Born Tomica Woods, in 1969, in Los Angeles, California; attended Santa Monica and West L.A. Community College; procured a position as secretary to Tabu Records founder Clarence Avant; Avant accepted a position as chairman at Motown Records in 1993 and took Woods-Wright with him; mother of three children, two fathered by Ruthless Records founder Eric Wright, a.k.a. the rapper Eazy-E.; lived with Wright for four years before marrying him in 1995; inherited Ruthless Records in 1995 from her husband after his untimely death. Addresses: Record company--Ruthless Records, 8201 W. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048; (213) 782-1888, Fax: (213) 782-0705.

Tomica Woods-Wright, the owner and CEO of Ruthless Records, inherited the record company in 1995 from her husband, rap legend Eric Wright--a.k.a. Eazy-E.--after his untimely death due to A.I.DS.-related pneumonia. The company was founded in March of 1987 and was one of the most successful independent labels in rap and hip-hop history, ushering in Cali-style Gangsta rap with artists such as N.W.A. (which included Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E., and M.C. Ren), Bone, Thugs 'n' Harmony, Above the Law, Yomo & Maulkie, D.O.C., J.J. Fad, Michel'le, Kid Frost, Atban Klann (now known as the Black Eyed Peas), Jimmie Z., and solo releases by Wright's own persona, Eazy-E. Ruthless Records was estimated to be worth $15 million at the time of Eric Wright's death.

As a largely unknown entity, Tomica Woods-Wright faced the challenge of keeping the label on top, staving off lawsuits from others who wanted a piece of the company, and convincing artists and industry executives that she possessed the necessary business acumen to oversee the successful label. Her inheritance proved to be a baptism- by-fire, but within two years of running Ruthless Records, she restructured the label, sought a better distribution deal, expanded the label's artist roster, and introduced new talent that would broaden the type of music the label embraced.

Woods-Wright was born in 1969 in Los Angeles, and at times lived with her mother in one town, then with her father in another, and in a foster home for a while as well. She went to high school in the San Fernando Valley, then attended Santa Monica and West L.A. Community College before procuring a position as a secretary to Tabu Records founder Clarence Avant; Tabu handled the S.O.S. Band, Cherelle, and Alexander O'Neal. When Avant accepted a position as chairman at Motown Records in 1993, he took Woods-Wright with him. Avant told Vibe magazine's A.J. Smith, "... She's bright.... Her family life has not been a-plus, B- or C-plus. She's from the street, with a lot of street knowledge. But if she went to Howard or Harvard, it wouldn't make any difference....Tomica can see a long ways in front of her. She's learned a lot of things that I did, and she's put them into practice."

Woods-Wright had a child at an early age, and worked as a single mother before inheriting Ruthless. She met Eric Wright at a Los Angeles nightclub in 1991 and was not immediately taken with him; in fact, she didn't know who he was. Their paths continued to cross, and she told Smith, "He was very down- to-earth, sweet. We'd laugh together when I got to know him a little better. And from then on, it was just ... history." They spent four years in a relationship and had two children, a son named Dominick and a daughter named Daijah, before marrying twelve days before Wright died. After Wright's death, his will was contested by six former girlfriends and two former business partners. In regard to one particular ex- partner, she told Smith, "He basically underestimated my relationship with Eric and underestimated me.... I did have business knowledge." Woods-Wright's response tothose who accused her seeking an easy fortune was to tell Smith, "(Before becoming president of the label) there was a lot less stress, a lot less responsibility, a lot less burden than there was before."

Woods-Wright viewed Avant as a mentor and teacher and learned much about the business of music from him but she learned the intricacies of operating an innovative corporation from her husband. While Avant represented corporate savvy, Wright represented street smarts and the art of the gamble--he achieved his early multi-platinum sales with virtually o radio or video exposure whatsoever. The court-appointed executive Ernie Singleton officially ran the company for a year while it was decided whether or not Woods-Wright would retain sole ownership. Woods-Wright told BRE Magazine's Steven Ivory, "I was indirectly doing things for Eric at the company. In fact, I had already given Clarence (Avant) notice that I was leaving to join Ruthless as general manager when Eric went into the hospital. But until the court made it's ruling.... I had to move in slowly, first hired by Ernie as vice-president of Artist & Repretoire--A&R--and then ultimately, once everything was decided, as President."

Ruthless Records was in the precarious position of redefining itself two years after Woods-Wright stepped up to the helm; with the exception of the Cleveland-based Bone Thugs 'n' Harmony, the label didn't have a gold or platinum record between 1993 and early 1998, and the gangsta rap that defined its success was waning in popularity. Woods-Wright built a staff of about 20 employees that included three A&R people, and when she felt she had finally solidified the label's foundation in the post-Wright era, she began to aggressively seek out new talent. She signed comedian/actor Chris Tucker, Big Chan, N.X., Big Rocc, and soul trio Blulight. Woods-Wright also released a 10th anniversary Ruthless commemorative compilation record in 1998, titled Decade of Game, which featured two unreleased Eazy-E tracks, and singles by N.W.A., Above the Law, D.O.C., Michel'le, and JJ Fad. Woods-Wright negotiated a distribution deal with Epic/Sony in 1997, which gave the label more corporate leverage. Woods-Wright told Ivory, "The way the deal with Sony is structured serves Ruthless well--it's one thing to just put something out, but every record needs set-up."

Woods-Wright is optimistic about the future of Ruthless Records, and told Ivory the best is yet to come. She said, "I want the company to be known as more than just a rap label; this is a home for

ground-breaking new and established artists catering to the urban community. Bones success was unexpected. I don't think even my husband expected that kind of success. But that's what Ruthless is about, catching a fire." She told Ann Brown of The Source, "I'm not my husband but I'm adding to his vision." Woods-Wright confided to Ivory that when people meet her for the first time, they expect to see a "home-girl" or hip-hop parody, but when they sit down to do business with her they get a much clearer picture of who she is and what she wants.

by B. Kimberly Taylor

Tomica Woods-Wright's Career

Signed a distribution deal with Epic/Sony in 1997; released a 10th anniversary Ruthless compilation album, A Decade of Game, in 1998; signed new artists comedian/actor Chris Tucker, Big Chan, N.X., Big Rocc, and soul trio Blulight.

Tomica Woods-Wright's Awards

Billboard's number one Indie Label of the Year 1996;

Famous Works

Further Reading

Sources

Visitor Comments Add a comment…

over 5 years ago

Plz..everyone knows eazy e was murdered..you don't just die from full blown aids that fast..its seems too fake man...somethings up with that..

almost 6 years ago

RIP Eazy-E.. but fucc your wife for blowin off Hopsin like that.. he has every right to speak to her like that.. I'm sure if you was still alive, you would haved signed Hop.

almost 6 years ago

Drinking Tea in the mornings is good for you. Have a biscuit or two.

almost 6 years ago

hopsin hates u

over 6 years ago

how do people that easy es children are really his i read he had 10 kids also i read he only had 7 this goes for his wife tomica and other women thaks anyone can say there pregent and the kids are not theirs and lie about it

over 6 years ago

RIP EAZY from Canada! Tomica good job on continuing his legacy and getting bonethugs out there on the map.

over 6 years ago

West Coast Eazy E and 2Pac 4 Life and Death U suck Jerry haller peace out xoxox Jassy MC fizzial

almost 7 years ago

EAZY-E & 2PAC FOREVER

almost 7 years ago

TOMICA. ITS RAZOR, IF YOU SEE THIS HOLLA AT ME.

almost 7 years ago

I read Tomica is working on an Eazy E biopic with writers Leigh Savidge and Alan Wenkus. I want to see that!

about 7 years ago

rest in peace E, one love.

about 7 years ago

Many spouses and children carried do not contract AIDs or HIV. I have sadly lost MANY in the past who had it and their unborn or just born kids were safe and their wives and husbands were left without it One Needs to EDUCATE themselves this disease may have slowed some but sadly it is out there and still taking lives like a bullet with No name on it. The One way to put a stop to that is Awareness and Education and speakign out The other way is battling to find a STOP a way to kill it we have done Great things with the HIV meds but there are still so many left without that helps due to lack of medication money I know a man who went to prison and got care and has lived and his wife left on the street was sadly unable to get those meds covered She now has full blown AIDS. We need to make sure EVERYONE is cared for and gets a means to getting care and gets educated before getting it after getting ir etc. i wish though so badly that this woman knowing what she went through with Eric and what he went through and what the African American community is dealing with woulkd take a stand do mrore for the "community" stand up and short it out Let folks Know she is a shining example that while YES we MUST protect opurselves we also must educate ourselves and know the ways it can and can not be passed More importantly we MUST fight to get this thing stopped before it kills more people

over 7 years ago

I have a friend who died from aids 10 years ago, and she has two children who did not contract the virus. To answer wigglers question it is possible that his wife and children could not have HIV.

over 7 years ago

I'm a big eazy-e fan but have to say I always wondered why or how it is possible that his wife and children never got HIV?

almost 8 years ago

I hear Tomica is working on a big screen Eazy E biopic with writers Leigh Savidge and Alan Wenkus. It's going to be produced by Warners/New Line in 2010. Go Tomica!

almost 8 years ago

How many kids he had or didn't have or who they were buy is none of anyone's business except his, their moms and the child's. There was more to him than most people will ever know. No matter what anyone say's Tomika was who he chose to marry and he did. She knows what kind of relationship she had with him and that is all that is important. He lived his life on his own free will as we all do. Who are we to judge. A lot of people still don't get it about AIDS. First of all it is man made, yeah I said it. So you tell me how someone could die that fast from something none of his children or their mother's have. He may have been a threat to people, after all, he was a successful and brilliant BLACK MAN with his own business and to be truthful he did not need anyone to be what he was. That is a threat within itself. Better check your fact's on the "music industry", think you will be surprised at just how "ruthless" the business can be. No pun intended, but it is the truth. So go seek the truth. Do your homework and stop sleeping. For the record, anything man made has a cure, believe that!

about 8 years ago

my question is not to put anyone down because the face of hiv/aids has changed but i want to know tomica where you and your son affected by this disease and what was your reaction if i might as but we will love to here from the label

about 8 years ago

Whats goimg on? Time to put Ruthless on the map.This time it will bring flavor to the whole music biz wax.I say get with Suge Knight and make some hits. Old school to new school hardknots!!

about 8 years ago

The record company doesn't even have most of the artist making records anymore. Why are you bothering this lady? Find something else to do with your time? Yes, this was a bloody era but there is a new era, dawn and time... Take that energy of yours and use it towards something more postive. This woman's husband went through hell I'm sure in his final days. Let him and his wife rest in peace.

over 8 years ago

I am wondering who gave you all permission for the Bone Thugs-N-Harmony album in 1995 East 1999 Eternal,because the album is all right but what about that "Mister Quija Mystoracle" inside the covering because it is of the devil and it is even in the non perental advisory albums and I was 16 years old and me and my brother figured it out and it possed me to sin and commit crimes and other stuff that I have contacted people about and I know it was their for people to get a hold of it for the timing in life for people to grow colder based on bibilogical times and it is turns people to wanting to murder and opens up a portal to hell and I do know it is part of sins I committed to symbolize the eye on the top of the pyramid on the one dollar bill and my eyes iris that I have contacted people and mailed and e-mailed pictures about,but this town I live in has turned to sin by using that and other types of hell that I sense and me being a prophet of God that is how I know and the back of the one dollar bill about one is talking about me and my eye visions and I contacted the United States Army and United States Marine Corps and other authorities about the situation and the White House and they have been helping me out and I don't like the way the design of time of the "pumps" are used with that satanic thing and the from surgery wirless devices put in my body parts,organs,and bones,but now that I got your record company address and number I am going to see what I can do unless you can give me some advice or even help me out because their are no rights or laws on that satanic message in that album by law on me or any one else and the spell on that involving New York has these people believing cameras are in their eyes from that and because of stolen written or typed thoughts of the prophets the gothic's in New York has somehow conviced these people and you probably heard about it and maybe something can be done. John Davidson Florence

over 8 years ago

R.I.P EAZY-E

over 8 years ago

Hello friends, family and all devoted fans. My name is Jessica. I'm from the depths of the south. And I have to let you all know that I still love the music of NWA and the whole world of the reckin crew. Eazy will always be thought of and loved by myself and many many more. It doesn't matter what he passed from. What matters is, Easy and the rest of the NWA group and all those involved gave us an open eye for what realy happens on the other side of the world. We live, we love, and we let live. I thank God for a group that was powerful and eager to let the world know that black is beautiful and we can be ourselves and exspress ourselves in a positive and point-blank manner. Thanks to NWA for opening the door for all the rappers who rap today. Thanks for all the R&B artist who put it down. We are now heard all over the world with much respect and we are appreciated. Thank YOU....Thank YOU....From the bottom our hearts, here in the deep south. We love you....Jessica

over 8 years ago

well the thing about dominick isnt wrong i go to school with easys son named dominick

almost 9 years ago

i think eazy will always be a legend he was known for his dope skills as being the baddest gangsta rapper 2 ever walk tnis planet not by who he had sex with and how many kids he got like he said "I got 7 by 6 different women and takes care of thme all and for the record he has 2 with tomika

almost 9 years ago

This information is correct. In Eazy's last statement he says that they had a boy together who was a year old. She was pregnant at the time of his death with the girl. Lil Easy is not tomica's kid. He is 23. Eazy- E has 7 kids from 6 different mothers

almost 9 years ago

eazy-e oldest son is not tomika kid dummy do your math he only have 1 kid buy tomika and thats the boy before eazy died he would not take care of her other child witch eazy to believe it was his causin baby lil eazy-e has a different mother all his kids have their own mom he had 12 kids 8 on his death bed and 3 woman pregnant and who knows i could of been moore then that his goal was to have 20 kids how do i know this take a wild guess.

about 9 years ago

That was crazy of you to say since they only dated 4 years and Eric jr was born in 1984....... U should really do your homework they met in 1991.OMG

over 9 years ago

your information is wrong wrong wrong she is the mother of eazy's oldest child and his name is not Dominick it is Eric Wright Jr better known as Lil Eazy do your homework again and correct your information

over 9 years ago

can you tell me what has the label done in the last past 10 years the east coast would like to know since n.w.a have so many fans here in the east and will their ever be another n.w.a album with yella,icecube,dr dre and mc ren rumors are they are willing to do it but not with ruthless records they can actuall use lil eazy to replace his dad