Comedian AJ Johnson Explains How Spoofing Eazy-E Caused A Serious Problem (Video)

Actor Anthony “A.J.” Johnson has had memorable roles in films such as Friday, House Party, and Master P’s I Got The Hook Up, among others. From Compton, California, the comedian who had appeared in the first and third House Party film was used in the early 1990s beef between Dr. Dre and Eazy-E.

Johnson, who had been cool with Eazy since the N.W.A. days, tells VladTV how an unforgettable pair of music video spoofs landed him in some serious drama. “I started doing comedy and Dr. Dre put me in his [‘F With Dre Day’] video as ‘Sleazy-E.’ From there, [Ice] Cube came to me,” says Johnson around 3:00, referring to his Friday role as a local panhandler. The comedian met Dre at Los Angeles’ Comedy Store. “He said, ‘Man, I’m doing this video. I want you to play Eazy-E in it.’ I’m like, ‘Cool. No problem.'”

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In the video, Interscope Records executive Steve Berman spoofed Eazy’s Ruthless Records business partner, Jerry Heller. He sends Eazy out to find talent for their label. Bushwick Bill is among the artists who makes a cameo as “Sleazy-E” is chased, mocked, and run out of town. “So I did the video. I guess Eazy [had] seen it. So Eazy calls me. He’s like, ‘Man, you know everybody thought that was me in the video. You gotta do my video to show people that wasn’t me.’ I’m like, ‘No problem.’ So I do Eazy’s video!” Eazy cast Johnson for the “Real Muthaph*ckkin’ G’s” video less than a year later.

“Suge Knight gets word that I’m doin’ Eazy’s video! He called me into his office. [At this point], we’d just done half of Eazy’s video. Like, we’d done one day of it. So I had to go back [the next day] to finish it. But Suge called me into the office. He’s like, ‘Man, you can’t finish that video.’ I’m like, ‘I don’t have nothin’ against Dre; I don’t have nothin’ against Eazy. I’m a comedian; I’m trying to pay my rent.’ [Suge Knight responded], ‘You can’t do it.’ I’m like, ‘What you mean I can’t do it? [Eazy-E] already paid me.’ Suge pulled a gun out [and put it on the table], ‘I said you can’t do it.’ [I responded], ‘I won’t do it!'”

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He continues, “I went and told E, ‘Man, I can’t finish the video.’ He said why. ‘Suge told me I can’t do it.’ [He responded], ‘Yo, come on, Ant-man. You gonna let that n*gga punk you like that?’ I said, ‘I can’t do it, Eazy.’ He said, ‘Well, what we gonna do, man?’ [I suggested], ‘I know somebody who can finish the video. I called Arnez J. Arenz J finished the video. He played Eazy. So in the first half, it’s me. In the second half, it’s Arnez J. That’s what happened.”

Arnez J. would go on to make multiple appearances on Def Comedy Jam. “So I had to give Arnez J. the money that Eazy gave to me.” Johnson says he came up with the famed “will rap for food” sign in Dre’s Chronic visual. The character, dramatically killed in the visual from Eazy’s It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa project, was Arnez.

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Last month, Suge Knight received a 28-year sentence for the vehicular murder of music executive Terry Carter just outside a set from a commercial tied to 2015’s Straight Outta Compton.

#BonusBeat: Watch both videos in order below: