What would the hip-hop landscape look like today if N.W.A never linked up to change the game in the late eighties? While it’s impossible to fathom the butterfly effects of such a scenario, one thing remains certain — what Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, MC Ren, and DJ Yella accomplished together helped make gangsta rap into the commercial force it is today. And though the group found themselves plagued by inner turmoil and conflict — which ultimately led to the release of Ice Cube’s scathing “No Vaseline” — by the time Eazy-E passed away in 1995, much of the beef had been largely settled.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Were he still alive, today would have Eazy-E’s fifty-sixth birthday. As such, Ice Cube took to Twitter to commemorate the occasion, making it clear that his thoughts are still with his former groupmate. “Happy Birthday homie,” he writes, alongside a mural of Eazy’s likeness. “We miss you.” For those who can appreciate the complex history of the legendary rap group, it’s hard not to appreciate Cube’s continued support of his former collaborators — especially in the wake of everything that transpired during their decline.
Sadly, Eazy-E has been gone for so long that it’s hard to picture how he might have adapted to some of rap’s prominent eras. Particularly the late-nineties to the early-two thousands, when Dre and Cube had entered new phases of their solo careers. One of hip-hop’s many bittersweet what-if scenarios. Either way, it’s cool to see Ice Cube doing his part to keep Eazy’s legacy alive. Happy birthday, Eazy-E!