The recently released N.W.A. biopic "Straight Outta Compton" has done much more than its purpose from entertainment perspective. Yes, the film set record box office numbers, but it also brought a nearly 20-year-old hip hop conspiracy theory — one of very noteworthy significance — back into the public eye.
At some point in time, from the movie's Aug. 14 release date until about two weeks past, an old video clip of Suge Knight on the "Jimmy Kimmel Show" from 2003 began floating around the web. In the clip, Knight, best known as the former co-founder and CEO of Death Row Records, jokes about Eazy-E's death from AIDS in 1995. Some even believe that Suge is hinting outright at the possibility that he, himself, was directly responsible for Eazy-E's death.
Now let's settle down and back up a minute. Eazy-E, one of N.W.A.'s founding fathers, was always known by the hip-hop community to have a reckless sexual lifestyle, and the movie depicts just as much. In fact, Eazy had seven children with six different women at the time of his death, and those numbers could easily be a bit larger due to unconfirmed cases. He was also rumored to have over 100 sexual partners during his lifetime. At a time in history where contraceptives were largely undervalued, Eazy participated almost exclusively in unprotected sexual intercourse. Tie all those factors together, and you have a recipe that certainly doesn't bode well for your efforts to avoid contracting HIV.
Despite his late father's life choices and the public perception of the whole situation, Eazy-E's son, aspiring rapper Yung Eazy, never bought into the accepted explanation of his father's death. This past week, he posted to Instagram a trimmed clip of Suge Knight's Jimmy Kimmel interview and captioned it with a declaration that Suge Knight killed his father by injecting him with blood containing the HIV virus. And with that, the hip-hop conspiracy theorists crawled out of their cracks and took to the Internet.
Make no mistake, this theory is far from new. Suge Knight has been in and out of all sorts of legal trouble his entire life and is currently in custody awaiting trial for murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run charges. The charges stem from an incident in which Knight ran over two men with his truck after arguing with them (on the set of "Straight Outta Compton," ironically), killing one, who was a close friend of his, and severely injuring the other. His list of legal troubles rivals that of some of the most evil men alive today, and he likely knows more about the Tupac and Biggie murders than he has ever admitted.
In short, if hip-hop fans want to pin Eazy's alleged murder on somebody, Suge would certainly be the prime suspect, as the two were bitter enemies. Around the time of N.W.A.'s breakup, Suge and his men from Death Row physically attacked Eazy in an attempt to forcefully persuade him to release Dr. Dre from his contract with N.W.A.'s, record label, Ruthless Records. Eazy had allegedly plotted to kill Suge after this until Jerry Heller, N.W.A.'s manager, talked him out of it.
The theory behind Suge's murder of Eazy-E suggest that Suge either injected Eazy with AIDS while he was unconscious following the beating over Dre's contract or hired one of Eazy's female companions to inject him while he slept. The entirety of Suge and Eazy's beef is depicted in the movie, and Yung Eazy made a point to mention the fact that his father didn't become sick until after the altercation. To add to the speculation, none of the mothers of Eazy's children have confirmed being infected, including his widow, and none of his children have confirmed being infected either.
Of course, this could just be a sheer coincidence, and in all likelihood, it probably is just that. It is likely that Suge just wanted to create a stir and enhance his image as the most villainous West Coast rap mogul to ever walk the planet, so he just decided to poke fun at Eazy's death. The truth of the matter is that "Straight Outta Compton" has probably fueled a bit of a conspiracy frenzy, where stakeholders want to hold somebody else responsible for Eazy's death, rather than Eazy himself and his serial sexual lifestyle.
But then again, maybe it didn't.
Suge Knight is the most straightforward living example of pure evil that comes to my mind. He has robbed, extorted, murdered and assaulted his way through the first 50 years of his life, and his current offenses could put him away for the rest of it. It would be no stretch to the imagination at all to believe that Suge played a hand in the death of Eazy-E. A man capable of committing the crimes that he has committed is capable of anything, and it is fair to say he would have no remorse about it.
But in all honesty, it probably just didn't happen.