Don’t You Forget About Me: Eazy E – “Real Muthaphuckkin G’s” (1993)
Posted by Andrew Unterberger on October 13, 2008
Should have known by now, Eazy Duz It
Huge, huge respect to the powers that be behind the marketing for Saints Row 2 for reminding me of this song’s existence in their recent ads for the game. I didn’t even know there was a Saints Row 1, personally, but their use of this song makes me tempted to actually play a non-Rock Band video game for the first time in who knows how long. What better, though to advertise a video game about gang warfare, than Eazy’s aural smackdown in his own escalating West Coast feud with Dr. Dre? Doesn’t matter that the lyrics are edited to be kept unspecific in the trailer–the song has become so inextricably tied with Eazy’s return fire that I don’t think I ever even heard the whole song until the 21st century, only hearing parts of it in clip shows detailing the bad blood between the two Gangsta Gangstas.
Of course, there’s a pretty good reason for why that is–“Real Muthaphuckkin G’s” isn’t particularly great. Everything about this song screams second-rate, especially when compared to a gem like Snoop and Dre’s first blow in the battle, “Dre Day.” The bass line is vaguely similar, but not as memorable, the synth hook is Dre G-Funk By Numbers but not nearly as catchy. The guest rappers on the song are Dresta and B.G. Knocc Out, whose careers never quite broke out the way Snoop’s did, and and who it seems likely Dre had never even heard of at the time the song came out (and really, what beef do these losers have with Dre anyways?) And the video is similarly tired, with the same stock South Central crowds, the same White Sox hat Dre wore (and what did these guys have against the Dodgers, anyway?) and a strange appearance from the Bizarro Eazy that appears in the DD vid, who Eazy and crew proceed to beat down in what would appear to be a very poetic case of self-loathing.
“Real Muthaphuckkin G’s” was not a pop hit, the video went nowhere, and by the time I started listening to music seriously in 1996, Eazy, then dead from AIDS, was most known to me as “the guy from the end of the video for ‘Tha Crossroads’.” But it did have one huge impact on the pop culture landscape: It introduced the public to the now old hat image of Dr. Dre, fresh from his days in 80s electro outfit World Class Wreckin’ Cru, in a shiny, tight dress, with a stethoscope lovingly draped around his neck.
The value of this picture is certainly not to be under-estimated. Dre, now somewhat notorious for his homophobia, has become heavily disenchanted with his early electro days (despite club hit “Surgery” being almost as awesome as anything he’d do later) that he’s now appeared to disavow the era completely.
When talking about the group in VH1’s recent NWA doc, he and fellow WCWC-turned-N.W.A. member DJ Yella seemed downirgh uncomfortable talking about those days, with Yella sheepishly submitting that they all used to be in some wack groups. But without having heard their music back in the 90s, I just assumed Eazy had gotten a good trick photo or Dre lookalike or something–I couldn’t believe such a hard dude would ever think glamming it up like this was OK. But it certainly seems like he dug it for a while, and thanks to the picture, his days at WCWC can never be completely forgotten. And if he had lived to fight another battle, he could’ve always pulled it out as an ace in the hole in case he got into a really heated one with Dre. “You tellin’ me I don’t pitch in for gas enough? Motherfucker, you OPTIONALLY WORE A DRESS AT LEAST ONE POINT IN YOUR LIFE. Don’t lecture me on shit.”
And anyway, despite the lack of greatness, I actually like this song pretty OK. It’s all second-hand news, obviously, but that heavy, creeping bass and synth-hook combination is still pretty fun to work with, and the way Eazy’s nasaly voice cruises on top of it shows why it’s a shame his solo areer never had the time (or the hits, I suppose) to really get off the ground. And for whatever reason, it sounds right at home soundtracking reckless gang violence in a computer-generated dystopian setting. It’s certainly no “Dre Day,” but I’ll take it over more contemporary retaliation songs like Nas’s “Ether” or Fat Joe’s “Fuck 50” any day. If we got to see Jay-Z’s early “Hawaiian Sophie” days in the Nas vid, or embarassing high school photos of 50 Cent with a Jheri curl in Cam’Ron’s, then maybe we’d have something to talk about.