Imagine, for a second, a major pop act like The Black Eyed Peas casually hanging around with the late Eazy-E. How does that image look to you? Pretty hilarious right?
Granted, this was back in the early-90s before Fergie was part of the group, but it’s still crazy to think that The Black Eyed Peas were once signed to Eazy’s Ruthless Records – the very same label that housed N.W.A. and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
In 1992, Black Eyed Peas members, will.i.am and apl.de.ap, along with members, Mookie Mook, DJ Motiv8 and Dante Santiago were part of a hip-hop group called A Tribe Beyond a Nation, and they signed a $10,000 record deal with Ruthless.
“We were signed to Ruthless Records in 1992 because the great Eazy-E looked at us as his Digable Planets,” will.i.am said in an interview. “That was his whole premise. He would tell us, ‘Yo, you guys can be A Tribe Called Quest and Digables except from the West Coast.’ Remember, this was at a time when N.W.A was hip hop right besides Father MC and the Jungle Brothers and Salt-N-Pepa. We were all hip hop.”
The group made their debut on Eazy-E’s 1992 EP, 5150: Home 4 tha Sick, featuring on the track “Merry Muthaphuckkin’ Xmas.” Unfortunately Eazy-E’s death in 1995 would signal the end of the group’s stay on Ruthless Records and they were dropped shortly after.
will.i.am: We don’t celebrate Eazy-E enough. Eazy’s legacy is up to us to hold up. There wouldn’t be a Dr. Dre, no Beats By Dre if it wasn’t for Eazy having that belief in him. There wouldn’t be an Ice Cube as we know him. Eazy set the foundation for people to even have a start. How many people have emulated what Eazy has done in terms of being the street dude who went out and did it on his own? There wouldn’t be a Tupac, a Cash Money or none of that stuff if it wasn’t for Ruthless and Eazy-E. It wasn’t called gangsta rap before N.W.A came out.will.i.am Talks Fergie Rumors, Straight Outta Compton, and Eazy-E’s Legacy | BET