The City of Compton will posthumously honor the late Eric “Eazy-E” Wright by renaming the city’s Auto Plaza Drive South after him, officially giving it the name Eazy Street. Wright achieved success as the founder and owner of Ruthless Records, as a solo artist, and as a member of the legendary multi-platinum recording group NWA. A commemorative event celebrating the name change will be held on November 22, 2023 from 12 noon to 3:00 PM, and it will be open to the public. The location will be in back of the Chrystal Hotel in Compton. Wright famously passed away in 1995.
Elected officials that unanimously voted to honor the late rapper and music business mogul were Senator Steve Bradford, Assemblyman Mike Gipson, Compton Mayor Emma Shariff, County Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Compton City Council members Andre Spicer, Diedra Duhart, Jonathan Bowers and Lillie P. Darden.
Among those that will be part of the celebratory event are Wright’s son, Eric Darnell “Lil Eazy-E” Wright, who will perform with DJ Yella of NWA. Recording artist DJ Joe Cooley of Rodney O and Joe Cooley fame will spin at the event. Cooley was also born in Compton.
Tragically, Lil E’s famous father passed away when he was only 10-years old. Like his father, Lil E is a recording artist and an executive in his own right, serving as the president of Rich & Ruthless Records. Earlier this year, Lil Eazy released the album The Legacy, featuring veteran rapper and producer Daz Dillinger of the Dogg Pound. Lil E is also the president of Rich & Ruthless Cannabis, a company that grows and supplies product. Also like his father, he has been active in philanthropic efforts, and he is committed to encouraging peace on the streets between rival gangs.
Lil E says of the upcoming event, “The street naming serves as a symbol of recognition and commemoration, ensuring that our father, Eric ‘Eazy-E’ Wright, has a legacy that will be remembered and celebrated for generations to come. 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, California on Eazy Street, 90221.”
Wright’s daughter Erica will also participate. Erica’s commitment to her father’s memory led her to start a charitable foundation in his name. She notes, “My dad loved where he was from. Nothing could keep him from Compton. Nothing could keep his parents from Compton. This will forever be a highlight in my life. I am always looking to do things to make my daddy proud, and I know he would be so proud of Eazy Street. I can’t find the words to express my gratitude to the city. My dad loved Compton. He loved our community.”
Erica adds, “I cannot count the many stories I’ve heard of him giving, whether it was from the stash out of his pocket, or to a charity. So with my siblings, we have developed the Eric Wright Family Foundation. We look forward to helping our community, and to show the world that it’s not so bad coming straight outta Compton. I love you, Daddy.”
Wright’s daughter Erin Bria (“Ebie”) Wright, who has starred on MTV’s Sweet Sixteen and Exiled, released two singles, proving this apple didn’t land far from the tree, either. She states, “It is truly an honor for my father to be receiving this recognition, his beloved city naming a street after him. It has always been said that my dad put Compton on the map, and while it was not in the literal sense, I think we can all agree that his global impact, generated through his music, his celebrity, his vision, and his voice not only inspired numerous other artists that emerged out of Compton because of him, but also, by using his influence to shed light on the negative issues that were occurring in his community, he helped drive positive change in this city, which extended to inner cities around the world.”
Eazy’s daughter Ebie remarks, “I am immensely proud of my father, and the selfless acts and sacrifices he made for the greater good. I extend my gratitude to the city of Compton for this distinguished honor. Thank you for making it possible for us, his family, to perpetuate his legacy and to fulfil a dream with Eazy Street.”
Lil E, Erica and Ebie will be joined by their siblings Sharan, Derek and Marquise at the event, making a poignant statement about their love for their father.
Auto Plaza Drive South is located at the entry of the Gateway Towne Center on Alameda Street and Santa Fe Street. The decision to rename the street was approved by the Compton City Council.
It was Alonzo “Lonzo” Williams that played a major part in spearheading the street renaming. Alonzo, who was portrayed in the theatrical release Straight Out of Compton, owned the nightclub Eve After Dark, when fledgling artists Dr. Dre and DJ Yella got their start performing there. Eve After Dark received a major nod in 2022, when Dr. Dre performed at the Super Bowl, and the club was represented in the stage set.
As the President of the Compton Entertainment Chamber of Commerce, Williams became aware of former Compton Mayor Omar Bradley’s past efforts to rename a street after Eazy. Says Williams, “I felt that with this year being the 50th anniversary of hip hop, it would be a great time to give it another try, and this time the efforts were successful.”
Williams adds, “Eazy-E was a direct product of my music business mentorship, before he became partners with Jerry Heller. I was his “go to” guy for everything related to music. I did promotion and assisted him with various aspects of creating Ruthless Records, including introducing him to his first entertainment attorney and the designer of his record label’s logo. He recorded his demos in my studio, which was portrayed in the film Straight Outta Compton, and I introduced him to my former manager, Jerry Heller. The rest was history. Eazy always stopped by my studio after he became wildly famous, and he never changed. November 22 is for him.”
Bomb Classics Car Club, Jus Dippin and Corvette of Choice will bring their enviable rides to pay tribute to Eazy. Uncle Jam’s Army and the legendary club Eve After Dark are also sponsoring the event.
The event is co-sponsored by the Compton Entertainment Chamber of Commerce and KJLH 102.3 FM. The station has played urban contemporary music community for 50 years.