Eric Lynn Wright (September 7, 1963 – March 26, 1995), better known by his stage name Eazy-E, was an American rapper who performed solo and in the hip hop group N.W.A. Wright was born to Richard and Kathie Wright in Compton, California. After dropping out of high school in the tenth grade, he supported himself primarily by selling drugs. He invested in the record company Ruthless Records, which he would co-found with Jerry Heller in 1983. When Ruthless artists Dr. Dre and Ice Cube wrote "Boyz-n-the-Hood", Dre, Cube, and Eazy formed N.W.A. After DJ Yella, MC Ren, and Arabian Prince joined the group, N.W.A released N.W.A. and the Posse. In 1988, they released their most controversial album, Straight Outta Compton. The group released two more albums, then Dr. Dre asked Eazy to release him from his contract. At first Eazy refused, but after Suge Knight threatened him, Eazy signed Dre off.
Eazy's main influences include Ice-T, Redd Foxx, King Tee, Bootsy Collins, Run-D.M.C., Richard Pryor, The Egyptian Lover, Schoolly D, Too $hort, Prince, The Sugarhill Gang, and George Clinton. When reviewing Eazy's albums, many critics noted his unique overall style, with Steve Huey of the All Music Guide summing up: "While his technical skills as a rapper were never the greatest, his distinctive delivery (invariably described as a high-pitched whine), over-the-top lyrics, and undeniable charisma made him a star." On February 24, 1995, Eazy was admitted into Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles with what he believed to be asthma, but was instead diagnosed with AIDS. On March 16, he acknowledged his condition publicly, and died due to complications ten days later.