“I don’t (care) what they say,” says rapper Eazy-E, responding to criticism that his material is tasteless and advocates violence.
The rapper’s current disc, the EP “5150 Home 4 the Sick” (5150 refers to a Los Angeles Municipal Code for a person behaving strangely) is a precursor to the Jan. 29 release of a two-album set, “Temporary Insanity,” which will contain 30 rap songs and include a guest appearance by Guns N’ Roses.
His label, Ruthless Records, has entered into a deal with Priority Records to release both the EP and the double album.
The EP’s single, “Only If You Want,” is being played by a handful of radio stations and has been assailed by critics as containing senseless violence scenarios and pushing the boundaries of good taste.
“I’ll let the people decide what they think is good taste,” sniffs Eazy-E, real name Eric Wright. “If critics knew about my stuff, they’d be (rap artists), not writers.”
Eazy-E is a founding member of N.W.A, the pioneering gangsta rap group best known for its trailblazing debut disc, “Straight Outta Compton.” The group’s “Niggaz4life” disc was the first hardcore rap album to cop the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Top 200.
The forthcoming double album was hyped by Priority president Bryan Turner as the “‘War & Peace’ of rap. There are so many aspects to it. Poplike songs to take to radio and street cuts for the rap set.”
Controversy has stalked Wright at every point of his career– N.W.A are the authors of “F—Tha Police”–and the content of the new album is sure to raise further hackles.
“It’s stupid to think that people are going to do things because it says so in a (rap) song,” says Wright, referring to the recent admissions by labels that their corporate parent or distributor refused to release an act’s album because it contained incendiary lyrics.
Wright also objects to Ice-T’s handling of the controversy surrounding the song “Cop Killer.”
“I would never have taken the song off my album,” says Wright. “(Charlton) Heston reading the song’s lyrics, that’s bull, like he really knows about rap.” The actor read Ice-T’s song lyrics during last year’s Time Warner shareholders’ meeting in Beverly Hills.
“They’re gonna shoot cops ’cause they want to, not because they heard a song, ” Wright adds.
Wright says his Ruthless label, which is distributed through CEMA via Priority Records, will release around 18 acts in 1993. Ruthless and Priority share promotion and publicity duties, while Priority uses its own sales people.
The acts will be a mix of “street and commercial rap” acts, according to Wright. Several female rap groups are on tap, as Wright believes female rappers and ragamuffin rap like Chrysalis Records’ act Arrested Development will be the next wave.