Mack 10: King Pin Dream

Mack 10 is at a crossroads. Since day one, critics have compared his style and based his merits upon a close relationship with Ice Cube. But without Cube, Mack has released a series of an albums, some memorable, others not. But while his peers have faded or fallen, the Inglewood veteran continues to maintain a celebrity profile while working steadily.

With a revamped Hoo-Bangin’ Records, a new album – Hustler’s Handbook, and a lot of attention in the West, 2006 promises plenty. Looking ahead and looking back, Mack reflects on his business relations, the T-Boz rumors, and announces the end of West Side Connection. With or without his brethren, Mack remains a “Chicken Hawk” in the game – grabbing up new fans often.

AllHipHop.com: I recently heard Ms. Jones was gushing all over you on the radio talking about your “powerful presence.” Does that affect your gangsta, being viewed as a sex symbol?

Mack 10: Oh she was being nice? That’s cool, it’s good to be too sexy and too gangsta at the same time. Although, I guess for a woman you can ever be too much of either.

AllHipHop.com: What’s going on with Hoo-Bangin records?

Mack 10: Hoo-Bangin records next year will be our 10th year anniversary.

AllHipHop.com: You really brought out an interesting roster in the late 90’s. What’s your current roster?

Mack 10: It’s myself, I have an artist from Brooklyn called Red Café. He got that song that they’re playing in New York real heavy right now, that “Bling Blow” song with Fabolous, and West side Connection. But [we’re] done – we’re not doing no more West Side Connection s**t.

AllHipHop.com: Why not?

Mack 10: Because everybody’s doing their own thing, ya know.

AllHipHop.com: But everything is still good between everybody?

Mack 10: I mean, I haven’t spoken to anybody, so I guess its cool. Everybody is just doing their own thing.

AllHipHop.com: There appears to such an unwillingness for West Coast artists to work with each other sometimes, do you agree?

Mack 10: Oh, I completely agree, I comment on that all the time.

AllHipHop.com: Westside Connection are three hustling, highly intelligent, highly creative businessmen. What are the factors that come into play that start to mess up relationships like that?

Mack 10: I don’t know, I guess just egos and power. I guess that’s probably a few things that could break up groups.

AllHipHop.com: But if you know that, why is it so hard?

Mack 10: You still can’t always help it, everybody don’t just brush s**t off real easy.

AllHipHop.com: Well I’m not talking about everyone else right now I’m talking about you, specifically. Someone has to be the bigger person and be humble, is it that hard for you to swallow your pride?

Mack 10: I think that’s with any man. Because with me, I ain’t gotta be all that. But I’m gonna remain a man, and I gotta be that. I don’t compromise that for no amount of money, no nothing. I don’t know how to kiss ass or none of that. I just don’t know how to do that.

AllHipHop.com: How do you manage to find a balance?

Mack 10: Because I’m a real n***a, I’m from these streets for real. A lot of these n***as that rap ain’t really from the streets. These n***as is entertainers, I’m not really an industry n***a, I just know how to rap.

AllHipHop.com: Is it really possible to separate your ties to the streets once you become a rapper?

Mack 10: Naw, you can never erase where you come from. You might not end up there, but you can’t erase where you’re from, and [Inglewood is] where I’m from. Am I going to the hood hangin out and all that? No, I’m grown. I have three beautiful kids that love me, so hell naw! But at the same time, people don’t really understand that when you’re a street n***a, it don’t necessarily mean that you’re with that bulls**t, you know what I mean just who I am as a person my morals my ethics everything I live by that.

AllHipHop.com: Speaking of the streets, how do you feel about how Game’s affiliation with Bloods cast a new light on your gang?

Mack 10: Well, me and [DJ] Quik always represented the Red, so it’s nothing new. I don’t think it’s something he did on purpose. I think it just so happened to be that’s what side of the tracks he’s from and he just happens to be a new artist with a lot of attention focused on him.

AllHipHop.com: How do you feel about him?

Mack 10: I don’t know him, but I’m proud of him. He’s a youngster getting his money, at least he should be, and he has a successful album so he’s good, but I don’t really speak bad on people I don’t really know.

AllHipHop.com: You’ve been doing this for over a decade like you mentioned, what are some highlights for you of the past ten years with respect to your career?

Mack 10: I’m proud that I’ve been successful, and I realize that I’m blessed and I did it all without compromising my integrity or my manhood. I haven’t sold out to the industry or to nothing else. I’ll never sell my soul to none of that s**t. I’m always gonna stand up and be God-fearing and a regular dude. I’m never gonna flip the script and become Hollywood like I’m not normal no more.

AllHipHop.com: But has it been an easy transition for you?

Mack 10: Yeah, I’ve been doing this s**t for over a decade, there has to be some balance.

AllHipHop.com: The Hoo-Bangin’ artists and your associations have changed over the years. How do you handle the lost friends along the way?

Mack 10: Oh, believe I’ve experienced that and that s**t is crazy. But real friends, money could never get involved. If a n***a is really your partner, there shouldn’t ever be any amount of money that can f**k that up, not unless a n***a go bad and start stealin’ from you and s**t, then they never really was your partner anyways.

AllHipHop.com: Some of your former artists have told us that they weren’t pleased with your business ethics at times. Looking back professionally, what would you change, if you could?

Mack 10: I would’ve kept it all business, and I wouldn’t have put my heart into it. I would have made no friendship or nothing like that because friendship is something serious, and that s**t is like when you really consider someone your partner, it ain’t supposed to be none of that bulls**t.

AllHipHop.com: Is there anyone on the West Coast that you’d like to see reconcile?

Mack 10: I don’t know, I’ve never really thought about it. I guess Snoop and Dre and all the Dogg Pound [dudes].

AllHipHop.com: I think I’d like to see all of you guys together.

Mack 10: [prolonged silence, then laughter] I don’t have a problem with nobody. I don’t do Rap beefs, n***as handle theirs the way they handle theirs, I just don’t believe in it.

AllHipHop.com: Does T-Boz listen to and critique your music?

Mack 10: I mean, if I ask her, she’ll keep it real. She’ll tell me whether she likes it or not.

AllHipHop.com: Do you do the same to her?

Mack 10: Oh, believe that.

AllHipHop.com: I’m glad to hear you guys are back together, do you mind talking about what happened?

Mack 10: It’s like this: I really don’t talk about that because I’ve been doing music for over ten years, and I feel like if we keep interviewing, we can find other stuff to talk about.

AllHipHop.com: I appreciate that, but you have to understand that you have female fans to that might have found some issue with what went down.

Mack 10: Yeah, just know this: everything gets blown completely out of proportion just because of who we are. And I’ll just leave it at that. I’m not going to point any fingers and say she did this, or I said that, we’ll just leave it at that.

AllHipHop.com: Okay, but did you hit her?

Mack 10: No, I don’t get down like that. And believe me, a n***a, especially a rapper living in the country, accused of hitting his wife is going to jail. Believe it, and you didn’t hear anything about me going to jail in Georgia at that. You think a n***a ain’t goin to jail?

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