July 8, 2008

Eazy-E - Eazy-Duz-It (September 16, 1988)


In an interesting business move, Eric Wright decided to release a solo album about a month after his crew, N.W.A., released their "debut", Straight Outta Compton. Most record labels would consider this to be "over-saturating the market", since there would be no possible way that Straight Outta Compton would have maxed out its commercial viability in one freaking month, but, then again, most record labels aren't owned by the artist in question, so Eazy-E thought that his plan made perfect sense.

Recorded at the same time (and probably in some of the same sessions) as Straight Outta Compton, Eazy-Duz-It was Eric's bid to establish himself as a solo artist that just so happened to also be a part of The World's Most Dangerous Group. Since Eazy was never really known for writing any of his own rhymes or music, the rest of N.W.A. was enlisted to help out. MC Ren provided the rhymes (with assists from Ice Cube and The D.O.C.), and Dr. Dre (and DJ Yella) supplied all of the beats. The end result is an album that sounds like an alternate-universe N.W.A. if Eazy was the leader, which, of course, he always considered himself to be.

Ruthless Records chalked up at least two million sales of Eazy-Duz-It, making it look (on paper) like Eric Wright was a successful solo artist, when in reality every single person that bought the album probably believed it to be some extra N.W.A. material left off of Straight Outta Compton. Although none of its songs reached the levels of controversy "Fuck Tha Police" found, Eazy-Duz-It ended up being the ride-along soundtrack for young men who lived vicariously through Eric's ridiculous tales from his hood and the success he would eventually find as an alleged drug dealer, rapper, and label head (he is the guy that thought Bone Thugs-N-Harmony had commercial appeal, and did sign the Black Eyed Peas, previously known as the Atban Klann, before they became famous, after all).

Well, then.

1. (PRELUDE) / STILL TALKIN'
This song is pretty terrible. And not just because Eric states that he "may be a woman beater, but not a pussy eater", as if the two were even remotely related to each other. He also talks about saving some pussy in his freezer. It's almost like Cube, Ren, and/or The D.O.C. decided to dare each other to wrote the most ridiculous shit they could think of, and Eazy just recited it simply because he wasn't in on the joke.

2. NOBODY MOVE
This is more like what I was expecting: N.W.A.-style songs, but with the rest of the crew in the backseat while Eric drunkenly drives down the freeway. I'm fairly certain the gay-bashing in the second verse wouldn't come close to even being considered for a mainstream rap record today, so think of this song as a homophobic time capsule.

3. RUTHLESS VILLAIN (FEAT MC REN)
MC Ren and Eazy-E always seem to compliment each other. Sure, Ren completely outraps his "host", but still...
4. 2 HARD MUTHA'S (FEAT MC REN)
In case you really loved the tag-team on "Ruthless Villain" and was foaming at the mouth for a sequel, well, here you go, sequenced immediately following its predecessor. It's not better that the original, but it's certainly not any worse.

5. BOYZ-N-THE-HOOD (REMIX)
I always thought it was cool that Dr. Dre referenced the original version of this track in the intro, as if we could have ever forgotten it in the first place. This song may have like eighteen verses from Eazy (I seriously lost count), but it's considered essential Eric Wright for a reason.

6. EAZY-DUZ-IT
Whenever I hear the beginning of this song, my mind always tracks back to Masta Ace's "Sittin' On Chrome", but there's a good chance that a lot of my two readers won't get that reference right away, so I'll say this: I wasn't impressed with this title track, but at least Dre (and Yella, I suppose) tried to keep things lively on its instrumental.

7. WE WANT EAZY (FEAT MC REN & DR. DRE)
Never thought I would ever hear a reference to Gene Autry on a goddamn rap record. Some of the jokes on this track are corny, but a couple of them still hit today. Overall, though, the beat is big, but the final product is underwhelming.

8. EAZY-ER SAID THAN DUNN
This is the second reference in a row to Eazy's supposed age. I wasn't really following N.W.A. like that in the late eighties, but I never really thought it was that much of an issue.

9. RADIO
I guess it makes sense that a song with this title would end up being the most radio-friendly track on Eazy-Duz-It. The thing is, this track is actually pretty good, and it proves that Eazy was a shrewd businessman, as he was clearly aware of what he needed to do to get some airplay and promote his product. Dr. Dre handling the phone calls toward the end of this song also made me chuckle.

10. NO MORE ?'S
Call me crazy, but I really liked Eazy's second verse, where he drops his voice to a low rumble, sounding like a completely different (and slightly better) rapper in the process. I wonder why he didn't do this more often.

11. I'MMA BREAK IT DOWN
This song rocks. The tightly-constructed instrumental forces Eazy to keep a steady pace, with fantastic results.

12. EAZY CHAPTER 8 VERSE 10
I still don't like interludes with pseudo-preaching, but the beat offsets Eazy's message anyway, so it's at least a little bit amusing. Still, though, this is a really strange way to end your album.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Eazy-Duz-It can't really be compared to the N.W.A. album that preceded it because it's a whole different species. However, on Straight Outta Compton, Eazy's verses were tolerable, and even damn near brilliant in spots, because the collaboration with other artists forced him to reign it in. On his solo debut, his shtick gets old very quickly. Unlike most rappers out today, though, Eric Wright was fully aware of his limitations, and leaned heavily on his rap partners, but the end result is a solo album that has a singular focus which grows tired.

BUY OR BURN? You can burn this disc if you're a fan of Dr. Dre's production work and absolutely must have every single beat he's ever had a hand in: otherwise, let it be. Some of these songs are good, maybe even great, but they can grow more and more annoying with subsequent listens.

BEST TRACKS: "I'mma Break It Down"; "Boyz-N-The-Hood (Remix)"; "Radio"

-Max

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10 comments:

  1. Can I suggest a shrewd business move for you?: Make T-shirts that say 'I'm one of Max's 2 readers' - you'd sell at least 2.

    I've never listened to a full Eazy E album but one track every now and then provides lots of entertainment (and N words).

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  2. The album is so much amusing when I listen to it today. Lyrics and attitude are just right for this purpose.

    20 years ago it sounded amusing too, because Eazy couldn't convince nobody that he was tough and hard etc etc.

    It's a classic album though and it's worth a buy recommendation.

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  3. Max, you have 23 days left. A review of The Chronic must be in the reserves somewhere. JUST DO IT AND GET IT OVER WITH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  4. AnonymousJuly 09, 2008

    7 Words

    DMX - It's Dark And Hell Is Hot

    Many people would consider this a classic and I want to hear your opinion on it. At least you can have plenty of fun with a DMX write-up.

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  5. AnonymousJuly 09, 2008

    A bullshit review. Shocked? Hell no

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  6. I still find this album as endlessly listenable as I did when I was 13 and sneaking listens in my room. It's both hilarious and disturbing and equal doses. The cd is in my car stereo right now. I guess some people can burn this since I've bought it enough times.

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  7. believe it or not eazy e is my personal favorite rapper. Despite the fact that he has absolutely no lyrical greatness and I can name a shit load of rappers who are better than him I have my reasons, it was the infamous straight outta compton, and not too long after this album that got me into this chosen genre. I think dres work is insane and nobody move is probably the only rap song in hip hop history that talks about a transgendered female. So since this was one of the first albums I ever bought im gonna have to disagree with the burn decision

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  8. @papo500 A lot of people around my way would agree w/ you on everything u said. Because E had a certain swagger about him that fit if u wrote him crazy lyrics that sounded like they'd come from ice cube's mouth. But u gotta love him because i know dre says it, cube says it and ren says it.. but eazy-e said it when he said he created the group nwa, that's why he's gotta be a favorite, dude earn the utmost credit from any real n.w.a. fan... anyway on the review yea u shouldn't burn it but max gave quite a few good reasons... most people already have the 4 singles somewhere in their old hardware already thrown into a pc graveyard waiting to be hammered down, but everybody loved "dopeman, eazy-duz it, boyz-n-da-hood, we want eazy etc. etc.." with that said this album is already a buy and staple album every nwa fan has, great review, good album!

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  9. You dare bitch on Eric but like ODB?
    WTF?!

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  10. AnonymousJuly 15, 2014

    This album was the perfect companion to Straight Outta Compton. The comic relief of the group really shines here, with some of the funniest lyrics I've ever heard from Cube, Ren & DOC!!! For his part, Eric was perfectly aware if his distinctive squealing voice, and took full advantage of that fact in his delivery.

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