MC Eiht Biography
Last updated: 04/15/2001 11:29:59 PM
A true pioneer and a creative original in the West Coast rap game, Epic recording artist MC Eiht returns with DEATH THREATZ, the fifth album of his illustrious career. This is the hotly-anticipated follow-up to Eiht's 1994 gold album We Come Strapped, which entered the Billboard R&B Albums chart at #1 and the Pop Albums chart at #5, and held the #1 R&B spot for five weeks.
In its review (8/7/94), The L.A. Times called We Come Strapped "arguably the best of the year so far in the gangsta genre." The Source awarded four mics to We Come Strapped, describing the album as "a masterpiece" and adding: "Eiht has shown from day one, that his intensely labored vocal inflections are second to none on the mic...Simply put, We Come Strapped is the mutherf**kin' bomb."
MC Eiht has appeared on such best-selling motion picture soundtracks as Boyz In Tha Hood, Menace II Society, Tales From The Hood, New Jersey Drive and The Show. No stranger to the silver screen, Eiht played a cameo role in John Singleton's Academy Award-nominated film Boyz In Tha Hood; the film's theme song, "Growin' Up In The Hood," was a highlight of his 1991 Epic album Straight Checkn Em. Eiht received the award for the category of Best Acting Performance (Movie or Television) at the First Annual Source Magazine Awards for his portrayal of the character A-Wax in the Hughes Brothers' critically-acclaimed New Line Cinema release Menace II Society. His song "Streiht Up Menace" became a major hit from that film's platinum-selling soundtrack.
Now MC Eiht returns, doing what he does best on "Thuggin It Up," the album's first single. Eiht contends the song is "dealing with the situations of a young brother who gets caught up in street life, while trying to come up--basically that's what happens. That's why I picked it for the first video. It's like a semi-message, telling brothers what's up, who's out there gangbangin' and what-have-you." In the video, co-directed by Eiht and Okuwah Garrett, the rapper mak es the transition from the aimless life of the street corner to playing dominos with Satan himself. Eiht shows us that nothing comes together when you're trying to hustle the devil.
This "Shakespeare of the streets," as one critic called him, presents more string-laden, steady-pumpin' scenarios on Death Threatz. "I did a song with Young Prod," says Eiht, "called 'Collect My Stripes.' That's a song dealing with a lot of street attitude, like combat rapping. Me and Young Prod are just going back and forth with street issues."
A track entitled "Def Wish 4" is the latest encounter in MC Eiht's long-running rap battle with DJ Quik--a conflict which goes back almost to the beginning of Eiht's recording career. "We thought it was squashed but it ain't, so....that's cool," says Eiht. "Record- wise, it's still on, we're def-wishin' it. Number 4 in the house. And it don't stop..." "You Can't See Me," Eiht explains, "is a duet I did with Chill from N.O.T.R. [Niggaz On The Run], which is one of my groups. It's a song describing the style of how were coming for '96. We've got all types of styles on the album, and that's how we're doing it on that song."
Death Threatz becomes a family matter when Eiht comments on the track "Love For The Hood." "It's a song that features my younger brother, Da Foe, who I'm bringing out," says Eiht. "So that was a chance for him to debut his skills." The track "Endoness," produced by Blackjack, is something of a departure for Eiht: It's a rap "that's not dealing with street things, not dealing with girls, gangs, or whatever. It's just dealing with my style."
Eiht notes that he's been "getting a lot of response" to "Run 4 Your Life," which he describes as "a dance track, an old EPMD-type track, kind of a club tune. We aren't dealing with club issues, but the track is pretty cool."
"I'm putting it down for Compton," MC Eiht says in summation. "Basically, I've been in the rap game for eight years. I'm looked at as one of the brot hers who originated and helped Compton get started as far as rap. So to me, being a messenger, as I've said a thousand times before, it's almost like I give you a message, but I don't give you a message. It's up to you to take heed when you listen to the raps. So you can double- or triple-sticker my album and what I've got to say, but the scene is out there and it's always going to stay out there. The message will be there for people who want to hear it."
While countless other artists in the field have fallen off and by the wayside, MC Eiht has attained a much sought-after career longevity and continues to maintain an ever-growing following. He deserves respect, and he gets it. Reflecting on past such past works as Music To Driveby (1992) and Its A Compton Thang (1990), one can see that--although much has changed since "back in the day"--MC Eiht has stayed real.
"It just has to do with staying true to the game and being on the streets. After years of going through shady business deals with people I used to mess with, getting ganked for a gang of money, I was making albums for zero, for nothing. I made my first three albums for pennies, but this was what I wanted to do, and so that's how it went down. I have respect for the community and for the brothers I rap about and who I'm dealing with. And people buy my records out of respect, because they're like, 'he's true to us, we're true to him.'
"I feel that my saying what's going down in my community is uplifting. I'm putting my name on my 'hood out there, as well as the City Of Compton, all across America, for everybody to deal with and listen to. It's just the reality. It's what's going on."