At the beginning of March 1996, I was asked to write for a hip-hop magazine called On the Run. The guy who created the magazine, Gary Daniels, was friends with everybody in the scene. One day he’d wander into work and say he was up all night doing backing vocals on Yo-Yo’s new album.
When he had his first staff meeting I told him I dug hip-hop, but I can’t write that style, that Source Magazine style. The readers would know I’m full of shit. I don’t call songs “joints,” and friends aren’t “peeps.” As the sole white guy on staff, he asked what I wanted to do, I said I wanted to write articles on what is affecting the community, stuff like how the Regan era introduced crack to the inter-cities, etc.
The staff meeting was at Angelina’s on Sepulveda in Sherman Oaks, great food.
A week or so later, Gary asked me at work if I had heard about “E?” I asked who’s E? He said Eazy E. I said, I know who Eazy E is, but we’re not on the first initial basis.
Gary said Eazy is in the hospital with the flu or whatever.
On March 26, 1996, we were supposed to meet for breakfast at the Denny’s on Ventura Blvd. Gary walks in looking haggard. I ask him what’s wrong, and he tells me that, “Eazy is doing really badly and people having been saying he has AIDS, not the flu.”
We sit, order and Gary pulled out his over-sized text-based pager and yells, “Oh, my god, E is dead.” He jumped up and ran out of the restaurant.
I didn’t see Gary around for a few weeks. When he finally came back to work I asked him about the magazine and the deadlines and he was burnt-up. He just gave up on the magazine altogether.
I only met Eazy once. Back when he lived at The Summit in Woodland Hills, he would hang out a lot at the Topanga Mall. I bumped into him at the directory in the center of the Plaza. I looked over and this little guy was checking three pagers, he looked over, lowered his locs and smiled. He said, “Too many women.” And walked off.
RIP Eric Wright