The late Eazy-E is considered one of the pioneers of West Coast gangsta rap because of his involvement with N.W.A. and their label, Ruthless Records. E was one of the most prolific and iconic rappers of his generation before his life was tragically cut short in 1995 due to HIV-related complications.
Before passing away, he made a powerful statement, professing, “I’m not religious, but wrong or right, that’s me,” his friend Ron Sweeney said on behalf of Eazy-E. “I’m not saying this because I’m looking for a soft cushion wherever I’m heading. I just feel I’ve got thousands of young fans who have to learn about what’s real when it comes to AIDS. I’ve learned in the last week that this thing is real, and it doesn’t discriminate. It affects everyone.”
Before his illness struck, Eazy was already dealing with ample drama in the rap scene. Ruthless Records had been pushed out by Death Row Records, which Suge Knight formed and revelled in the turf war. In 1992, Ruthless Records sued Death Row for racketeering, though the suit eventually got dismissed.
Conspiracy theorists have linked the rivalry with Eazy’s untimely illness, and Knight has had his say on those rumours. Suge is no stranger to prison, he’s previously been locked up for assault convictions and associated violations of probation and parole (not to mention the manslaughter charges he also had, but that’s a story for another time). Upon his release in 2003, he went on Jimmy Kimmel’s show, where he talked in an interview about some suspicious stuff.
He said, “This the new thing, right? So, if somebody gonna do something to somebody, technology is so high, right? So, you shoot somebody, you go to jail forever. Kids, you don’t want to go to jail forever, right? So, they got this new thing out, people sell ’em all the time. They get this stuff they call — they get blood from somebody with AIDS — and then they shoot you with it. That’s the slow death.”
Oddly specific, right? Especially considering the cause of Eazy-E’s death. Even the rapper’s son thinks Suge was responsible for his father’s death, taking to social media to say, “I’ve been known my pops was killed. His death never added up 2 what ppl have always said maybe they think we’re idiots blind to the truth idk….but 4 u new fans, youngsters & ppl who just don’t know much notice in #StraightOuttaCompton Eazy did not get sick until after the studio incident with suge and look how he acknowledged & admits on this interview with #JimmyKimmel injecting ppl instead of shooting them is a new thing that’s done. the truth is out there its just blinded by the fact that Eric had alot of sex #FreeYourMind #RipEazyE #EazyE #F—SugeKnight.”
Ruthless Records co-founder Jerry Heller also has something to say about the suspicious death. Heller said: “I still think it’s suspect the way Eazy died. First of all, in July of 1994, I sent him to the biggest doctor in Beverly Hills, who was coincidentally my doctor, for a complete physical, and told him I wanted him completely looked at. I mean, he was very promiscuous.
“He had, I think 11 children with eight different women. Two of the children, I think, [were born] after he [died]. None of the mothers were HIV-positive. None of the children were HIV-positive,” Heller said. “So, he went there, he got a complete physical, he got 100 per cent clearance. Then when he started getting sick, sometime after his trip to New York, end of ’94, beginning of ’95… That’s always been suspect to me.”
Although a sense of mystery is likely to always linger over Eazy’s death, Suge’s comments on Fallon are intriguing, even if they don’t help us uncover the possible culprit.