Monday, September 19, 2005

The Final Classic Interview - Mac Dre (RIP)

By Doxx...

This interview originally appeared in Issue 2 of Strivin' magazine (1997).

Ask most Bay Area rap fans who was one of the first Bay Area rappers that really put it down and most likely they will say, "Mac Dre."

In the late '80s and early '90s, Mac Dre was on top of the Bay Area rap scene. His first release, 1989's Young Black Brotha, was a maxi-single which featured "2 Hard 4 The Fuckin' Radio" and "Young Black Brotha." He then put out his second maxi, California Livin', which featured the now classic song of the same name. Following that was his first EP, What's Really Goin' On?. On March 26th, 1992 (eight days after that EP's release) Mac Dre was arrested for conspiracy to commit armed bank robbery in Fresno. While in Fresno County Jail he recorded (over the phone) his fourth release, the four song, Back N Da Hood.

While many felt the evidence against him was weak and that he was set up, Mac Dre was sent to Lompoc Federal Penitentiary on March 12th, 1993, right when he was on the verge of blowing up big time. Shortly after he began serving his sentence, Young Black Brotha-The Album was released featuring a mix of his old songs and some newer material. This album first introduced the public to Mac Mall who guested on the song, "My Chevy."

Mac Dre was released from Lompoc Federal Penitentiary on August 2nd, 1996 after serving four years and four months and is back to drop some game on all his fans who've been eagerly awaiting his return. He's got a compilation (The Rompalation) out now and in '97 he's putting out a full-length solo album.

Let everyone know what's up with Mac Dre now?
What's up? This is young Mac Dre, fresh out the Feds, handlin' business. This is my second week out. I'm already startin' my own record label, Romp Records. We puttin' together like a sixteen song compilation that will be out on December 10th. It's called Mac Dre Presents The Rompalation with the 187 Fac, Mac Mall, Da 5 Footaz, JT The Bigga Figga, Dangerous Dame, Jay Tee from N2Deep, Beesh, San Quinn, Seff Da Gaffla, Messy Marv, Dubee aka Sugawolf Pimp, Coolio Da Unda Dogg, Young Lay, me and various artists that's gonna be on my label like Stevie D (PSD), Doscha and Young Web. So I'm just in here workin' immediately, tryin' to get back out in the mix.

I heard you're also workin' on a solo album to come after that.
In early '97 I'm gonna drop a solo album on Romp Records and that's just gonna be the bomb. Both of 'em gonna be the bomb, but this is just a taste to let you know what you're in store for. The first one is just like a icebreaker. I'm just lettin' people know that I'm back and the things that's on my mind and where I'm gonna take my corner of the rap game to.

Are you talkin' at all about the case that sent you to the Feds?
I'm not gonna talk too much about the case because one thing I found out while bein' locked up is that when you fuckin' with the Feds it's a no win situation. I can do all the rappin' and talkin' about mothafuckas I want and the end result is I'll be back behind bars hopin' to be out again. I'ma concentrate on makin' money and doin' what I gotta do to keep my pockets extra fat.

You were down for four and a half years, right?
Four years, four months.

Most of your time you spent writin'? That's what you told me last time.
I did a lot of writin' and a lot of game soakin'. A lot of watchin' and a lot of listenin'.

Who's workin' on the compilation as far as production?
We got K-Lou, Khayree, Ferg, Johnny Z. We tryin' to get (Mike) Mosley to do some thangs and that's about it.

Now that you're out are you doing things a little different as far as your own personal behavior?
Well, I'm doin' things a lot different because before I went to jail I was like in the hood 24-7, didn't wanna leave the hood and was just a straight hood person, a straight hood nigga. Now I'm concentratin' more on handlin' my business as far as the rap thang and stayin' shaded and out people's way.

So you saw what you were doin' before is not the thing to do anymore?
I wasn't doin' nothin' wrong really, but just hangin' out. Everybody hang out, but you get caught up hangin' out. And then when you on celebrity status... See, I wasn't thinkin' about me bein' on celebrity status. I was just thinkin', "Man, I'm just a regular nigga. I just rap. I can be out here just like everybody else." But now I see when you on celebrity status the attitude that people have towards you change differently. You just can't be out like every other ordinary dude.

So you saw that the more you came up, the more other people were tryin' to bring you down?
It's a lot of jealous, envious people out there that hate to see the next person doin' good. I was lookin' at it like I'm not gonna change because I'm from here and this is what I do. I'm not thinkin' I'm better than nobody. This is just what I do and what I do has got me successful, but some people can't take it for that. And I'm not just talkin' about dudes from the neighborhood. I'm talkin' about police, city hall representatives, people in the music industry.

Now while you were gone a lot of bad things happened as far as people with your label: DJ Cee got killed, (Young) Lay got shot and then what happened with his baby and girlfriend. How did that affect you while you were in there when you heard about it?
Well, it hurt me. Especially DJ Cee 'cause he was with me from day one and I hate to hear what happened to Young Lay too 'cause that's my folks. I watched him grow up and all that hurted me. But the end result was it motivated me to take this thing to the next level, to a higher level and be successful for my folks that's not here right now like DJ Cee and The Mac.

He (DJ Cee) was one of the original DJ's from Vallejo, right?

Was he the one who got you started?
Naw, The Mac got me started rappin'.

How did he influence you when you first started off rappin'?
I was in the boy's ranch. I got released from the boy's ranch and when I came out he had a maxi-single out and I was like, "Man, you makin' records? I'ma try to start rappin'." So I started rappin', makin' demos. Studio Ton had a little four-track studio downtown and I was fuckin' with him and when my partner The Mac heard my shit he took it to Khayree and when Khayree heard it he said, "We got to have him on wax."

Last time I interviewed you we talked about how things were before between the Crestside, Southside, Hillside and all that. Now that you're out have you associated with any of those people that you used to have beef with?
I talked to a few of 'em. The only one I haven't talked to I think is 40. He probably on celeb status somewhere chillin'. But now it's no animosity. The only conflict I got is with my bankroll. I'm tryin' to have my bank as fat as possible.

So your label, Romp Records, who are you gonna put out on that?
Romp Records, I'm the president. My partner right there is D-Con, that's my executive. A female by the name of Pam, she runnin' A&R and my cousin Los is doin' promotion. We got artists from here to New York, Compton, but we gonna start at home in the Crestside.

Who's gonna be first?
Remember Coolio that rapped on "California Livin'" with me? That's my first artist. He changed his name to Da Unda Dogg. After that we got two artists that's comin' out at the same time, Doscha and Stevie D (PSD).

Can you talk about a few of the things that are gonna be on your first album?
I might come with some stuff I wrote while I was in the pen, but I'm thinkin' about just lockin' up with a Khayree DAT and just writin' all new shit.

What's some of the stuff you're talkin' about?
It's just like I'm a good storyteller. I got a lot of story raps and I could take you to the hood and put you on a all night money mission, grindin' from eight o'clock at night to four o'clock in the mornin'. I got raps about that. I got raps about takin' you to a party where suckas is playa hatin' on you and you have to handle your business. I take you in different atmospheres and then I let people know that the end result of doin' the things that I did is the penitentiary. That's cool if you choose to do it, but just remember the consequences. You gonna be in the pen or, like my homeboy The Mac, be in the casket.

Since you left and now you're back and you've had a few weeks to circulate and talk to people, how do you see people's attitudes?
Since I been back I've seen nothin' but love. From people from my neighborhood to Bay Area artists, everywhere I go they greet me with open arms. Everybody thinks I'm gonna be real successful so I can't let nobody down.

Do you see how times have changed a little bit?
Times have changed and people have changed because when I left it was more of a bond between Bay Area artists. Now you got these people over here, you got people that moved up out of the Bay that don't mess with the people they used to mess with and that kinda tripped me out.

How else have you seen the Bay Area rap scene change as far as more artists and different areas comin' up?
Yeah, everybody rappin' now. When I left, people was just buyin' tapes. Now everybody makin' tapes.

Do you see that as good?
Naw, I don't see that as good because some of that stuff be bullshit and it be cloudin' up the industry. If somebody go to a record store and they got a hundred tapes up there and you might overlook somethin' that's good because you might see somethin' that has a good album cover on it and think that's the bomb and you really lookin' over the bomb. I think people who don't know how to rap should try somethin' else. And if you friends with somebody that's tryin' to rap and they don't know how to rap, tell 'em man, "You don't know how to rap! Give it up!"

I heard you had a little BBQ party, a surprise thing that happened (upon your release).
Yeah, they threw me a little surprise party. Warren G came up, Dru Down, the Luniz. It was cool.

Did you know them before?
Nope. They came just to show. They remember me from back in the day.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Posted on Tuesday, September 20 2005 @ 01:22:15 CEST by LSDsmurf Features: Explore and modify the document object model of a web page.
Hey, great blog! I'm definitely going to bookmark it!

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Check it out if you get time. :-)

September 19, 2005 10:36 PM  
Blogger CultStatus said...

pimpish interview.

Dru slid through?


September 20, 2005 12:19 PM  
Blogger Danyel said...


September 21, 2005 3:52 PM  
Anonymous JusAComment said...

Dope shit. Just want to give you props for posting all those classic interviews, it's too little of that out there.

On a side-note...
Would be amazing if there was one big site that documented the history of bay rap, from the pioneers in the '80s and early '90s to the mid-90's golden era and so forth, with a detailed list of every tape that ever came out and whatnot... Yeah.

September 21, 2005 5:30 PM  
Blogger Doxx said...

Been thinking of putting something together just like that. Good shit. I have a few people I'm thinking of working with on pthat with . Stay tuned...

September 21, 2005 7:32 PM  

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