In 2012 Eazy-E’s 28 year old son Eric Wright Jr. told TMZ that his father’s grave had been desecrated. The area was littered, he complained, with “empty beer bottles and “marijuana cigarette butts.”
A year previous, in 2011, Eric Wright Jr., made a public statement about his desire to play his father in New Line Cinema’s upcoming NWA biopic. He told TMZ, ”I’m the best man for the job. Who better to play him in the NWA days? No makeup needed… I know I’m just like my father.”
It’s hard to overstate Eazy’s influence on global culture. He started NWA. NWA started gangsta rap. Gangsta rap made the 90s.
Unlike many later gangsta rappers (e.g. Tupac), Eazy was in fact a gangsta. He used self-made drug money to get NWA off the ground. His manager Jerry Heller stated that he personally saw Eazy spend $250,000 drug money on NWA.
Today, most music, particularly pop music, is influenced by NWA, even though what NWA stood for is dead. NWA’s seminal album Straight Outta Compton was banned from the radio, rejected by MTV and chastised by the news. The public outcry against the anti-establishment, drug-promoting, and misogynistic lyrics of “Straight Outta Compton,” “Gangsta Gangsta” and “Fuck Tha Police” lead to threats from the FBI.
This was before corporations learned that the easiest way to get rid of opposing voices is not to fight them, but to buy them. In 2013, as soon as a musician gains notoriety for being rebellious or controversial, they’re in Motorola commercial. Even Eminem and Kanye, for all their angry complaining, sell out for ads.
While we Americans seem mostly blind to the absence of authentic counterculture voices, we can always rely on Europeans to point out our true heroes. Europeans love Eazy-E.
A Swedish friend living in LA wanted to take a pilgrimage to Eazy’s grave. He convinced a Dutch guy, similarly fascinated, and I to go with him.
I’d never been to a celebrity’s grave, and didn’t know where to start. We found, however, that grave-hunting is apparently a popular hobby. A quick Google and we found Eazy on findagrave.com. It said he was in Rose Hill Cemetery, Lupine Lawn Lot 2482, Grave 1.
We headed East, way the fuck out East, further east than Compton, to Rose Hill Cemetery in Whittier. We bought some 40s and rolled a blunt in the backseat to honor the occasion.
A Swede and an Englishmen
Limited rolling surfaces in a dad’s car.
We arrived at Rose Hill, a massive, well-curated mega-cemetery with endless rolling hills of graves. We needed a map, so we went into the office area and asked the clerk for one.
“Who are you here to see?” the old man asked.
“Oh, we’re just looking for Lupine Lawn. We have the lot number.”
“Why don’t you just tell me the name and I can look it up for you? That’s easier.” He seemed suspicious.
“Um, the name is Wright. Eric Wright.”
“I’m sorry, we can’t give you that information.”
“Because we can’t.
“And why is that?”
“The family has requested we don’t give that information out because the grave has been desecrated.”
Being stoned at a cemetery is already paranoia-inducing, but being part of a group of red-eyed white dudes, too old to be goofing around, requesting access to Eazy’s grave using his given name felt just pathetic. Nonetheless, we we’d come this far and weren’t about to leave empty handed.
Abiding the suspicious glare of many a cemetery employee, we rolled slowly up the hill in search of Lupine Lawn. It’s a huge cemetery, but the lawns are clearly labeled. It only took a couple minutes to find it. Numbers on the sidewalk seemed to label the lots, and we looked out for Number 2482.
As we crept towards the 2400s, we met with what should have been an expected obstacle, a large funeral. We rolled by, peering out of the window as the mourners stared back at us. At the top of a hill, right next to where 2400 should be, there was another obstacle, Four police officers on motorcycles. We couldn’t tell if they were there for the funeral or to protect Eazy’s grave. Riding dirty as we were, we stopped the car dead in the road at the sight of the cops, right in front of the funeral.
The funeralgoers started fidgeting more suspiciously at our presence. The police looked up too, craned their necks. We decided quickly that Eazy’s visitors probably aren’t so much of a problem that the LAPD would dedicate four officers to stand watch, so we carried on, nodding at the police like we knew what we were doing. We parked and, trying to be as quiet as possible, fanned out over the lawn looking for Lot 2482 Grave 1.
It wasn’t there. Not in 2400 at least. Findagrave.com was wrong. Still not willing to give up, we systematically searched the lawn, encroaching closer and closer towards the funeral. We disappeared from each other, stretching far and wide across the grass. We noticed some blunt wrappers and beer caps littered near a garbage can, and we knew we were getting close. Finally, a text from the Dutchman. “2116.” We scrambled towards him. There it was.
It was a small, simple grave. The epitaph read “We Loved him a lot, But Got loved him more.” Far from desecrated, two small glass beer bottles sat in organized manner next to the small stone. Remarkable only in its unremarkableness.
For those seeking their own pilgrimage, go to this number on Lupine Lawn and look towards the end of the lawn like in the photo. Walk due straight from here and you will run into the grave.
Even more surprising were his immediate neighbors. Eazy is sharing eternity with a random Asian woman. Did she even know who he was?
We stood and said a few words. Rattled by the police presence, we’d left the half finished blunt and 40s back in the car, so we were unable to do any “desecration” of our own.
By all accounts Eazy was the creative and business engine behind NWA. Ice Cube left the group in 89 under hostile circumstances, then recorded his famous NWA diss track “No Vaseline” in which he accuses Eazy of being soft and a sellout–”Bend over for the mothafuckin cracka, no vaseline.” Dre left in 91 under only slightly less hostile circumstances, and recorded his own Eazy disses with similar accusations. Eazy continued making music until he died of AIDS in 95.
So what happened to the ex-NWA members after Eazy’s death? Did they keep it real? Keep it gangsta? Here’s what happened.
No vaseline, indeed.
Eazy wasn’t the best rapper. He wasn’t the best producer. He wasn’t a successful mogul like Puffy or Russell Simmons. He was just an ordinary gangsta, I suppose.
An original post from…http://outlaw.la/