Lorenzo Patterson, better known as MC Ren, turned the rap world upside down as a member of the gangster-rap pioneering group known as N.W.A. While fellow members Eazy-E, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre had a more visible presence, the group would not have been the same without Rens razor sharp and rapid hard-hitting lyrics, which served as a proper one-two punch with Ice Cubes loud yet charismatic flow on the classic Straight Outta Compton. The group was left to fill a huge void as Ice Cube departed for a solo career and that meant a much larger load for MC Ren to carry on N.W.As Efil4Zaggin. With Ren as the only true lyricist left in the group the album was forced to rely heavily on music production to make up for the lack of the one-two punch that they previously had. We all know what happened next as Dr. Dre was the next to leave over monetary concerns which gave MC Ren the opportunity to release his solo works, Kizz My Black Azz, Shock Of The Hour, The Villain In Black and Ruthless For Life. The solo material never lived up to the commercial success of his former group-mates; however, Ren was able to attain a very loyal fan base that still exists to this very day. After a long hiatus from the rap game, The Villain is once again ready to strike with a brand new album currently in the works. In this exclusive interview MC Ren takes us to the beginning where it all started, all of the way to his current status where he discusses his new album and his new online radio show. AllHipHop.com: When were you first christened with the name MC Ren?MC Ren: That was like in 1984. I started rhyming in 83 and back then I was calling myself Master Ren, like Grandmaster Flash and Grandmaster Melle Mel. That was like when I was first starting off but the next year I became MC Ren. I dropped the Master because it didnt sound right. Thats how that all came about. N.W.A “Straight Outta Compton” VideoAllHipHop.com: How good were your skills back in those early days?MC Ren: I was good. I was the best in my neighborhood. I could tear your ass up freestyling off the top of the head. It was just me and this other cat in my neighborhood – and a few others that were trying to rhyme back then. I was the best to me. AllHipHop.com: Did you have the rapid style that you are known for, back then?MC Ren: I didnt have that yet. That didnt come until later down the line. At that time I was mimicking Run-DMC. It wasnt until high school that I tried to really get it going and change it up. Then when I got with the group [N.W.A.] I developed my own little style. AllHipHop.com: How did you go about getting in the group in the first place?MC Ren: I was going to do a solo thing first. Eazy had the Boyz N Tha Hood song but it was only local at the time. I knew him and he stayed right around the corner from me. I was just amazed that someone from around my way put a record out. I went and hollered at him, he heard me rhyme and signed me to a solo deal with his label. This was before he blew up. Then it got to a point where I was writing for him and he was like, You might as well just come on in to the group. I just said, Ok, and thats how it all came about.
There really was no time to stop and reflect. It was all building up like do the record, the record comes out, do the video, get banned, the F.B.I. letter all of that bulls**t added up and you really didnt have the time to think about it. It went so fast! Now looking back… Who would have thought?
AllHipHop.com: I bet you had no idea what you were getting yourself in to when you first signed up to be a part of N.W.A. MC Ren: Naw man, really I just wanted to be known locally. I had no idea that s**t was going to do what it did. It was a shock but once we started doing it everything just happened so fast. There really was no time to stop and reflect. It was all building up like do the record, the record comes out, do the video, get banned, the F.B.I. letter all of that bulls**t added up and you really didnt have the time to think about it. It went so fast! Now looking back on all of that, its crazy to me Its like, Who would have thought?N.W.A “100 Miles & Runnin’” VideoAllHipHop.com: Cube didnt have a contract when he left to go solo. Did you not have one at the time too?MC Ren: Nobody had a contract at that time. Nobody in the group really signed anything. It was easy for Cube to leave because of that reason. He was smart and boned out. I could have held out too but we just looked at s**t differently and it turned out how it did. AllHipHop.com: Do you think that you could have left and had the same solo impact that Ice Cube did?MC Ren: I dont know. Hes had so much success hes really doing it. I dont know what kind of success I would have had. I dont know how big my records would have been but I would have still done me no matter what. AllHipHop.com: Did you really have a personal beef with Ice Cube? Or was it manufactured for marketing purposes?MC Ren: It was real but it was no big ass beef or anythinglike people think that it was. We were mad at him and he was mad at us but it was just verbal. No violence occurred. Whatever was said, it was just on records. After that all of us just cooled down. We are all always going to be connected; we are damn near like brothers for life even if we dont see each other or whatever. Back then, it was just verbal beef. We were mad because he left the group and he was mad back at us. I see a lot of specials and documentaries that talk about it. They say that we dissed him on 100 Miles and Runnin but there wasnt any kind of big diss on it. We were young and people were telling us that he was saying this about us and then people were telling him the same about us. We were young and s**t happened. We cant go back and change it but we are older now and we are men now, we know that s**t was just petty. We are all cool. MC Ren “Final Frontier” Video AllHipHop.com: Did you have any type of communication with Ice Cube during this whole verbal beef? MC Ren: No but when he first left the group we were still talking. He would call me because we were supposed to do a song on his Amerikkkas Most Wanted album. We were supposed to do a song but s**t got so bad that it didnt happen. AllHipHop.com: Do you think that Ruthless Records would have actually let you appear on his album? MC Ren: [Pauses] I dont know man. Now that I look back at it, I doubt it. It was before we started going back and forth with all of that little bulls**t but looking back now from a record companies perspective, I dont think Ruthless would have let that happen. AllHipHop.com: At this point were you now officially under contract?MC Ren: Yes, when he left everybody signed. They rushed to make that happen. The company didnt want that s**t to happen again. AllHipHop.com: Did you have any of Ice Cubes same concerns about money?MC Ren: Yes we all did but when Cube left, we thought that we could still negotiate this s**t and get what we want. It wasnt like the rest of us were just going to walk away. AllHipHop.com: Dr. Dre also left over money issues. Did you ever want to follow him out the door?MC Ren: When he first left, I went with him and he took me somewhere to some record company to hear someone talk about their plans for us. It just didnt seem right to me, so I was cool on it. I was like, Im straight where I am at. I didnt want to leave one situation that I thought wasnt cool and go in to a similar situation. At that point I was just tired of motherf**kers trying to tug and pull on me.
When [Dr. Dre] told me about it, it wasnt like, Leave with [me] and come make Death Row. He was just like, Leave. It wasnt about me not wanting to go to Death Row because it wasnt even formed yet it was just me not wanting to go through all of the bulls**t again.
AllHipHop.com: So you had reservations about the whole Death Row Records thing?MC Ren: When [Dr. Dre] told me about it, it wasnt like, Leave with [me] and come make Death Row. He was just like, Leave. Death Row wasnt really formed then. It wasnt about me not wanting to go to Death Row because it wasnt even formed yet it was just me not wanting to go through all of the bulls**t again. MC Ren “Mayday on the Frontline” VideoAllHipHop.com: Having no Dr. Dre beats at Ruthless must have made you concerned about the quality of music you were going to make in the future. MC Ren: Well, I knew that when Dre left there wasnt going to be an N.W.A anymore. Right after he left, I did my Kiss My Black Azz EP and started doing all of my solo s**t. I knew that N.W.A wasnt going to be anymore when we left and me and Eazy E used to get into it a lot. I would tell him, Man. The music isnt going to be the same without Dre doing it. Eazy wanted to bring in a lot of newer producers and I told him that s**t wasnt going to be the same. It was bad enough that Cube was gone and now Dre was gone. Nothing was going to be the same just a Ren and Eazy record. AllHipHop.com: So Eazy was still pushing the idea of keeping N.W.A. alive?MC Ren: He wanted to. But I could tell deep down when me and him used to talk about certain things that he knew it wasnt going to be the same. He knew that. AllHipHop.com: Did Eazy ever try to pressure you to diss Dr. Dre when they started beefing?MC Ren: Yes, I was. Eazy used to want me to do that. At the time I would tell him, Both of yall are cool with me. It was like having two brothers in the house fighting with each other and the other wanting to stay neutral because he didnt want to get involved. I told E that I dont want to get on one of his records and talk about Dre, the same way I wouldnt want to get on a Dre record and talk about him. When I told him that, he said, Yeah. You are right. For him to say that I was right was something else. Todays rap stars would be like, You arent riding for me? Eazy respected me and was like, Ok. This is between me and him then. He came to the realization that I didnt have anything to do with this. But they worked their s**t out. Dre went over there and made peace with him at the hospital and before Eazy passed he was telling me how he wanted to get N.W.A back together to do something. AllHipHop.com: Do you think you guys could have convinced Cube? Or would it have just been you, Eazy, Dre and Yella?MC Ren: I think Cube would have done it. I think he would have done it if everybody was involved. AllHipHop.com: Before Eazy died were you and Ice Cube on good terms again?MC Ren: Yeah. I saw Cube at that time I cant recall where but I hollered at him for a quick second. AllHipHop.com: What was that conversation like?MC Ren: I dont even remember to tell you the truth. But the situation wasnt ever like, Lets squash this s**t. After we got older, it was just squashed without us even talking about it. Just like when I was on the Up In Smoke Tour with Cube we were rollin on the bus together state to state and we never even talked about all of that old stuff. We probably joked about it once but that was it. MC Ren “Same Old S**t” VideoAllHipHop.com: Thats pretty cool especially since rappers tend to hold grudges after embarrassing stuff is said about them on records. MC Ren: All of the fools that used to battle on records back in the day are all cool with each other today. Its only a problem when motherf**kers start threatening each other with guns and talk about their family and what they will do to their kids and all of that stupid stuff. Motherf**kers get killed talking all of that type of s**t. AllHipHop.com: You released your solo works but they never lived up to the success that Ice Cube and Dr. Dre had with their solo works. Are you disappointed by that?MC Ren: As long as the people that love me bought them, thats all that I care about. There are motherf**kers out there today that will still play those albums. As long as they are playing them, thats cool with me. AllHipHop.com: I was so happy to see you, Cube and Dre come together for a song or two but I really wanted to see a full-scale reunion. Why couldnt you guys pull it off?MC Ren: I dont know. That is a really good question. I couldnt even tell you. We were supposed to do something when we went on tour in 2000 or 2001. We were supposed to record out on the road but it was so hectic and motherf**kers get tired so it never just materialized. AllHipHop.com: There werent any disagreements that prevented anything?MC Ren: Naw, it wasnt like that. Everybody was cool, but it just never happened. AllHipHop.com: So after that failed to happen, what happened to you? Fans havent heard much from you in a long while. MC Ren: After that, I was on a few peoples albums doing a 16 here or a 16 there. Then I just laid back. I just fell back and started living my family life.
Ive been doing this since 1983. All of the record company bulls**t I was just tired of it. After you do something for so long, you just want a break. I didnt want to do s**t with music… Recently I just got that bug again and started writing.
AllHipHop.com: You lost your interest in rap?MC Ren: Yeah man. Ive been doing this since 1983. All of the record company bulls**t I was just tired of it. After you do something for so long, you just want a break. Thats what I did. I broke and took a break. I didnt want to do s**t with music. Im cool with the family and all of that. It was chill. I did some reading, chilled with the family just regular s**t. Recently I just got that bug again and started writing.MC Ren “Ruthless for Life” VideoAllHipHop.com: You didnt participate in VH1s Rock Doc of N.W.A. Why is that?MC Ren: They called me at the last minute to drive way the f**k out there to do it and I was like, S**t! You cant call me at the last minute to do it. So I didnt do it. AllHipHop.com: How are you today with Dr. Dre? You have plans to be on Detox?MC Ren: Not right now. I havent talked to him in a long a** time. Im sure that sh*t is going to be tight but people ask me if I am going to be on it and I tell them no. AllHipHop.com: Do you ever see yourself doing anything again with your former bandmates?MC Ren: [pauses] I dont know man. Its whatever. Right now I just dont know. If something comes up, Im sure that they will get at me. AllHipHop.com: When did the writing bug bite you again?MC Ren: A few months ago. I just wanted to get back in it for my fans that love me and love the s**t that I do. What I do is for them so Im putting this album together called RenIncarnated. Im going to put it out on the Internet for them. AllHipHop.com: You arent going to release this through a label?MC Ren: No. F**k them! F**k those labels. The only way Ill deal with a label is if they break me hella off and I have the space to do what I do. But all of that politicking and ass kissing? Naw, I aint f**king with them or that. AllHipHop.com: You must really have some really bad past experiences with the record companies. MC Ren: I have so many of them. I could write a book about all of my experiences. AllHipHop.com: Have you ever thought about starting your own company so you wont have to deal with them anymore?MC Ren: I could do that but with the Internet I dont need a label to do any of that stuff. With the Internet its so easy to just put that *h*t out. F**k labels thats why everybody is doing their stuff on the Internet its big! Why f**k with these bulls**t labels when you can do it yourself and cut all of them out? Those labels just want to take and take and take. F**k that!AllHipHop.com: Its often said today to rappers who have been around since the 80s or 90s that they dont have their skills anymore. How do you feel about that in regards to yourself?MC Ren: I feel like this man, anybody that comes out and I dont give a f**k who it is. You come out and put out slammin ass albums like Public Enemy did with It Takes A Nations of Millions which was their best album ever but after that one the albums are cool but you cant top that s**t. Its like The Beatles. They came out big in the 60s but their solo work in the 70s could never match it. It was big but it wasnt on the Beatle-mania type of s**t. People cant expect that you are just going to stay like that your whole career. Michael Jordan can probably still get out there and ball but he isnt going to be dunkin on motherf**kers anymore. He did all of that. It is what it is people are going to love you or they are not. But Ive still got my skills I know Ive still got my skills. My skills are harder than most of these n****s in the game! A lot of people dont really have skills only a few. I still can put some s**t together. Ice Cube f/ Dr. Dre & MC Ren “Hello” VideoAllHipHop.com: Do you keep up with todays rap music?MC Ren: Yeah, I check it out. And you know Cube still has skills! He might not be the young Cube but hes the older Cube and hes still got skills. Theres a lot in todays game that cant f**k with him even now! AllHipHop.com: When is the RenIncarnated album coming out?MC Ren: Next year. Its going to be the sh*t. Ive got two songs on my MySpace go check them out. There are two cuts leaked until the album comes out. Im just focused on this sh*t right now. AllHipHop.com: Is it all Ren? Or will there be guests?MC Ren: All me. Im doing the music too me and my homeboy Apocalypse. Its mainly me doing the music though. AllHipHop.com: When did MC Ren become a producer?MC Ren: Man, Ive been doing beats for a long time people dont know! Back when I put CPO the Boss Hoggs album that was produced by me. I did all of that music. Ive been doing beats since back then but I wasnt trying to be out there shopping beats. I just focused on writing. But yeah Ive been doing that s**t man. When we first started N.W.A I got some equipment and I would ask Dr. Dre about this and that and he showed me how to work the SP-1200, 808, and all of that s**t we used to have back in the day. Ive been doing it off and on. Im back into it heavy right now just putting my album together. AllHipHop.com: Whats next for you after the RenIncarnated album? Do you have any other plans?MC Ren: Musically I will probably do some other stuff but right now I am just focused on that album. I also have a new radio show on 92.5 Burbank the MC Ren Radio Show [www.925thewhy.com]. Its going to be a tight show every Wednesday night at 7 PM Pacific Time. Im going to play classic Old School Hip-Hop the kind of music that I grew up to. Ill play some new stuff but I wont play a lot of s**t that you hear on mainstream FM radio. If I play some new s**t it will be some underground stuff that you arent hearing or just some tight s**t. It wont be anything like what you hear on mainstream radio. You will be hearing a lot of classics from Run-DMC, our N.W.A stuff, MC Shan and so on. AllHipHop.com: Since you bring up the classics. Who is MC Rens all time favorite?MC Ren: All time? Thats hard. But my tops are Run-DMC, Melle Mel, Ice-T, Chuck D, KRS-One and Ice Cube. AllHipHop.com: Which influenced you the most growing up?MC Ren: When I was young I used to listen to Run-DMC a lot. I used to like DMCs voice. Growing up I thought that his voice was hard as hell he had the hardest motherf**king voice ever. AllHipHop.com: What do you miss about Hip-Hop that you dont think you see much of today?MC Ren: Originality. Growing up rappers had their own look, their own style, and you couldnt bite anybody. If you did then you were wack and got dissed. Nowadays, everybody looks the same and sounds the same. Biting is allowed now. I miss originality. Back in our day, you had us and our sound. Then you had Slick Rick with the patch and gold chains. You also had Big Daddy Kane and Public Enemy everybody was different even Hammer. Everybody is the same now and they talk about the same things. AllHipHop.com: Ren is there anything you want to leave the readers of AllHipHop.com with?MC Ren: I just want to say for you all to look out for the RenIncarnated album. Check out my MySpace which is www.myspace.com/mcrenofficialmyspace. Check out my radio show every Wednesday night.