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Small seaside town in England honors rapper Eazy-E – and most people there have no clue who he is

The town council in Newhaven, England, agreed to commemorate American rapper Eazy-E with a memorial bench – even though no one on the council knows who he is.

Eric "Eazy-E" Wright was a founding member of N.W.A., which pioneered rap in the late '80s with their iconic album "Straight Outta Compton." Eazy-E died in 1995 after being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS 

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Rapper Eazy-E of N.W.A died of AIDS-related complications in 1995. About 25 years later, he is being memorialized in a small, seemingly random town in England. EMI Music

While the members of N.W.A. are rap legends and Eazy-E himself is considered the "Godfather of Gangsta Rap," the little beachside town of Newhaven knows little to nothing about the rap stars -- except for one resident, Guy Stevens, BBC News reports.

Stevens suggested the memorial bench for Eazy-E as a joke, but the town took him seriously. He first asked for a statute to be placed alongside the town's sculpture of Ho Chi Minh. He later admitted this request was "tongue-in-cheek" and asked instead just for a bench, the town council said.

The council blindly followed – but only after Stevens raised enough money to fund the bench. His campaign raised about $2,024 – that's almost double the cost of the bench. The extra money raised was donated to local HIV charities, in memory of Eazy-E. 

Many donors chipped in with the hopes that their little town would be put "on the world stage," Stevens said. 

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The plague on the bench reads: "Rest in peace Eric 'Eazy-E' Wright 1964-1995" BBC

Mayor Graham Amy said Stevens' request left councilors "a little surprised," since Eazy-E has no obvious connection to the town. He noted the rapper led a "rather colorful life," and was greatly admired elsewhere. So, he didn't ask any questions.

"If someone contacts us wanting to buy a memorial bench to their aunt, say, we don't ask questions about her lifestyle," Amy said.  "I'd never heard of gangsta rap. The Beatles were more my thing."

After his campaign for the bench proved to be a success, Stevens joked that he would now set his sights on getting a Tupac Shakur or Biggie Smalls tribute added to the town. Or, Newhaven could become "Newcompton," as a larger tribute to N.W.A. and the neighborhood they're from.

For now, Eazy-E's memory is emblazoned on a park bench. "Rest in peace Eric 'Eazy-E' Wright 1964-1995," the small plaque reads.

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