The Legend of Wooley Swamp

What ever happened to nuance? Jabberwocky is being spewed up by the left and right as they try to drag us into their Wonderlands. This blog charts a path out of this swamp of simple truths and false certainties. And from time to time, it'll be a place for more light-hearted musings.

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Eazy E: AIDS Victim Straight Outta Compton

In case you didn't know: December 1st is World AIDS Day. Please click the tag (btw, that's Welsh) to the left.

This is the sadly abbreviated story of my own relationship to an average - and to some unlikely - AIDS victim.

Back in the days of 1989, I was chilling in my crib in Herzliyya Pituach, Israel. Having just gotten my driver's license and with some diplomatically immune wheels to spin in, I was always on the lookout for road music. So when my father was off to London on a business trip, I had to act. He showed no signs of surprise when I asked him to buy me a very specific CD. I think I wrote down the name of the album "Straight Outta Compton" and the name of the group, N.W.A. (Niggaz with Attitude.) He had no clue, but then again what did I know?

It was all the rage and as an early rap and hip-hop fan, I just knew I had to have it. And fortunately he obliged my yearning for 'noise.' The beats drove him crazy, and if had bothered to the lyrics he might have confiscated the record. I was young, lovin' life and convinced that expressin' yourself was aeeeiiight, and screaming "F*&^k da Police" was what it was all about. There were no Riggs n' Murtaugh around to remind me that even diplomatic immunity can be relative.

At some point N.W.A. atomized: Ice Cube (O'Shea Jackson), Dr. Dre (Andre Young), MC Ren (Lorenzo Patterson), Yella (Antoine Carraby) and Eazy E (Eric Wright) embarked on solo careers. And I bought some of their albums. The music was what it was all about.

Then ten years ago on March 26, 1995 Eric "Eazy E" Wright suddenly passed away. Somehow he had been infected with the HIV virus, and when he contracted pneumonia he was defenseless. He died of AIDS and the world was confused. This supposedly misogynistic, drug dealing and even homophobic hip-hop pioneer was gone, killed by a disease that 'shouldn't' have threatened him. Whether you dispute or second these labels, the fact remains that he was a victim of AIDS.

So drop your intellectual fantasy that poetic justice was served upon a hatemonger or that there was some kind of conspiracy to kill a righteous man. Stop embracing vengeance and paranoia. And start accepting and understanding the problem. Eazy E needs to be remembered both as an exceptional musician and an average AIDS victim.


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Blogger Package said...

That album truly was a revolution- I too remember cruising the streets listening to it over and over. Blast from the past.

1:58 PM  

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