Only a month away from turning eleven when his father Eazy-E passed in 1995, Lil’ Eazy E now resurrects his father’s birthright in the mixtape “Rebirth of Gangsta Rap – Cali Untouchable Radio 14” featuring the mixing of the DJ Warrior and DJ Strong, also known as the Cali Untouchable DJs, and guest artists from track to track. Collaborating with MixUnit.com, Lil’ Eazy E and West Coast Mixtape Kings, attempt to rectify the loss of gangsta rap.
No one will ever question the fact that Eazy-E was one of the forefathers of gangsta rap. Attempting to continue his father’s deep-seated role in rap, Lil’ Eazy E, now signed to Universal Records, still represents Compton and the return to the rap that was once so admired during his father’s time.
With his harsh lyricism and love for Compton, Lil’ Eazy E prompts a reminder of his father in tracks such as a hard hitting “Prince of the City,” depicting himself as the prince of Compton. Also, with the hook smooth over blaring trumpets, “Jump” sounds decent, but is definitely lacking with Lil’ Eazy’s rather simple lyricism as shown by:
“Jump nigga, you said you a bad nigga, jump
Let your feet leave the ground
By the time you come down
I’m a lay you your ass out
How come I see you down?
I see you down
I see you clown
Aint no hoggin’ you dog
Aint no doggin’ you hog”
In addition, “Coming to Compton” a sampled “It’s Funky Enough” originally from the unofficial sixth member of N.W.A., the D.O.C., as you hear an occasional “it’s Compton.”
Alongside the legacy of Eazy-E, the artists featured on the mixtape bring the otherwise mediocre album to life. Reminiscent of 50 Cent’s “In Da Club,” Spider Loc from G-Unit is featured on “Two Step” which strikes many similarities as it too talks about two steppin’ to the beat at the club. Producer and rapper DL is introduced on many tracks such as “So Gangsta” and “Me & My Gang” featuring samples of Eazy-E. Anyone who lives in L.A. can tell you about the everyday sounds of the “ghetto bird” appropriately heard in the beginning of “Ghetto” which depicts the reality of ghetto life in L.A. over a appealing twang beat as DL shows:
“…Life’s a puzzle in the hood gotta make a trap
Once its gone there aint no way to get it back
It’s a fact and it hurts but the work pays
Get my kids what they need for their birthdays
Since the first grade
I knew how to get cash
Granted said that boys movin’ too fast
In and out of class
Niggas stay on the block
Everywhere nigga go there’s another cop
Another shot, another day, another nigga dead
Another war going on between blue and red
Keep my head to the sky
Thank God he aint take my soul
Hood life this is all I know”
Mav and Famous rhyme over a low, hard piano beat in “Sittin Sideways” on some “gangsta shit” and over yet another fast piano beat, Gangsta Dresta and BG Knocc lyricize about their talents as MC’s on “Gangsta Movement” alongside Lil’ Eazy E ‘s affirmation “Look at me and tell me what you see. It’s Lil E in the flesh / I brought my daddy’s spirit back to resurrect the West.”
As Eazy-E’s protÃ©gÃ©es, the guest spot from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony in “This Aint a Game” still maintain their same uniqueness presented back in the days of “Thuggish Ruggish Bone.” Initially deceiving as it starts with a faint sound of a flute, the tonality changes as the muted ambiance turns into a slow, somber organ. Foreboding with Bone Thugs signature swift, hasty rhymes and tying in some old lines such as, “…gotta make that money mang,” the track ends in a rather dismal note that it “aint a game on the streets.”
To bring it all together, the addition of Eazy-E’s original “Compton City G’s,” amidst the otherwise average tracks, makes us remember why gangsta rap has flourished through the years and why it has remained such a vital part in Cali’s namesake. I still remember first hearing the track back in ’93 and thinking to myself how crazy it was to diss Dre, Snoop, and Death Row in one song, and how it developed into such a long rivalry accompanied by Dre’s attack on Eazy-E in “Fuck with Dre Day.” Ironically, it is said that Lil’ Eazy E is good friends with Curtis Young, aka Hood Surgeon, who is in fact, Dre’s son.
Some disagree that Lil’ Eazy E is the next generation of gangsta rap as we now only have a glimpse as to what is in store for the future until his debut album “Prince of Compton” hits the shelves in 2007. Many criticize that he is following in his father’s footsteps too much and seems to have no individuality, yet others feel as though he is headed in an entirely new direction of gangsta rap, as there are rumors he will join the G-Unit clique. One thing’s for sure – Eazy-E had character, personality, and humor complemented by unforgettable lyricism that will continuously be recited by die hard fans and although Lil’ Eazy E presents a solid ground for new gangsta rap, he will never compare to his late father’s impression.