Published Wed, November 23, 2022 at 2:48 PM EST
In 1988, arguably more groundbreaking full-length albums were released than any other single year in Hip-Hop.
The great releases from this pivotal year cut across regional and stylistic lines. Public Enemy, Ice T, NWA, Big Daddy Kane, EPMD, Too Short, King Tee and Schooly D all released some of their best work in '88. Add to that prestigious list NWA member Eazy-E's Eazy Duz It.
Although NWA has roots in The World Class Wreckin' Cru and CIA it was 1987's NWA And The Posse that caught the attention of fans beyond the west coast. The album, largely written by Ice Cube and Doc T (who later became known as The D.O.C.), contained "8 Ball," "Panic Zone," "Dope Man," and "Boyz- N-The Hood." "Dope Man" and "Boyz In The Hood" would be the vehicles that introduced rap fans to NWA and Eazy-E respectively, and those songs would be remixed and featured on NWA's Straight Outta Compton and Eazy-E's Eazy Duz It the next year.
Dropping less than three months after NWA's controversial and game-changing Straight Outta Compton, Eazy Duz It was produced by Dr. Dre and DJ Yella and written by Ice Cube, Ren and The D.O.C. The fact that this was a "family affair" was an advantage to both releases, as their sales and popularity fueled each other.
"Radio" with its "old school rap" vibe mainly due to a loop of Taanya Gardner's "Heartbeat" was one of the early lead singles from the album coupled with the title track and "Ruthless Villain." "Radio" was simply Eazy speaking about his song receiving radio play, while "Ruthless Villain" is essentially a duet between Ren and Eazy over a drum break and a scratched hook.
It was "We Want Eazy" with its live performance video and interpolation of "The Name is Bootsy" by Bootsy's Rubber Band that became the biggest track from the project. Video shows like Yo! MTV Raps, Video Music Box and Bet's Rap City kept the video in heavy rotation, adding to the success and popularity of the album.
"Eazy-er Said Than Dunn" with its video starring NWA was another hit that received heavy rotation and helped to fuel the growing NWA frenzy that was now taking place.
"Still Talkin'," "Nobody Move," "2 Hard Muthas" and "No More Questions" complete one of '88's most talked about and celebrated albums, and Eazy's only full-length album released while he was alive. The album was certified two times platinum and peaked at #41 on Billboard 200 and #12 on the Top Hip-Hop/R&B chart.
Eazy Duz It represents one of "Gangsta Rap's" earliest success stories, and it is a major part of its birth.