Ice Cube discussed his memories of Eazy-E with Billboard and XXL. Read more after the jump.
“[I miss], I guess, his sense of humor. He had a kind of dark sense of humor. He was funny. His mentality, he was really smart and knew how to promote and sell, that was his thing. He knew what would work. He knew what good music was, compared to stuff that wasn’t going to sell. That dude was pretty smart.
I think we opened up entertainment and artists to all spectrums. It was a part of entertainment that was kind of taboo and only comedians would tap into it, like Redd Foxx, more or less Richard Pryor, [they] would kind of tap into these zones, but it was still considered blue entertainment back in the day. With Eazy-E and N.W.A, we made it easy for artists to be themselves and still be just as famous as the squeaky clean artists who were kind of hiding behind a reality curtain. We actually sprang true freedom in entertainment. For artists, if they were raw, they could be raw. If they were a bad boy, they didn’t have to try to be a good boy. They could be themselves. And to me, it sparked a whole revolution of shows like The Osbournes, South Park and people like Eminem, Marilyn Manson and even The Sopranos. It just opened up a flood gate.
[I think we were] architects of [gangsta rap]. I think we did it the best and we were fearless. We go right up there with…but, you have to add people in the mix like Ice-T, people like KRS-One who did “Criminal Minded,” which to me was a gangsta record, groups like Public Enemy, even though they weren’t doing gangster rap, they were definitely standing up for themselves in a way that music hadn’t done in a while. So I think it’s just, we helped coin—not the phrase, the phrase was coined by the media—we called it reality rap when it first came out; the media took it and started calling it gangsta rap, that was a little more sensationalized than reality rap. It was something that if it would have stayed reality rap, the music would probably have a little bit more substance than it has now.
It’s a trip because our style was new when we did it. Not too many people were even attempting to do music that hard. So we thought everybody else would keep their own styles, but we saw hip-hop kind of change into gangsta hop, pretty much. Everybody was doing hardcore records and now, that’s pretty much the norm. It’s kind of like being Dr. Frankenstein in a lot of ways, building a monster that you can’t control. We thought that this would be our style and nobody would bite because biting used to be taboo in hip-hop. But now, it’s damn near mandatory.”