DNA Project: Straight Outta OC

How the sons of Eazy-E and Dr. Dre plan to write the next chapter of NWA's legacy in . . . Lake Forest?!

But are people ready and willing to hear it—or will they dismiss it as two men trying to please their daddies?

*    *    *

The story of where Young and Wright lived is best told by Bigg A (born Arnold White), who grew up with Dre, Eazy-E, MC Ren, DJ Yella and Ice Cube before N.W.A took off. After Eazy-E died from complications associated with AIDS, Bigg A took Lil E and his brother, Derrick (a.k.a. rapper E3), under his wing in the music business.

"Let me break it down geographically," Bigg A says. Sitting in a back room of the recording studio, he leans down from his swivel chair to dig a square in the carpet with his beefy index finger, dissecting it with three lines. Dre's house was on Thorson Street and Eazy-E's on Muriel Avenue, with Bigg A's in the center on Caress Avenue. Growing up, they were close enough to hop backyard fences to get into one another's houses.

"When N.W.A blew up, [Eazy and Dre] were gone, but Lil E and E3 were still here in their grandma's house, and Curtis lived right here, but they never played with each other," he says.

As kids, Young—who is a few years older—attended public schools and was raised by his mother and a stepfather. Eazy's kids, meanwhile, attended private schools, lived with their grandparents and ran with a different circle of friends in their neighborhood. Neither Young nor Wright ever really spoke to the other. It was a silent code, some would say one written into their DNA—the long-lasting result of the fallout when Dre left Eazy's Ruthless Records and N.W.A, the World's Most Dangerous Group, which they'd started together, to assemble his own label, Death Row Records. Despite fashioning himself into the archetype of a larger-than-life gangsta-rap mogul even though he only reached 5-foot-4, Wright remembers Eazy-E as the funny, crazy parent who would make time for his family when he could. Often, he would do something infinitely harder than managing rappers or pissing off the Man: try to control nine kids on a trip to Disneyland.

"When we had an outing or a weekend together, we all went," Wright remembers. "To us, he was the biggest and baddest thing walking, I don't care how tall he was. And he was the biggest and baddest thing walking in our city, period."

These days, Wright's husky, broad-shouldered build stands a bit taller than his father had. But with a Compton hat and a fresh pair of locs, there's no denying his self-proclaimed role as the Prince of Compton actually sticks.

As far as the argument between Dre and Eazy rearing its head on record—particularly during the release of The Chronic and Eazy's retaliatory It's On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa in 1992 and 1993, respectively, Wright says it wasn't something he ever dealt with directly, even after his father's passing. And before Eazy passed, Dre had even attempted to reconcile with his longtime friend in the hospital. "It didn't hit me till I got older and [understood] what Suge [Knight, hip-hop mogul and Dre's former business partner] really fucked up, and what he and Dr. Dre really made, and I looked at what happened after. You realized that things really got fucked up between them," he says.

Young hopes to detail his experiences growing up in his solo rap recordings, specifically his impending full-length, Product of My DNA, on which he talks about how he wasn't actually told Dre was his father until he was 12 years old, something revealed to him by his stepfather—also named Andre—over the phone. That conversation was recorded and sampled years later for the intro to the song "Show You" on Product of My DNA; elements of that revelation will also be used for the DNA Project. After meeting Dre for the first time at Skybar in LA at age 21 and arranging a paternity test, the conclusive results revealed Dre to be Young's biological father.

"It was overwhelming. It still is," Young, 33, says. "It's something I had to just grow and live with. ['Show You'] will explain a lot of things—just emotions I had to go through as a kid. I didn't even know how to take that [news]. I walked away dumbfounded. Even as a grown man, it's all around me; there's not a day that goes by that I don't hear something about Dre."

Before learning his true lineage, Young says, he actually indirectly learned a great deal from his father, as far as entertaining dreams of being a rapper. This goal was something he'd kept a secret even after discovering the earth-shattering news and sharing it with people. "I did let a lot of friends know who my real father was; my real friends didn't judge me," the rapper says. "People whom I thought were my friends laughed at me, but my real friends just looked at me as Curtis."

As far as Wright and his brother were concerned, the death of their father was something that, while tragic, gave them perspective at a young age about the magnitude of what Eazy-E had meant to the rap world. His legacy as a Compton City G—the first rap artist to have his own label, have two major careers, and be (mistakenly) invited to the White House to dine with President Ronald Reagan at a charity dinner in Levis 501s and a white T-shirt—would never die.

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43 comments
bimborc
bimborc

rich posers...no thank you!...maybe if they were from Santa Ana

KevyKev
KevyKev

OCW getting a  little footnote in west coast rap history? Whodda thunk it? Congrats on the article. Nice job, Nate :)

KevyKev
KevyKev

OCW getting a  little footnote in west coast rap history? Whodda thunk it? Congrats on the article. 

Ro Ar
Ro Ar

Well if Snoop wanted a quiet studio LF is the place. Holy crap though, this article is 5 LONG pages long.

Lucimar Brocatto Acevedo
Lucimar Brocatto Acevedo

This was actually a great piece. No disrespect to other writers, but this was an above average article. Can u imagine being 12 and finding out the dude who's beats inspired you, is actually your dad? Then not meeting him for another 9 years? Anywho, great piece, great writing.

pumpkinteets28
pumpkinteets28

Haha, dope cover. Real in depth piece on these guyss too. We gonna see if the music is as good as the story...

Kj From'Oc
Kj From'Oc

if they need a tour guide...holler at Kj From'Oc...he knows his way around lake forest aka el toro

David Clay
David Clay

whats the phrase? oh studio gangstas

LadyD
LadyD

Great writing...loved the story

Angel Sanchez
Angel Sanchez

2 gangsters with a silverspoon ha ha staright out of the hills

Nicole Enjoli
Nicole Enjoli

Vanessa Young Look whats on my wall :) Hope you all are doing great!!

IE_ChargersFan
IE_ChargersFan

I don't know who edited this article.  There is one factual error:  Eazy E didn't dine with President Reagan.  He dined with President Bush 41.  I remember that incident well.

Harrison Kho
Harrison Kho

Are they gonna write songs about the 405 and suburban "hoes" driving their kids to soccer practice?

Jennifer Kuo
Jennifer Kuo

Didn't Snoop Dogg use to live in Diamond Bar? And in a gated community too.

OC Weekly
OC Weekly

If you read the story, you'll actually see otherwise!

Simon Baty
Simon Baty

I think this is old. And I'm still waiting for an opportunity buy their album when it comes out.

Brennan King
Brennan King

No hint as to where in Lake Forest? Up with the skateboarding companies in Foothill Ranch or down here in incredibly cool Lower Lake Forest?

Erick Sanchez
Erick Sanchez

Watch me take Eazy E & Dr. Dre's sons out the music game..

Mason Ibarra
Mason Ibarra

what they going to rap about life in the suburbs?

EA Prieto
EA Prieto

Well where is the music? They've been in South OC forever and I haven't heard anything.

Jacob S. Lowry
Jacob S. Lowry

looks like these guys are desperately trying to ride the coat tails of their fathers

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

Straight outta Lake Forest

Where the lawns are all green

Yards are trimmed and the pools kept clean...

Gary Cooper
Gary Cooper

There goes the neighbor " Hood " ... :-(

Oscar Ybarra
Oscar Ybarra

Eric Wright Jr is the son of Eazy-E not the name above...

calijs13
calijs13

Where did it say that they where gangstas?

calijs13
calijs13

Where did it say that they

where gangstas?

calijs13
calijs13

Yeah , i think he still does.

calijs13
calijs13

Your right it was Bush. But i belive they made the video like it was Regan.

 
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