harmony  - In his role as an executive at his Ruthless Records label, Eazy-E discovered and signed the Grammy Award-winning Cleveland rap group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, setting them out on their way to sell millions of records.(Photo: www.eazye.org)

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Discovered Bone Thugs-n-Harmony - In his role as an executive at his Ruthless Records label, Eazy-E discovered and signed the Grammy Award-winning Cleveland rap group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, setting them out on their way to sell millions of records.(Photo: www.eazye.org)

Inspired Boyz n the Hood - Before John Singleton brought the cameras to South Los Angeles, Eazy-E (with some help from Cube, who actually penned the track) painted a picture of the daily life in the impoverished, crime- and drug-infested area so honestly that the ails of the city could no longer be ignored. The song remains a classic track and, as such, has been sampled and referenced numerous times including in UGK's "Front Back" and Game and Jim Jones's "Certified Gangstas."(Photo: Ruthless Records, 1987)

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Inspired Boyz n the Hood - Before John Singleton brought the cameras to South Los Angeles, Eazy-E (with some help from Cube, who actually penned the track) painted a picture of the daily life in the impoverished, crime- and drug-infested area so honestly that the ails of the city could no longer be ignored. The song remains a classic track and, as such, has been sampled and referenced numerous times including in UGK's "Front Back" and Game and Jim Jones's "Certified Gangstas."(Photo: Ruthless Records, 1987)

"Straight Outta Compton," N.W.A. - There's no doubt about it: This ground-breaking classic, the title track from N.W.A.'s 1988 studio debut, put Compton on the map and made gangsta rap ? and L.A.'s gang culture ? a worldwide phenomenon. 

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Compton - It doesn't matter if you were raised in New York City or North Dakota, the name Compton is generally recognized both nationally and often times internationally and can attribute it's infamy to the rise of Eazy-E and his group mates. The notoriety of Compton alone stands as a testament to their impact on American culture, even years after the group's demise.(Photo: Ruthless Records, 1988)

White Sox Fitted - Jay-Z made the Yankee fitted more popular than the Yankees ever could but long before him, Eazy-E laid claim to the black and white White Sox cap, making it a signature item in hip hop fashion.(Photo: Ruthless Records)

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White Sox Fitted - Jay-Z made the Yankee fitted more popular than the Yankees ever could but long before him, Eazy-E laid claim to the black and white White Sox cap, making it a signature item in hip hop fashion.(Photo: Ruthless Records)

Set the Bar for Rapper-Executives  - Way before Diddy, Eazy set the standard for the business executive who was getting paid for both performing and running things in the boardroom.(Photo courtesy of Jerry Heller, 1989)

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Set the Bar for Rapper-Executives - Way before Diddy, Eazy set the standard for the business executive who was getting paid for both performing and running things in the boardroom.(Photo courtesy of Jerry Heller, 1989)

Eazy-E "Boyz-N-The-Hood" - In his solo debut, "Boyz-N-The-Hood," Eazy-E took a bit of Eddie Murphy's "Barbecue" skit for some extra kicks. Ice Cube originally wrote the song for another group, but E was convinced to rap it and the rest is history. (Photo: powerHouse Books)

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Raised AIDS Awareness - Sadly, one of the biggest things Eazy-E accomplished was in death. His decision to announce that he was dying of AIDS was not only courageous, it also raised awareness in the hip hop community to the terminal illness that was still largely being erroneously viewed as the "gay disease." Eazy was, and still remains, the most notable celebrity from the culture to die from AIDS and his death still resonates with fans both old and new.  (Photo: Janette Beckman)