steady stream of cars, some of them blasting the booming bass guitar and
screeching adolescent voice that made him famous, kept rolling slowly down
Harvard Boulevard near the First African Methodist Episcopal Church during a
funeral for rapper and AIDS casualty Eazy-E.
A mix of more
than 3,000 fans, mothers with their children, longtime friends, casual
associates, gang members sporting their colors and record industry insiders
watched as church officials and family members wheeled in a gold coffin layered
with white roses and lilacs. The entrance line swirled nearly around the corner
as security officials pushed back more than a thousand onlookers.
Many of the
people who showed up at the service were teen-agers skipping school, hoping to
catch a piece of history or get a glimpse of the celebrity spectacle as "gangsta"
rap's 31-year-old godfather, whose real name was Eric Wright, was remembered.
co-founder of the influential Compton rap group N.W.A., died of AIDS on March
26. In the late 1980s, N.W.A. won acclaim for painting rap's most evocative and
fierce portraits of life in Los Angeles at street level.
the five former members of the once-world-famous N.W.A., only DJ Yella (Antoine
Carraby) was present as a pallbearer in the services. Organizers did not know if
two others--Dr. Dre (Andre Young) and Ice Cube O'Shea
Jackson)--were in attendance. Cross said the fifth member, MC Ren (Lorenzo
Patterson), did not want to attend.
"Ren just didn't want to see Eazy like this," Cross said.