Remember When: Eazy-E and Dr. Dre’s NWA-Ending Feud

Though Ice Cube had departed from N.W.A. after their wildly successful 1988 debut album Straight Outta Compton due to royalty disputes, the group’s founder Eazy-E did all he could to keep the wheels turning. However, the same conflict of interest that led to Cube’s exit, which was Eazy’s business relationship with N.W.A.’s manager Jerry Heller, would also eventually turn Dr. Dre against the group.

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After putting out an EP in 1990 titled 100 Miles and Runnin’ and a sophomore album in 1991 dubbed N****z4Life, N.W.A.’s full breakup began to take place. It all started because of Dr. Dre’s bodyguard and close friend Suge Knight, who began noticing the preferential treatment Eazy received from Heller. As Eazy and Heller both ran Ruthless Records, the label N.W.A. was signed to, Knight did not feel Dre was being compensated properly.

“The split came when Jerry Heller got involved,” Dre said in Dr. Dre: The Biography, published in 2007. “He played the divide and conquer game. Instead of taking care of everybody, he picked one n***a to take care of and that was Eazy. And Eazy was like, ‘I’m taken care of, so fuck it.'”

[RELATED: Behind the Spine-Tingling Album Cover for N.W.A.’s ‘Straight Outta Compton’]

Taking one of N.W.A.’s most important songwriters with him, The D.O.C., Dre hoped to break away from N.W.A. and Ruthless to launch a solo career, aided by Death Row Records, formed by him and Knight. But, Eazy was reluctant to release Dre from his Ruthless contract. This is where things got messy.

With Knight’s large stature and street affiliations, he decided to strong-arm and intimidate Eazy into signing over Dre’s rights to Death Row, an instance that was recreated in a scene from the 2015 N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. Check out the clip below.

This tactic proved to be successful and was a major turning point in Dre’s career. Soon after, Dre would put out his debut solo LP The Chronic in late 1992, the first ever Death Row Records release. For the album’s second track, titled “Fuck wit Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’)” featuring Snoop Dogg, Dre would use most of the song to diss Eazy, as it was clear to see how betrayed he felt.

Your dick on hard from fuckin’ your road dogs
The hoods you threw up with, n****s you grew up with
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 homie, used to be my ace
Now I wanna slap the taste out your mouth
Make you bow down to the Row

Eazy would issue a response the following year with a solo EP titled It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa, which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200. Including the song “Real Muthaphuckkin G’s,” placed second on the track list, Eazy named dropped Dre quite a few times.

Damn, E, they tried to fade you on Dre Day’
But Dre Day only meant Eazy’s payday

Eazy and Dre’s disdain for one another would remain for a few more years, up until the moment Eazy was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in early 1995. This would see all the N.W.A. former members reconcile and rally around Eazy, though he would eventually lose his life in March 1995.

Photo By Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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