March 26, 2010

My Gut Reaction: Eazy-E - It's On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa (October 25, 1993)

Fifteen years ago today, Eric "Eazy-E" Wright passed away from complications after contracting the AIDS virus.  This came as a shock to music fans everywhere, especially those who actually followed gangsta rap, as this was most definitely not how anybody expected one of the founding fathers of West Coast hip hop to go. 

A lot of ink has been spent describing how Eazy-E made peace with his former friends Dr. Dre and Ice Cube on what was essentially his deathbed.  His passing pretty much killed any possible N.W.A. reunion, as evidenced by the fact that any later collaboration between various combinations of The World's Most Dangerous Group (with an occasional aside from Snoop Dogg) never really resonated with the public.

A year and a half prior to this monumental event in hip hop history, though, Eazy-E flat-out hated Dr. Dre.

In 1992, Andre Young found a way to get out of his contract with Eric's Ruthless Records: by force.  In partnering up with Marion "Suge" Knight, Dre found a kindred spirit, someone who also believed that Dre should be making some money off of his own fucking work.  (Sure, Suge allegedly strongarmed Dre out of his earnings later, but Andre didn't see that coming in 1992.)  Eazy was rightfully pissed that his cash cow was snatched out away from under him (because MC Ren wasn't exactly raking in the dough), so he scrapped what was supposed to be his next project, something called Temporary Insanity (as the first time I heard of this album was on Wikipedia, I'm prone not to believe it), and instead crafted an EP declaring all-out war on Dr. Dre and his right-hand man Snoop Doggy Dogg, mainly because of all of the random shit-talking that transpired on Dre's debut The Chronic.

That EP, awkwardly titled It's On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa (what the fuck is that supposed to mean, anyway?  Does Eric want to kill Cold 187um?  I thought they were friends!), featuring the direct assault "Real Muthaphukkin' G's", went on to sell five million motherfucking copies.  That means that over five million people were possibly convinced that Eazy-E was actually the bigger man in this historic battle.  Sure, aside from MC Ren, Eazy tended to surround himself with a gaggle of jackasses (Bone Thugs 'N Harmony don't count, but Jerry Heller and the early incarnation of the Black Eyed Peas most certainly do), but when he focused on a subject as dear to his heart as getting fucked over for his money, Eric Wright was a very compelling voice that is missed in our chosen genre.

Yeah, that last paragraph was nice and all, but I've never actually listened to It's On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa until today.  So is it any good?


1. EXXTRA SPECIAL THANKS
I have to admit, Eric's verbal assault on both Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg actually does set the tone for what I'm expecting to hear on this EP. A rap album intro that isn't useless? Wow.


2. REAL MUTHAPHUCKKIN' G'S (FEAT B.G. KNOCC OUT & DRESTA)
Dr. Dre clearly won the war, what with his many successes in the music industry and Eazy being dead and all (too soon?), but I've always preferred this dis track over “Fuck Wit Dre Day”. B.G. Knocc Out and Dresta are decent enough behind the mic, I suppose, but I don't ever want to hear them not talking smack about Death Row Records, as this seems to be their calling. But Eazy's two verses steal the show, with venom encircling Eric's words like a babbling creek, a feat he would never again attain.  Rhythm D's beat grabs your attention immediately, and Eazy's threats have a perfect mixture of humor and reality to them (a lot of folks forget that Eazy-E made a lot of money off of The Chronic). This still sounds fucking awesome today, both in your car and in your earbuds. One of the finest dis tracks ever recorded. And yes, I'm completely serious.


3. ANY LAST WERDZ (FEAT COLD 187UM & KOKANE)
On the cassette maxi-single of “Real Muthaphuckkin' G's” (which was released to radio in the altered form of “Real Compton G's”, a diluted track that still packed a surprising punch), “Any Last Werdz” appeared immediately after the main attraction, making this the only other song from It's On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa that I'm already familiar with. Eazy's collaboration with most of Above The Law, a crew that had their own issues with Dr. Dre and chose the appropriate side, is actually really boring, possibly because this nothing to do with either Dre or Snoop. The hook and chanting throughout are catchy enough, but Eazy-E is burdened with carrying the weight of all three verses, and they happen to be not so great.


4. STILL A N---A
Over a simple Yella instrumental (remember that guy?), Eazy tries to prove that his past success hasn't changed his overall demeanor. I have to give the man some credit: I truly anticipated this entire EP being a huge middle finger to Andre Young, but Eric has proven over the past couple of tracks that he's looking at the big picture, and Dr. Dre only plays a small cameo role in his life story. Which is surprising, considering Dre's name appears in the goddamn title of the album. (Imagine Curtis Jackson naming his major label debut Get Rich or Kill Ja Rule. What would you expect the entire album to be about?) Eric's ranting is far more polished here than on any previous disc in his catalog, but this track is still merely okay, as it is fairly predictable in the way that gangsta rap tends to be.


5. GIMME THAT NUTT
Yella's beat is pretty fucking amazing, almost too good for Eric Wright to waste with such a generic sex rap. Someone needs to jack this beat ASAP for promotional use only: this sounds like the kind of instrumental J-Zone would have given Eric had they had the opportunity to work together. Including references to N.W.A.'s previous (superior) sex raps renders this track a throwback gift to fans who have followed up to this point. Unnecessary, but it has its merits.


6. IT'S ON
Rhythm D's approximation of a Dr. Dre beat circa The Chronic is perfect for Eazy to trash talk his former friend and the new guy on the scene (lest we forget, Snoop dragged himself into the fray by pledging allegiance to Dr. Dre and proclaiming that “Eazy-E can eat a big fat dick” on “Fuck Wit Dre Day”; you'll notice that Eazy hasn't really taken shots at anybody else on the label, because they all kept their mouths shut). “Real Muthaphuckkin' G's” is the far better track, but this is still a pretty entertaining sleeper hit, even though Eric treads the same water that he threw into Dre's face on the previous dis song.


7. BOYZ N THA HOOD (G-MIX)
While it's old news that Eazy-E made money off of The Chronic as a condition of releasing Dre from his Ruthless Records contract (I wrote about that five songs ago, you two! Keep up!), I wonder if Dre made any residual checks for this unneeded remix of a track that he produced for Eazy back in the day. Probably not, since Eazy and Jerry Heller notoriously fucked him out of money in his contract: maybe this song was included on the EP as yet another fuck-you to his face? Or maybe Eric Wright ran out of ideas and decided that what this project really needed was a filler track that could double as a bathroom break. Who knows?


8. DOWN 2 THA LAST ROACH (FEAT B.G. KNOCC OUT, ASH TREY (KOKANE), MR. ROACH CLIP (EAZY-E), & SHAKI)
For the final track of the evening, Eazy-E and his friends lead you to believe that they will focus solely on Dr. Dre's seemingly backwards progression from a drug-free rapper who doesn't smoke weed or cess (“Because it's known to cause brain damage”, as he says on N.W.A.'s “Express Yourself”) to a guy who loves the green so much that he named his debut album The Chronic. However, the song is simply about the joys of getting “high like a motherfucker”; Eazy and his friends use their goofy aliases and voice distortion software to simulate the feeling one gets after smoking himself stupid, but the overall effect is more annoying than entertaining, not unlike Dre's “The Roach (The Chronic Outro)”. The educational interlude midway through was fairly interesting, though. There was no reason that this absolutely had to last longer than fucking seven minutes.


THE LAST WORD: It's On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa may have functioned a bit better if it were a true attack record in every sense of the word, but alas, Eazy-E's hatred toward Dr. Dre and his new friend Snoop Doggy Dogg (one will also note that Eric doesn't say shit about Suge Knight) is limited to mainly two tracks and an intro. While those songs are masterful in their dismantling if a hip hop legend (there are claims contained within those records that Dre still has to contend with to this day), the rest of the package is trite gangsta rap that hits all of the major points, as if Eazy had a checklist running through his mind. The production, mostly provided by Rhythm D and DJ Yella, is somewhat compelling, but Eazy's skill level behind the mic leaves a lot to be desired. The best tracks in here are entertaining, as that was what Eric Wright was best at doing, but the worst songs will make you want to throw this CD into a nearby ditch. It is what it is.


-Max


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18 comments:

  1. Real Muthafukking G's is the best diss track ever recorded! (I dont regard Biggie's Who Shot Ya as a diss track by the way otherwise it would be 1st.)

    Although Eazy-E won the G's battle he obviously lost the war... dead and broke.

    Good review, hopefully you'll stick to reviewing stuff like this and not the last 3 boring albums u reviewed. Lord Finesse... Danger Mouse/Jemini... Immortal Technique any chance of reviewing that?

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  2. I was actually just discussing this album not even an hour before reading this review. Nice review, now GIMME THAT NUT

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  3. eazy e sucks and he was the worst thing about real muthaphukkin g's!

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  4. Real Compton City G's holds a special place in my heart. The song is hilarious and down right contagious making the 5 million units sold justified. While I think E is not even a mediocre lyricist, he's enjoyable when taken in small doses. Has anyone heard a rumor about Eazy's daughter paying off someone for some controversial pictures of her father? I read about this on another blog.

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  5. Damn, I can't believe you don't appreciate that nighttime eerieness of "Still a N-word". Eazy came in alright, and the beat is awesome. "Any Last Werdz" is also enjoyable.

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  6. Easily one of the best EPs in hip hop. Loved Real Muthaphuckkin G's and It's On. Gimme That Nut is a comedic song that never fails to make me laugh - more than any other such attempts by Eazy-E.

    R.I.P. Eric Wright.

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  7. Yeah I felt pretty much the same about this album. Down 2 Tha Last Roach was fucking annoying and the fact that it was 7+ minutes made me want pull a Wayne Brady.... no not host a game show... or do comedy... but "Chokes a bitch"

    Oh and actually Temporary Insanity was intended to be a real. Although I don't own 51.50: Home 4 Tha Sick if you read the left hand side of the back cover (left of the tracks and in between the side flap) it's written vertically

    "From The Upcoming Album Temporary Insanity"

    Which kind logical seeing as the EP was called 51,50: Home 4 Tha Sick

    Link to the back cover (so you can see for your self)

    http://www.allcdcovers.com/download/a7b9b284a7ce39d8b10c0b8aa88cd614/186255/353864c22bb6ae58af257f72b0e36c93/4bad574c/eazy_e_5150_home_4_tha_sick_1992_retail_cd-back

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  8. could you please do a review of R.A the rugged man Legendary Classics Vol 1

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  9. Yo. You should have posted that pic from the inside cover of Dre. Easy has a dis cover!

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  10. Patrick - I didn't even check the back cover of that EP. The copy I got was from the library, with some obvious omissions. Thanks for clearing that up.

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  11. Replies
    1. Just wanted 2 let you know what the 187um means. As you know 187 means murder, the um stands for them or him. So Cold 187um means Cold murder them. Pretty cool name actually. But no he wasn't dissin Cold, he was just talking about Dre

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  12. Eazy actually kind of mentions Suge on "Real Muthaphuckkin' G's."He has that line "And on Death Row I hear you getting treated like boot camp."I am assuming he means Dre was getting punked by Suge.

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  13. AnonymousJuly 04, 2011

    EazyE.org we keepin the legacy alive!!!

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  14. AnonymousJuly 04, 2012

    Buy this album. Important west coast album for many reasons. There are no "bad" tracks..and if you don't love "down to the last roach" you ain't from the west coast or rolled around with your boys blazin a fat one with a 10 or 12 bumbin in the back on the ride.

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  15. He was going to make temporary insanity. on YouTube there's a nwa interview on some talkshow were he's wearing a straight jacket and hockey mask and yella said he's not talking because he's preparing his mind for the album he's going to do. Long live E

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  16. UK hip hop mag had a cover story on the never-released album:
    http://imageshack.com/a/img537/4845/eVquTQ.jpg

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  17. you guys are fucking assholes, this review your opinion is stupid because you don't even understand the title. Give Eazy-E some damn respect.this generation full of dumbasses who know nothing about rap, please stop reviewing albums thank you

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