An unflinching star of the West Coast gangsta rap scene, Eazy-E's controversial rhymes and cartoonish delivery made him a key member of legendary collective N.W.A and one of hip hop's most influential MCs, before his premature death. Raised in the tough Compton ghettos, Eric Wright, aka Eazy-E, dropped out of school and sold drugs in his teens before recording songs in his parents' garage, starting his own label Ruthless Records with Jerry Heller in 1987. Signing up the finest talent in his neighbourhood, including Dr Dre, Ice Cube, DJ Yella and MC Ren, they all teamed up for the label's debut release N.W.A And The Posse (1987), from which Eazy-E contributed the seminal gangsta rap anthem Boyz-n-the-Hood. N.W.A's classic track F*ck Tha Police became the soundtrack to Los Angeles riots in 1992, but Eazy's financial control caused a volatile feud that split the group and started a violent rivalry with Suge Knight's Death Row Records. His solo album Eazy-Duz-It (1988) was recognised as one of the genre's great moments, but his thuggish, outlaw image started to descend into a caricature and his bravado caused riffs with most of the hip hop community. Diagnosed with AIDS in February 1995, Eazy's openness and honesty about the disease helped raise awareness, but the rapper died suddenly a month later. His posthumous album Str8 Off Tha Streetz Of Muthaphukkin Compton (1995) reached Number 3 in the US charts and his legacy went on to inspire the likes of Eminem, Jay Z and Nas.