If you want to get a deeper and more complete understanding of the beef between Dr. Dre and Eazy E you might want to start at the very beginning with the full N.W.A. story. If not then read on
As most know by now Eric ‘Eazy E’ Wright and Andre ‘Dr. Dre’ Young were childhood friends who came from the same Compton neighborhood, only difference being Eazy was a local dealer with a street rep and Dre was an aspiring DJ and member of an electro pop group called World Class Wreckin Cru. This stark difference in gangster rap credibility would come back to haunt Dre in later years. After eventually leaving the group in 1986 along with fellow Wreckin Cru member DJ Yella, Dre sought an opportunity with Eazy E and together with Ice Cube and MC Ren they formed NWA. The group would enjoy a run of phenomenal success until Ice Cube left in 1990 over pay and mismanagement.
Not long after Cube’s exit, Dre had some contractual questions of his own that needed answering. Not happy with the way Ruthless records manager Jerry Heller was running things, he approached Eazy with an ultimatum that he either gets rid of Jerry or he will walk away from the group. Eazy made the decision to keep Jerry and so it was that Dre left the worlds most dangerous group without it’s star producer. All of these internal issues within N.W.A and Ruthless staff where taking place under the watchful eye of Marion Suge Knight, a 6 foot 5, 335 pound bodyguard hired by Ruthless management.
It has been suggested that during his time working at Ruthless, Suge had seen a business opportunity in Dre and so he began planting seeds that would ultimately break the friendship between Dre and Eazy. Suge had a vision to start up his own record label and with Dre wanting to be free of his Ruthless ties, Suge positioned himself to take full advantage of the situation.
“I always blamed him (Dr. Dre) leaving, on me not being really aware enough to think that a guy like Suge Knight, who was a 70 dollar a day bodyguard at Ruthless, could come between Eazy and Dre. I never thought that could happen and I blame myself for that”
Dre knew Eazy wasn’t going to let him just walk away from the group and with Suge’s criminal past and intimidating stature he wasn’t under any illusions that things might get messy to get where he wanted to be.
Then Suge Knight (allegedly) got that business handled on the night of April 23rd 1991. Eazy E claimed he was ambushed in a Hollywood recording studio and forced to sign a document releasing Dr. Dre from Ruthless records.
“The first time he signed, I think he signed Mickey Mouse or something like that, and so they roughed him up a little bit, and then they started showing pictures of his mothers house, and of the address where she lives. He didn’t want anything to happen to his mom so he signed under duress”
Ruthless records immediately filed a Federal racketeering lawsuit claiming Dr. Dre’s release was invalid. Heller said he and Eazy E feared for their lives. According to Heller, Eazy was even contemplating extreme measures to settle the beef.
But Dre-Day Only Make Eazy’s Pay-Day.
The racketeering lawsuit was eventually dismissed and Eazy agreed to let Dre go, reportedly in exchange for a percentage of his future profits. And those future profits would turn out to be substantial.
Dre and Eazy War On Wax
Dre’s solo debut ‘The Chronic,’ featured a new rapper called ‘Snoop Doggy Dogg.’ and went on to sell over 4 million copies. But the bad blood between Dre and Eazy continued. Dre lashed out with his song ‘Dre Day,’ ridiculing Eazy and Jerry Heller. In the Dre Day music video release, Eazy is depicted as an Uncle Tom running round under the control and influence of Jerry Heller.
“Don’t even respect your ass
That’s why it’s time for the doctor, to check your ass, n***a
Used to be my homey, used to be my ace
Now I wanna slap the taste out yo mouth
N***a bow down to the row
Fuckin me, now I’m fuckin you, little hoe”
Eazy struck back hard with his answer song ‘Real Muthaphukkin g’s,’ taking aim at Dre’s street credibility.
“Damn it’s a trip
how a n***a could switch so quick from wearing lipstick
to smoking on Chronic at picnics, and now you think your bigger
but to me you ain’t nothing but a bitch ass N***a
who ain’t worth a food stamp, and at
Death Row, I hear your getting treated like Boot camp”
Dre and Eazy Beef, Escalates To A Death Row / Ruthless War
It wasn’t long before artist’s associated with each camp would become embroiled in the Eazy-Dre beef too. From harmless diss records like Kokane and Above The Law’s “Don’t Bite The Funk,” to more serious confrontations like the time Nate Dogg smacked Gangsta Dresta with a golf club. Everybody got caught up in the mix. Below is a timeline infographic of some things that went down during the Death Row Ruthless war.