Despite a report that he was unhappy with the casting, Eric Wright, Jr. – the son of N.W.A rapper Eazy-E who records as Lil Eazy-E – tells Rolling Stone he has embraced Jason Mitchell, the actor portraying his father in the Ice Cube–produced N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton. “Jason has come to my grandmother’s house where I was born and raised, where my father was born and raised and where N.W.A started,” Lil Eazy-E says. “I reached out to him to give him the support and any advice he needs. He has a big burden on his shoulders to bring forth the character and legacy of my father and the legacy of N.W.A, period.”
Earlier this week, TMZ wrote that Lil E was “outraged” that Ice Cube had cast his own son in the movie but did not cast Lil E to portray his father. The younger rapper claims he was misquoted and that he has no ill will for Ice Cube. “[TMZ] just asked me, ‘You’re not mad? Everyone in the office is mad,'” he said. “I said, ‘OK, well, why don’t you put it that “TMZ is mad at Cube?”‘ ‘Oh, we can’t do that politically.’ If they can understand the political value in that, how can you not understand the political value of what’s going on in the situation in why I did not get the role?
“I’m not upset about [the casting],” adds the rapper. “What Cube did was a great thing and a loving father, that you’re supposed to do for your family and your legacy.” As for how he feels about Ice Cube, Lil E said, “Besides my father, that’s the person I was inspired by; that’s like an idol to me.”
Despite the lack of animosity, Lil Eazy-E tells Rolling Stone that “I wish I could have got [the part].” He says the casting director told him he was talented and gave him some advice, saying he needed to lose some weight, but he felt he had the look and the attitude down pat. He even worked with two acting coaches in preparation for a private audition, outside of the open casting call. “I don’t think anybody can do it better,” he said. “It’s what I’ve been doing for the past 10 years of my career. I came out on Hip Hop Honors years ago and performed in front of Cube and Russell Simmons and they told me I was a striking resemblance.”
Now the rapper just hopes that the movie does right by his father in telling Eazy E’s part of the N.W.A story. He has his sights set on two things: a place for himself on the soundtrack for the Straight Outta Compton movie – since he’s currently working on his own record titled Yellow Brick Road to Compton – and a separate biopic focusing solely on the life of his father. “His legacy is bigger than N.W.A,” Lil E said. “That should have been the first movie, but it’s definitely going to become a biopic of my father’s life.
“I’m the firstborn son,” he continued. “I turned 11 two weeks after he passed away. I was born and raised in the same house that N.W.A started in. I was there when they were making music. I was there when they were just crashing out in the bedroom. But my fondest memories [are] of him being a father. I know him outside of the rap, outside of the hustle, outside of the hardcore. I know the nice individual, the humorous individual, the family man, the one that loved all of his children. Believe me, as a kid at 11 years old, I sought that information out.”