The Savage Animal 11.29.12: The Videography of Eazy-E
Posted by Mikey MiGo on 11.29.2012
It’s argued that Eazy-E was one of the most politically correct musical performers of all time. In the 320th edition of The Savage Animal Mikey MiGo takes a look at the warm and fuzzy videography of Eazy-E. This, a rant about Twin Peaks, a review of The Watch, and more!
You should watch Twin Peaks, but first let's get the backstory of all of this.
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to film and television. I love the entire process; be it writing, directing, the acting, the editing, the music, the casting, the trailers, the posters, the trailers, and the deep rooted history of it all. I'm not claiming to be an expert on any of it, but I value my appreciation of the audio/visual arts. Right now we're in a "golden age of television". Some of the best television series ever made are currently on right now. The cable networks raised the bar with shows like Sopranos, Larry Sanders Show, Six Feet Under, and other "older shows". From there it was like a trickledown effect. Basic cable soon joined in on the quality, AMC and FX especially. Now the networks are upping their game and the overall quality of television series in general is at an all-time high. Sure there are the Kardashians, Honey Boo-Boo, and things like that but it's so much easier to completely ignore these fads now. I've never seen Jersey Shore and I take pride in that. There is more than enough quality programming to watch right now. This wasn't always the case.
This all goes back to Twin Peaks. For years I've heard about it, read the name, and have heard the talks about how good of a show it was. I never watched it. I barely knew who was in it and knew pretty much nothing about it. I've taken in so many shows, but a show from the early 90's on network TV that is often spoken of in the same sentence as "it sucks it got cancelled so early" did not seem all that appealing. I had nothing new to watch so I finally caved in to the peer pressure and the old school hype. It was only two seasons and a movie… why not? What is the worst that can happen?
Well, I watched Twin Peaks and it sucks it got cancelled so early. This show was so far ahead of its time that it's going to always be considered a pinnacle in television history. This show was on ABC in 1990 and ended in 1991. They didn't get much time, but what they did left a HUGE impact in the way people perceive television. It turned it into a cinematic art, kind of like an "independent film" feel because of how it was all put together and the style. It got huge ratings for a while but dropped off. This lead to ABC getting involved with their creative side of the show and forcing them to screw the pooch. This led to the show getting canned. The cult following lead to a 1992 prequel film that's set before the television show's time frame. How bad ass is that? This show, Firefly, and soon Arrested Development are the only shows I can really think of that have done this. Good company and they were first so good on them.
David Lynch put together a great world here. The show follows an investigation headed by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) of the murder of a popular teenager and homecoming queen, Laura Palmer. The story intertwines the lives and stories of a whole bunch of interesting personalities and characters. It's a small town with tons of creepy 1950's surrealness. I think that's what makes it easy to watch. An early 90's show could be cheesy and dated, but the surreal blur of the times is one of my cool reasons this show was and is one of the best shows out there.
The cast is made up of all-star character actors getting to play some of the most entertaining and interesting characters of their careers. There are a slew of great actors involved. Kyle MacLachlan plays "Agent Cooper", the lead, like a champ. He is uplifted, optimistic, practical, unjudging, and really smart and centered. I can't think of many characters like his. Most writers and actors take these types to a more naïve route or they have them have some kind of weird kinky backstory. Nope. Cooper is just a nice bad ass cool guy who just so happens to get inspiration from dreams and an open mind. It doesn't end there. Michael Ontkean is "Sheriff Harry S. Truman". At first you think he's going to be a lame "small town sheriff" that you'd see in a Murder She Wrote episode. Nope. Substance and depth. The same thing is said for all of the characters. You see people as their stereotypes and their crazy quirks, but the more you watch it the more you understand them. The character arcs and depth we get from just about every main character is outstanding and good enough to be leads of their own shows. In many ways they got their chance with this one because the stories, even the minor side stories, are as interesting as you'll find in the best of shows. Along with these two were Mädchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, Richard Beymer, Harry Goaz, Sheryl Lee, Peggy Lipton, James Marshall, Joan Chen, Eric Da Re, Piper Laurie, Everett McGill, Kimmy Robertson, Warren Frost, Michael Horse, Jack Nance, Russ Tamblyn, Kenneth Welsh, and the always awesome Ray Wise. Two others that stood out were Sherilyn Fenn and Lara Flynn Boyle. Fenn was great in this. I don't understand how she didn't become a huge huge star. Then Lara Flynn Boyle! I'm a huge fan of Wayne's World so I had to say to myself "I don't even own AH gun." Every time I saw her. I got past this quickly because of how interesting of an actress she is and how weird her character was. I wanted to know more about where that was going for sure.
I won't ramble too long. Twin Peaks is one of those shows that gets tons of "cult classic" hype and buzz. Shows like this get praised and acclaimed for a reason. The way people talk about "The Wire" after experiencing it is pretty much the same feeling here. You feel dumb for missing out, but enlightened and now part of a group of very cool viewers of a very cool show. I can't stress enough how surreally really cool this show was. It takes you for a ride and doesn't slow down. Sure there are a few pot holes on the road, but it's a great trip. I dare anyone to watch this entire series and not have to give up at least a little part of themselves to "Bob". Watch this if you haven't! If you have… I know! Holy shit, right?!
THE VIDEOGRAPHY OF EAZY-E
Rest In Peace… "Eazy is his name and the boy is comin..."
Eric Wright was born in September of 1963 and died in March of 1995. The years between would see this native of Compton, California be part of one of the biggest rises in hip hop history. While artists like Run DMC opened the door of hip hop to the masses before them, Eazy-E and a group of rappers going by "N.W.A" would scare the shit out of them. They brought "gangster rap" and the grit and hard times of the streets to the world. With the ever-so controversial album "Straight Outta Compton" the group would make themselves one of the most important, most respected, and biggest acts of all time.
The group would disband in 1991 and everyone would go their own ways. By this point Ice Cube was already out there on his own and Dr. Dre was on his way to dropping "Da Chronic" and making even more history. Meanwhile, Eazy-E just didn't give a fuck.
He didn't conform, water himself down, or shy from any of the same topics that brought him hassles before. He'd keep putting out his own material until the end when he was diagnoses with AIDS.
The main issue is his over the top lyrics. Even after the controversy of N.W.A, he kept dropping whatever he wanted. He had no problems in bringing up some crazy shit. It was never a problem for him to be considered a chauvinist, to be talking about racists, to be talking unheard of stuff about the police, to be making threats towards his enemies, and just to be the epitome of an unfiltered mind in the shittiest of circumstances in the shittiest of times.
Hopefully these videos offend you…
Track: "Eazy-er Said Than Dunn"
Director: John Lloyd Miller
The start of this sees E and a few of his NWA partners trying to get into a club to get a new album some attention. From there, we go right into it. E is on top of a car, by brick wall, and a few standard locations. The animated gun shots are violent-fun and the cool spiral swipe editing is interesting and pretty cool, especially considering the time and the production limitations. This has to be one of Eazy-E's most radio friendly singles he had. It wasn't too out there, but it got the job done. Rating: 6.5
Track: "We Want Eazy"
Director: J. Kevin Swain
This is a pretty creative video. Eazy-E casually walks down the street past a cop harassing someone. The cop notices him and then chases after. We get a fun chase scene on foot with the bold cut to E being in jail. He's got Ice Cube there and all is good. Someone has access to video equipment and all seems to be good. We cut to a live crowd with Dre and Ren getting the crowd hyped up. A screen is on stage where Eazy-E shows up "Live from Compton Jail" Via Satellite. He raps to the camera as the live crowd gets hyped up. It's a cool way to make him seem "scary" and "dangerous". The verse at like 3:30 in is great. In true outrageous fashion, a girl is interviewed in the middle of the song to ask "why he wears his pants like that?" His answer is "easy access". What?! At the end, Eazy-E shows up for the live crowd and cuts another verse. And the crowd… goes… wild! I think I enjoyed this video more than most people would because it reminds me of a few scenes in CB4. I have a feeling that'll happen again during these videos… Rating: 7.0
Track: "Only If You Want It"
Album: "5150: Home 4 tha Sick"
Director: Mark Gerard
I remembered Eazy's videos in a blur. It's been a long time and these videos were coming out when I was in grade school. This is what I imagined an Eazy-E video would look like. The camera shots roam from drag racing, booty shaking, low riders, tons of hydraulic bounces, booty shaking, a bad ass little kid, and did I mention the booty shaking? It's all here! At about two minutes in women in white tops and thongs are sprayed down with either a hydrant or fire hose. This video has a lot of craziness, but it's still balanced in the world of Eazy videos. This video takes one step back in the violent department and one step forward in the sex department. Poise! I don't even have to mention Eazy's lyrics are ridiculous, offensive, over the top, and great. Rating: 8.5
Track: "Neighborhood Sniper"
Album: "5150: Home 4 tha Sick"
If "Only If You Want It" was raunchier, then THIS video takes violent up to a whole new level. It's rainy out as Eazy goes into a building and appears on top. He looks through a sniper scope and STARTS SHOOTING! Chaos ensues and he shoots some video cameras. The choppers and cops storm the scene and chase after him as he descends down the side of the building. This whole scenario is cut with him sitting in a room just rapping at the camera. Cuts of guns and bullets are all added in there too for good measure. The dude carves his name into the side of bullet! It's a pretty intense video. I have never seen 50 or current rappers go this far. If you didn't know better you'd think this was a confession. Yikes! Rating: 7.0
Track: "Real Muthaphuckkin G's"
Album: "It's On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa"
Director: Marty Thomas
This video and song gets a little real. Eazy-E does not sugar coat anything here. You know who he's talking about, how he feels, and what he wants to do. The lyrics like "Muthaphuck Dre! Muthaphuck Snoop! Muthaphuck Death Row! Here comes my death blow" make it VERY clear. As cars bounce, the camera roams the streets as another ode to Compton. Eazy just stands his place and owns it. You see a lot of rap videos that use this kind of formula. A dude will stand there in his neighborhood with people around them. It's nothing new, but Eazy's presence stands out. This was "THE VIDEO" back when it came out. Dre had the video with the "Sleazy E" parody character. The memorable image is the mockery holding up the "Will Rap for Food" sign. In this video E and his people go after the spoof and attack. With his own jab, he gets in shots of Dre from the 80's in the pop group he was in. It's kind of embarrassing and pretty funny to keep popping up with. E gets pretty liberal with shooting an invisible gun at the camera. Then a little bit onward he sits in a car and waves a handgun around. Wow. Most would agree that this is more of a battle call or proclamation of war than an album selling device. You can hear the tension in the words, but to see it takes it to a whole new level of controversy. Rating: 9.0
Track: "Any Last Werdz"
Album: "It's On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa"
Director: Edward Louderback
This is for sure the most "artsy" of the videography of Eazy-E. The opening has some mentions of the end of the world in "1999". Its night time and people are hanging out by cars in a somewhat eerie atmosphere. These shots are cut with creepy cuts of dark imagery. We see cool shots of Eazy rapping in front of what looks like a clock tower from a Tim Burton movie. The story is that Eazy-Z kills someone and is there for their funeral. The most unsettling shot is the twins sitting on the couch. One appears dead and resting on the shoulder of the living one. Really creepy. It's like a "gothic hip hop" video. Very inspired video and pretty damn innovative for the time. Rating: 8.5
Track: "Just tah Let U Know"
Album: "Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton"
This was one of Eazy-E's last recorded tracks before passing away on March 26th, 1995. So obviously, this is a posthumous music video. A DJ introduces Easy Z as we go through shots of Compton as we see images of Eazy. There is a lot of old footage and shots. It's a nice dedication for sure. Two things really stood out. The first is the back shot of "Eazy" driving around Compton. It looks weird. Is it even him? The second thing is the close up shot of a pager! Those things need a comeback. Rating: 6.5
What is YOUR favorite Eazy-E music video?
When I first saw trailers for "The Watch" I was curious, but not that into it. I was excited to see the awesome Richard Ayoade in a featured role and anytime Jonah Hill gets on my screen is a good thing. My weary issues were with Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn. I was never a huge Stiller fan, but especially after his past few movies. They just seemed to lack the "edge" that a guy in his late 20's with no kids would appreciate. Vince Vaughn has had some of my favorite modern comedic performances, but he can still find himself in stuff that's just not my cup of tea. The premise seemed hokey and I figured it would be a tame movie with predictable and lame jokes. It was better than I expected. It movie revolves around Stiller's character. He is the manager at a local store and one of his employees is murdered. He gets a "neighborhood watch" together and the rest of the stars show up. Vince Vaughn just wants to do "dude things", Richard Ayoade is just weird, and Jonah Hill is an aggressive jerk. It's all works out. These grouping of skilled comedic actors resulted in a pretty fun chemistry. I'll be honest and say I didn't expect it to be as fun to watch as it was. After about an hour of antics, they run across an alien! This is when the movie shifts in a totally different direction. The tone shifts so much that it's hard to really process what's going on. It takes a few more minutes before the next big twist happens. Then the whole movie is changed into something else. That makes for an interesting movie. It's entertaining and amusing enough and then it changes and is still entertaining and amusing. What happens next? It changes and CONTINUES to be entertaining and amusing. I like the variety they throw at you, but it could also be jarring to a normal movie fan. The movie then shifts into ANOTHER direction. It gets kind of crazy and over the top. It reminds me of an 80's comedy or even Tom Hank's "The Burbs". It's not perfect, but it's fun. The rest of the cast was cool too. Will Forte has a fun role in the creepy cop, Billy Crudup is a "golden god" in the spot as the creepy neighbor, and there is a quick and hilarious cameo of "The Lonely Island" guys if you don't blink during a part you'll insist on blinking through. Rosemarie DeWitt gets the job of being Stiller's wife. I'm always a fan of hers and even in her limited role she brought charm to the movie. Her loving Stiller's character made him more likeable for sure. It's not the best movie I saw this year. I've seen a few comedy movies that I liked better for sure. That doesn't make this a bad movie. It'll be a good movie to catch in the afternoon on a weekend or a movie to pick up on a rental on boring night. It's a step in the "edgier" direction for Stiller and Vaughn while Hill and Ayoade pretty much carry the movie with their weird and fun characters. If you're a comedy fan then check it out. B
"HYDE PARK ON HUDSON"
Bill Murray is playing President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Holy shit! That is awesome. I'll only get interested in a period piece like this every so often. I really dug "The King's Speech", but a lot has passed since then. In this movie FDR and Eleanor are hosting the King and Queen of England at the Roosevelt home in Hyde Park. It's 1939 so Britain is heading to war with Germany. They want FDR's backing so that leads to another aspect to the first reigning monarch visit to America. There is family drama and hijinks going on as well to add an extra layer of interest. To be honest, I don't want to know that much about this. I just want to see Bill Murray do what he does. That on its own is always worth the price of admission.
That's all for this week. Eazy-E is always a heartwarming artist to cover. In all honesty, he was a huge innovator of the times and his work is still as edgy and topical as it was twenty years ago. Next week I take a look at the "Tao of John Mayer". He's a talented dude, but so are the women he "hooks up with". How talented? We'll rank them… on talent! Until next time… Have a Great Week!