Eazy-E was supposed to play O-Dog in 1993’s Menace II Society, director Allen Hughes has revealed, but his attempts to “control” the movie resulted in him being dropped.
Hughes stopped by The Breakfast Club on Thursday (April 13), where he spoke about his admiration for Eazy-E and how the role was originally written for the late N.W.A legend.
Due to Eazy and his manager/business partner Jerry Heller’s insatiable desire to dictate the script, however, Hughes was forced to cut ties with the rapper, ultimately casting Larenz Tate as the hell-raising O-Dog.
The director said that the experience opened his eyes to what it was like working with Eazy and Heller and made him understand why Dr. Dre and Ice Cube left N.W.A.
“We wrote that role for Eazy-E,” Hughes said of O-Dog’s character. “Eazy-E was my first real O.G. mentor in the business, right [around] the summer when Dre left [N.W.A] in ’91. That’s a long story.
“I learned everything from Eazy, but one of the things with him and Jerry [Heller] is they always try to keep you in a box and control you. And they were trying to control us in the script and I just had to move on, and it was for peanuts.”
He continued: “I adore Eazy. He was so giving and so down-to-earth. By the way, great with his fans, too. Very patient with his fans. But I see why Cube left, I see why Dre left. There was a whole thing there.”
Ice Cube previously revealed that he was also offered the role of O-Dog before Larenz Tate, but turned it down because he didn’t want to be “type cast” as an actor — a decision he has later come to regret.
“I would say Menace II Society,” Cube said On The Guest List podcast last year when asked if there were any scripts he regrets passing on. “I had a shot to do O-Dog, even though I think Larenz Tate killed it. I just didn’t wanna be type cast, you know what I mean?
“I was like, ‘I just did Boys N The Hood and they just gonna have me be the L.A. gangbanger every damn movie?’ [Menace] was like the second movie I got offered, so I was like, ‘Nah, I don’t wanna play that.’ That was one movie that when I saw it I was like, ‘Oooh, that role is cold.’”
N.W.A was formed by Eazy-E alongside Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Arabian Prince in 1987, with DJ Yella and MC Ren joining shortly after.
Cube was the first to leave the polarizing West Coast group in December 1989 over royalty disputes between him and N.W.A’s business manager Jerry Heller.
Dre followed suit in 1991 after the release of the group’s final album N-ggaz4Life, which despite Cube’s absence was a huge commercial success, becoming the first album by a rap group to top the Billboard 200.
The legendary hitmaker jumped ship for Death Row Records after he was informed by co-founder Suge Knight that he was being shorted for his contributions as N.W.A’s primary producer and became upset with his contract with Ruthless Records.
“The split came when Jerry Heller got involved,” Dre told VIBE in a 1996 interview. “He played the divide-and-conquer game. He picked one n-gga to take care of, instead of taking care of everybody, and that was Eazy. And Eazy was just, like, ‘Well, shit, I’m taken care of, so fuck it.’”
SOURCE: Hiphop DX