for LL Cool J and Ice Cube to have released so many albums. At least, it’s
easier when you’re backed by a major label. What about the others though?
Who are the veteran’s of Hip-Hop? Who’s managed to make the most
records, and still get up in the morning to rap? MC Eiht deserves your respect,
and as you’ll see, he commands it.
While Lloyd Banks’ line about Eiht may’ve been a playful poke, it
serves as an eerie reminder to the lack of respect new artists are paying the
greats. In his sixteenth year, with almost as many albums, Eiht is a living
legend. And if your experience with Eiht’s music has been limited to admiring
his defiantly gangsta album covers, or Eiht’s a figment of your youth,
now’s time to make the sale and reunite.
On the verge of
releasing, Veterans Day, Eiht and AllHipHop shoot the breeze about
Lloyd Banks’ line, New York gangstas, Tupac’s adoration of Eiht’s
music, Mack 10’s credibility, and more. Lace up your Chuck’s, and
park your Regal to the left, we gotsta give it up to a true Hip-Hop hero. Don’t
The records I’m hearing lately are monotonous. Veteran’s Day
is the best Eiht record I’ve heard in ten years. The obvious thing,
without pulling punches, is Lloyd. Why does that bother you, what he rhymed?
MC Eiht: I took
it as him, trying to reference himself to me. It’s a little ludicrous
to me. I respect Young Buck. I did a song with him a couple years ago. I know
him. I don’t know Lloyd, I don’t know 50. I know Game a bit. When
I first heard it, everybody was trying to approach me as, “Is he dissing
you?” I feel like this: it’s a positive and negative. My first reaction
is, why’s a n*gga talkin’ ‘bout me? My second reaction is,
maybe he just swingin’ on my nuts. Maybe he wants to be an east coast
version of me. But I been around for fifteen years…that’d be me
trying to compare myself to a Tupac or Biggie.
It reminded me if Nelly saying he’s number one, and KRS got heated.
MC Eiht: Right,
right. Definitely. To say you number one, I give you props for sellin’
ten million on the albums. But still, lotta records today sell off of gimmicks.
They don’t sell off of quality lyrics and beats no more. It burned me
a little. But the cat’s not me. He’s done one record – good,
but I’ve done twelve, thirteen albums.
Plus, the night Eminem was discovered at the Rap Olympics, you performed. You
brought out the crowd, and thus the Interscope execs. By chance, Em gets a deal.
Without Em, would 50 be as large? Without 50, is Lloyd as big? You see where
I’m going here.
MC Eiht: A lot
of people have told me about that. Even Wendy Day mentioned that. I performed
the night Em got discovered. I waited til’ all these lewd, up and comers
get they shine on. I sat there, three, four hours, listenin’, watchin’.
My pops had just [died]. But as a true professional, I had to perform.
But I know you’re deeply rooted with true gangsters out in New York. It’s
not coast hating.
MC Eiht: No doubt.
It’s funny, because there’s real n*ggas who don’t have to
symbolize themselves by doing what we do. Fat Joe. When I started going to New
York in ’90-’91, I used to be real cool with Premier. Premier used
to pick me up at the airport. Busta Rhymes, Red and Meth, there are true gritty
n*ggas in New York that I have way mad love and respect. A n*gga can’t
respect Eiht if Eiht put on some pink jerseys, bandannas, and Timberlands. That’s
not my trademark. Stick to what you stick to. Don’t confuse the public.
Don’t step in my arena. It makes a n*gga who knows what real is, come
You said fourteen albums. The only people close to that in my mind are LL and
KRS, Too Short. Especially in the last ten years, I think it’s great that
you can sell a record a year. But the acclaim went down. We Come Strapped
was a classic. Aren’t you worried that you’re over saturating? Can
a Section 8 or Th8t’s Gangsta mean anything in ten years?
MC Eiht: I don’t
look at it like that. I look at it like it keeps me fresh. When you older, you
gotta exercise. Somebody might not get this, or that. But the more I do, the
more variety I’m giving a person to choose from. I put a record out every
year. Some of ‘em sell, some of ‘em don’t, but I don’t
care. But as long as that muthaf***a’s in the store. As long as a fan
can say, “Damn, Eiht’s still doing records!” I can make money
off of other shit, but I wanna do that record. Because, this one might be the
one to reach the people! Last one didn’t work? Okay. I got more tricks
in my bag.
You got the classic loop on “Streets Don’t Love You,” Barry
White was a gangsta, what did somebody like that mean to you physically and
MC Eiht: Definitely.
He was an O.G. Blood from L.A. That’s what made his music so street. He
came from South Central. Barry White had perfect s**t for me. I been using Barry
White since I started rappin’. Barry White or Issac Hayes. They just had
that depression, that struggle music. It was a perfect marriage.
You said depression. How much in making the albums, is it difficult?
MC Eiht: Really,
every time I write a rap, when I’m writing on some real s**t, I don’t
worry. I just want somebody in my neighborhood, or in some neighborhood to be
going through what I’m going through. N*ggas who don’t have Bentleys,
and don’t have jobs, what is they going through? Unemployment is high
right now. Everybody can’t be rappers like me, or editors like you, or
magazine owners or store owners. There’s people who wake up everyday ready
to shoot themselves. I connect with them, because I know struggle. I’m
not no motherf***kin’ billionaire! I struggle everyday to feed my kids.
‘Pac used your records to inspire him in jail. Did he ever tell you why
MC Eiht: Basically,
what he said is that my music got him make it through the day in jail. I get
this from a lot of people. Because you be f***ed up when you locked up. You
feelin’ like nobody going through what you going through. Nobody understands
what you goin’ through. When you listen to a n*gga, and put his records
on, and he talkin’ ‘bout mothaf***as is f***ing you, and you struggling,
trying to maintain, life just ain’t fair.
Hoo Bangin’ Records was the first time a big budget label in the West,
was built upon veterans. It was the underground Death Row. What the hell went
wrong, that was supposed to be your big break?
MC Eiht: Hoo Bangin’
didn’t work because it wasn’t the hard labor and longevity dream
of a n*gga who had struggled. I mean, Mack 10 came in the game like a baby with
a sliver spoon in his mouth. Mack didn’t have to put out two or three
records before he knew what it was to have fans, and be successful. Mack got
thrown into a pot of platinum n*ggas. His direction was foggy. The headman didn’t
have no ambition. He liked the name, and gettin’ the check, but when it
came to runnin’ the day-to-day operations, like a Suge would do, or a
Puffy would do, Mack didn’t give a f***. He didn’t care.
How do you feel about the new Compton – Game and Guerilla Black?
MC Eiht: I don’t
know about Guerilla Black. I heard he was from Mississippi. I gotta get some
more feed on him. Get some references, man. I mean, it’s good for the
city. Eiht is still here – a n*gga that’s been down since ’83,
rappin’ since ’88, reppin’ Compton ever since.
You and Quik. As a man who damn near spilled blood over wax, how do you feel
about these silly hype beefs as of lately?
MC Eiht: That was
some real s**t. It was real! It wasn’t a media hype thing like Ja Rule
and 50 Cent, Nas and Jay-Z. We wasn’t trying to get on TV or stage and
talk about each others’ mommas or girlfriend.
I bet that ordeal didn’t even sell that many more records for y’all.
MC Eiht: It didn’t
help me sell no records. We didn’t talk on the phone the night before
and say, “Okay, tomorrow when you at the record store, I’m gonna
come…” No! N*gga, if I found out you was at a record signing, we
was gonna pull up there and the record signin’ was fittin’ to be
cancelled, ‘cause there was gonna be some s**t. I wasn’t try to
sell a single record. That’s why, when it stopped – it just stopped.
We put this to bed before somebody get they head knocked off. This ain’t
no Rap thang. Bullet shells really burn!
Day drops September 28th, respect the architect.