As cliché as it sounds, time does indeed heal most wounds. In 1993, at the height of a rather intense feud with his former group member Dr. Dre, N.W.A. co-founder Eazy-E dropped “Real Muthaphuckkin’ G’s.” Despite peaking at the number 42 spot and remaining on Billboard magazine’s “Hot 100” chart for nine weeks, most agreed that the diss track which became a posthumous cult classic wasn’t Eazy-E’s best work.
“Basically it’s talking about [Dr.] Dre for hollering that he’s a real Compton city G,” Eazy explained at an impromptu interview during the “Real Compton City G’s” video shoot. “He’s from the World Class Wreckin’ Cru, but he got the whole world fooled like he some hardcore gangster from the streets. But he ain’t never stomped on no Compton concrete.”
And there was the dilemma. Because at the time, regardless of what anyone claimed about either Snoop or Dr. Dre’s background, both of them were finding a way to sell astonishing amounts of albums to the same young adults whose parents were either scared of or disgusted by what they called “Gangsta Rap.” A potent mix of humor, raw delivery and production that was unparalleled at the time pushed Dre and Snoop to commercial heights that dwarfed Eazy’s sales.
So, with “Real Muthaphuckkin’ G’s,” Eazy struck back using the most popular strategy (and catch phrase) of the 90’s…“keeping it real.” He enlisted some real, motherfucking, Compton gangsters to rhyme with him. Dresta, who also appeared on the track, would state during a nationally televised NBC interview that he laid his vocals down no less than eight months after getting out of prison. They may have never earned the commercial success or fame of Dre and Ice Cube, but B.G. Knocc Out and Dresta fit Eazy’s requirements of having previously stomped on Compton concrete and a few heads to boot.
As Eazy-E’s solo career waned, he remained a successful executive and discovered Bone Thugs-N-Harmony as well as a young artist named Will 1X, who would later rechristen himself as will.i.am. Eazy died in 1995 due to complications from AIDS, and in what became a bitter-sweet ending for N.W.A. fans, estranged group members made peace with him. The diss tracks like “Fuck Wit Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’)” and “Real Muthaphuckkin’ G’s” essentially became smaller blips in legendary careers. Nowadays these songs and their hilarious video counterparts are more like markers in time and/or cult classics for some. A majority of West Coast-based artists—including the uber commercial Black Eyed Peas—have ties to someone in the N.W.A. family tree. And even one-time rivals like Snoop Dogg and Tha Dogg Pound are quick to give it up and recognize the contributions of the late Eric “Eazy-E” Wright.