Before we get into this next post, I would be remiss to not shout out a fallen music icon and a product of my city, Prince Roger Nelson. You will live forever through your music. May you rest in heavenly peace.
One of the last albums I reviewed from 1992 was Eazy E’s 5 song ep, 5150:Home 4 Tha Sick. If you didn’t read the review, feel free to catch it here, or let me sum it up for you in two short words: hot mess. A few weekends ago while rummaging through the used cd bins at one of the few remaining music stores in Minneapolis (what up Cheapos?!), I came across a copy of Eazy’s solo debut album Eazy-Duz-It. So, since one of my many collection goals is to own the entire catalogs of the members of N.W.A., and one of my readers told me I would enjoy it (I see you DJG!), and additionally the price was right, I copped it.
Eazy-Duz-It was released just over a month after the release of N.W.A.’s debut album Straight Out Of Compton. Dr. Dre would handle the production duties (Yella is given a production credit as well, even though Dre does the heavy lifting) and even though the liner notes don’t give them credit, it’s been well documented that Eazy’s rhymes were penned by the collective of Ice Cube, Ren and The D.O.C.
Eazy-Duz-It would benefit from the momentum and buzz that Straight Out Of Compton created, eventually earning the dry jerry curled rapper a platinum plaque, selling over 2 millions copies in the states, alone.
By the way, congratulations to the N.W.A. on their recent induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. Now, let’s jump into this album…
(Prelude) Still Talkin’ – This one opens with The D.O.C. and Ice Cube doing their best old man impersonations, as they brag about knowing Eazy since he was a little guy (At the end of the song The D.O.C. boast about knowing him since he was knee-high, to which Cube replies “he still is knee-high”). Then Dre drops an instrumental built around a funky guitar loop that Eazy actually sounds decent rapping (or talking his shit) over. Granted, he didn’t write the verses but he still sounds decent.
Nobody Move – Dre loops up a funky Rufus Thomas guitar loop for the backdrop, as Ren assists Eazy in recalling the details of a failed bank robbery. Is it just me or is it pretty hypocritical for a man committing armed robbery to refer to those he’s victimizing as “crazy motherfuckas”? And it sounds like Eazy may have run into Caitlyn Jenner in his second verse. This was actually pretty solid.
Ruthless Villain – Ren returns to help Eazy on this one, and actually does most of the heavy lifting. It’s not often that a rapper spends the length of his verses boasting about the greatness (or in this case the gangsterness) of another rapper; but that’s exactly what Ren does on this one, leaving Eazy to only recite the same 4 bars after each of Ren’s two verses. The verses are okay, but Dre’s bare bones drum machine instrumental kind of brings this one down.
2 Hard Mutha’s – Yella plays live drums on this one (at least the discussion in the intro leads you to believe that, as Yella insist they let him play because he used to “fuck it up” back at Compton High). They lay a simple guitar loop over it, as Eazy and Ren (for the third consecutive song) tag team the microphone. It turns out that Yella is pretty nice on the drums; he’s no Questlove, but he’s decent. This was better than the previous song but still not spectacular.
Boyz-N-The Hood(Remix) – Eazy shares a few of his experiences growing up in the hood (that he more than likely made up) on this one. This song originally appeared on the 1987 release N.W.A. And The Posse (another album that I’ll have to track down eventually). Other than a few alterations to Eazy’s first verse, this plays just like the original. I love the drum break during the hook; it reminds me of The Neptunes’ drums on the Clipse’s “Grindin'”. Or vice versa.
Eazy-Duz-It – After Dre’s real life baby mama Michel’le gets disrespected by Eazy (while in Dre’s presence) for singing praises to Eazy, he drops a sick bass line that sounds like its going to be a monster track for this title song. Then it stops, goes a different direction and everything from that point on is pretty mediocre. It was cool to hear a brief sample of the organ from the beginning of Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” during the bridge of this one. May both of these brothers rest in peace.
We Want Eazy – This was the lead single from Eazy-Duz-It. I never cared much for Dre’s cheesy synthesized instrumental and Eazy’s barely decent rhymes. Come to think of it, this maybe the reason I never checked for this album until now.
Eazy-Er Said Than Dunn – Now this is more like it. Dre slides Eazy a slick instrumental (which samples yet another Rufus Thomas’ record) that he uses to recite solid rhymes over (which I’m quite certain were penned by The D.O.C.). At the end of “Eazy-Duz-It” Eazy mentions he was born in 1973; and again during “We Want Eazy”, Ren brings it up again, calling Eazy a liar for the claim. If you do the math, that would make Eazy 15 when this song was released. He ends the hoax on this song admitting it was a lie. I’m still not sure why he would want people to think he was fifteen in the first place. I’m pretty sure this was the second single released from the album, and in my opinion, the best song on Eazy-Duz-It.
Radio – Eazy was so excited about getting his music in radio rotation, he wrote a song about it. You wanna hear it? Here it go. Dre builds the instrumental around a loop of Taana Gardner’s “Heartbeat” (which would later be sampled by reggae artist Ini Kamoze on his hit record “Here Comes The Hotstepper”), and you can’t go wrong with that loop. Eazy manages to sound decent on this one, and overall the song is as well.
No More ?’s – This song plays as an interview, with a woman asking Eazy-E some of the most moronic questions I’ve ever heard (“Were you ever caught slipping?” “What would be the situation when you so-called ganked someone?” “Were you slick?” “So you’re not exactly a role model?”). Based on Eazy’s delivery and cadence, it pretty obvious that Cube wrote his verses. Dre’s instrumental might have worked in ’88, but it doesn’t translate well in 2016.
I’mma Break It Down – Dre hooks up a simple (but effective) up-tempo backdrop for Eazy, and surprisingly, Eazy keeps pace with it and actually sounds pretty good reciting Ren’s rhymes over it.
Eazy-Chapter 8 Verse 10 (B.U.L.L.S.H.I.T.) – Eazy takes a stab at a spoken word piece, which as the title suggest is supposed to work as a sort of hood scripture (not sure if the 8:10 is random or if there is some significance to these chosen numbers, but if you know, hit me in the comments). This song is best described by the letters between the parentheses in the song title.
Compared to 5150:Home 4 Tha Sick, Eazy-Duz-It is a lot more quality listen. A lot of Dre’s production has an east coast feel to it, and some of it is really dope. Eazy sounds decent (at times), but I’m not crazy about giving too much credit to a puppet emcee. With all of that said, Eazy-Duz-It tends to miss as often as it hits, so standing on its own without comparison, it makes for only a decent listen.