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From N.W.A. to Eazy Street: Compton's Homage to Rap Royalty

Compton, California, paid homage to late rap legend and native son, Eazy-E, on Wednesday by renaming the 100 block of Auto Drive South as Eazy Street. The heartfelt tribute commemorates the artist's profound impact on hip-hop and the city.

Born Eric Wright, Eazy-E soared to fame as a pivotal member of the groundbreaking hip-hop group N.W.A., standing alongside influential artists such as Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, DJ Yella and Arabian Prince.

Beyond his contributions to N.W.A., Eazy-E found success as the founder and owner of Ruthless Records and as a solo artist. Tragically, he succumbed to AIDS-induced pneumonia in 1995 at the age of 30.
The decision to rename the street received unanimous support from key figures, including Compton Mayor Emma Shariff, L.A. County Supervisor Holly Mitchell, state Sen. Steve Bradford, D-Gardena and Assemblyman Mike Gipson, D-Gardena.

Alonzo Williams, president of the Compton Entertainment Chamber of Commerce, played a pivotal role in championing the street renaming. Inspired by former Compton Mayor Omar Bradley's past efforts, Williams seized the opportunity this year, the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, to honor Eazy-E's lasting influence successfully.

"Compton has a lot of history, but nobody knows about it. I figured the most recent history is hip-hop history," Williams explained. "Being this is the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, I thought it'd be a great idea to approach the City Council, talk about possibly doing this, and they loved the idea."
The renaming ceremony featured a performance by Eazy-E's son, Eric Darnell Wright, known as "Lil Eazy-E," alongside DJ Yella of N.W.A. Compton native DJ Joe Cooley, from Rodney-O and Joe Cooley, also graced the stage.

Lil Eazy-E, who lost his father at the age of 10, expressed gratitude for the recognition, stating, "The street renaming serves as a symbol of recognition and commemoration, ensuring that our father, Eric Wright, has a legacy that will be remembered and celebrated for generations to come."

He added, "It is a wonderful way for the city of Compton to honor his influence and the cultural significance that he brought to the community. I am truly grateful and honored to see my dad’s legacy continue to be remembered in my hometown, Compton, on Eazy Street."

Wright's daughters, Erica and Ebie, actively participated in the ceremony. Erica established the Eric Wright Family Foundation, dedicated to community service, while Ebie, known for her appearances on MTV's "Sweet Sixteen" and "Exiled," emphasized her father's global impact on hip-hop and social change.
In attendance was original N.W.A. member DJ Yella, though the absence of surviving members Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and MC Ren was noted. Lil Eazy-E, in an interview with TMZ, expressed understanding, citing DJ Yella's past support during Eazy-E's funeral.

Looking ahead, Lil Eazy-E revealed plans for a biographical film about his father, a testament to Eazy-E's enduring influence on both Compton and the music industry.

For now, the newly minted Eazy Street, branching off Alameda Street into the Gateway Towne Center shopping plaza, stands as a symbolic testament to Eazy-E's enduring legacy.

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