Eazy-E is considered a controversial figure in hip-hop. Although he was a fantastic emcee during his heyday as the frontman of NWA, his loyalty to the collective’s manager, Jerry Heller, ultimately led to the crew’s dissipation, and he became a target before he passed in 1995.
Eazy-E was the voice of NWA’s first single, ‘Boyz-n-the-Hood’ and remained the face of the group on the mainstage. However, following the ensemble’s dissolution, the emcee (real name Erica Wright) happily disrespected his former friends. But there was one member of NWA that Wright labelled “The best rapper in the world.”
In a 2015 interview with DJ Vlad for Vlad TV, the crew’s former manager, Jerry Heller, spoke about the late musician and unveiled his opinions before his passing. During the interview, Heller addressed a number of topics.
Highlighting the public’s perception of Dr Dre, Heller stated, “People don’t realise that in the beginning, Yella had a much more important role than he’s being credited for. High-power production was a combination of Dre and Yella. They produced those records, and Yella played an important part with Dre!”
He continued, “MC Ren, Eazy always that that Ren was the best rapper in the group! Ren was just a quiet, behind-the-scenes kind of guy. But Ren [really] is a tough guy and street guy like Eazy, and he and Eazy were incredibly close!”
Heller also addressed the movie Straight Outta Compton and shamed the casting directors, stating that they should have cast Eazy-E’s son like they did for Ice Cube, exclaiming, “Lil Eazy should have played his father too! They gave Ice Cube’s son all these acting classes to prepare him. Why couldn’t they do the same thing for Eazy’s own flesh and blood, who sounds just like him!”
Over the years Jerry Heller has grown to become a bit of an evil figure in hip-hop and is looked at as an executive who exploited young African-Americans, and the 2015 film only exacerbated this sentiment. However, he and Eazy-E were extremely close, and they were partners until the day Wright died. You can hear Heller’s interview below.