With so much hype around the N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton, in theaters this Friday, Aug. 14, just about every angle regarding the legendary group has been covered 10 times over. From interviews with the group’s members, to speaking with the cast and the director, fans have learned plenty about the film in the past two weeks before it’s even been released. However, though Dr. Dre and Ice Cube are understandably leading the charge as the group’s two most recognizable living members, Eazy-E’s surviving family has been largely in the background during the movie’s promotional period.Eazy-E passed away just over 20 years ago, meaning the legendary MC was the only member not able to give input on the highly-anticipated biopic that traces the culture-defining movement that brought the world Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella, as well as the group’s myriad affiliates. Portrayed in the film by Jason Mitchell, who bears a striking resemblance to Eazy, public drama with the deceased rapper’s family nearly tainted the film when Lil Eazy-E, the eldest son of the N.W.A founder, publicly bashed the film’s production last July for not casting him to portray his father while Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., took on the role of Cube.Things have since died down and Lil Eazy has been helping Mitchell in his role. XXL linked with Eazy E’s daughter Erica Wright, a singer/songwriter herself who goes by the stage name E.B., to discuss her take on the film and to give a little more clarity on what happened behind-the-scenes with her family’s involvement in the film. Not only did she break down her thoughts on Jason Mitchell, but she also spoke of Eazy-E’s surviving family’s lack of inclusion in the film, as well as her hope that Straight Outta Compton has a lasting impact on the hip-hop community overall. —Miranda J.Jason Mitchell, left, who plays Eazy-E in Straight Outta Compton, with Eazy’s daughter E.B. Wright.XXL: You were really young when your father passed, 4 years old, correct? Do you remember much?
E.B. Wright: I remember Jerry Heller and a lot of people that were around my dad when he was alive. I’ve heard many stories about my dad and I’ve learned so much throughout my life about him and his legacy… I almost feel like I was there. I’ve heard so much from my mom. My mom was with my father all throughout N.W.A and all that, so I pretty much know a lot. I will say that being the age I am, that a lot of people who are my age and of this generation aren’t as familiar with my father and N.W.A, everything that they’ve done for hip-hop and the culture. So it is very exciting that there will be a movie coming to be able to tell that story.What are your hopes for Straight Outta Compton?
I really just want everybody to get educated on what Eazy-E and N.W.A did for everybody in general. They paved the way. I’m not just talking about the fans, [I want] the consumers and even the actual artists of today [to get familiar]. Some of them might not even know what it took to form the group back then and what they went through to stand their ground and fight for what they believed in and the politics behind it all. N.W.A paved the way for freedom of speech and artistry. I compare that to a person like a Kanye today; back then he might not have had the right to do interviews and really speak his mind and say what he wanted to say freely. Back then, you had to ask if you could have explicit lyrics, if you could speak about crime, poverty and hustling. Now, no artist has to question if that’s going to be allowed and accepted. I honestly feel like my dad opened a lot of doors, even for the artists of today, to say what they want to say and look how they want to look. So I feel along with the fans and my generation, the artists of today will just really get educated and start respecting what came before then. My dad and N.W.A really made all of this possible.I’m excited for people to see the start of it all and how your dad played an influential role in bringing the group to the world. Like how if we didn’t have Eazy-E, there’s no Dr. Dre.
Yeah, if there was no Eazy-E, then there was no Dre . There’s nobody that even trickles down from it, like Eminem, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, The Game, even Ice Cube. Ice Cube wouldn’t even be doing what he’s doing today. All of this. And even N.W.A started from what Eazy-E made happen.I wanted to clarify, because there’s been talk that his surviving family wasn’t really involved in the biopic. Is there any truth to that?
A little bit. Yeah, there’s truth to that.Your brother, Lil Eazy-E, auditioned to play his father in the film. Did you try out for any roles?
No, I didn’t try out. I would have liked to. I spoke on it when they first brought the movie up a couple of years ago because I look a lot like my father. I thought, “A girl could probably pull this off.” I’ve actually been acting my whole life, taking acting classes and I’ve been in drama. I’ve done all that, so I was like, “I could kill this.” But no, I didn’t try out for it.Photo Credit: Raymond BoydI know there was a lot of confusion with your brother not being cast. What were your thoughts on that?
I’m not exactly sure how much he auditioned or what even happened. I would have liked for them to have given him the opportunity, [like] how Ice Cube’s son was given the opportunity to play him. If my brother could have done it, it would have been great. I would have been all for it. But if he wasn’t good enough, I don’t think that it was supposed to be given at all. [I wanted] anybody who was going to do my father’s role justice, which brings me to Jason Mitchell. He played my father. I’m actually really close with him. I did go down to the set a few times and from what I’ve seen Jason killed it. I’m very excited to see the overall movie and I’m in full support of Jason playing my dad, and my brother is, too.I heard Jason Mitchell has been very entrenched in the role. I heard he’s been by your grandmother’s house and all that.
Yeah, I think he definitely really got into the role. He spent time with us. He got to know us. I’m really close with him, actually. I’m excited to see the overall film because I’ve only seen the performance scenes and whatnot. I’ve seen him in the get-up as my dad and I’ve seen the trailers, pictures. To me, I think he did very well.I wanted to talk to you a bit about what you’ve got going on, on your own. I see your dad has impacted you a lot career-wise. But I see your music is very pop-heavy. Did you ever try rapping like your dad?
[Laughs] I only did when I was a kid because I loved music my entire life. I’ve done music and I’ve been singing my whole life. The singing actually runs through my mom’s side of the family. People did kind of suggest, “You should do something a little more rappy,” because of my dad. That’s when I was younger. Then when you go through stuff, you realize who you are and you know what you want to do. I’m really like my dad in that sense, you know, just knowing what I want to do and not really caring about what anybody else says I should be doing. So I stopped rapping completely.You put out a video back in May. Do you have a project coming out?
Yes, that was single I put out. It was produced by Sonny Digital. I know XXL is familiar with Sonny; he’s done everything from [working with] Kanye to 2 Chainz and Drake. He’s one of my best friends. I am working on an EP right now, titled Thee 1 E.B. I’m hoping to release that very shortly after [Straight Outta Compton] comes out, so it’s going to be out around the time of the movie. I’ve been working with Detail, he produced “Drunk In Love.” I’m working with a lot of big names, actually. There are a couple surprise features on the EP.