full story of Hip-Hop is told, much more credit will be given to the
West Coast rap scene. While many of the worlds hardest Bronx-centric
Hip-Hop historians might try to downplay the lyrical and political
impact of the West, it cannot be ignored. Case in point, MC
Eiht. Before most of todays so-called gangster rappers were able to
get into a film- he was pioneering the genera in Menace II Society.
Before that, he was owning the streets of L.A. with his group Comptons
Most Wanted. West Coast rap has gone through several transformations.
Many have come and gone. Rappers blossom and fade every day in L.A.,
but Eiht never left the block. Now a member of the West Coast
super-group Warzone, comprised of Eiht, Kam and Goldie Loc, he stands
as a decorated vet of the West side. With Snoop Dogg producing the
Warzones self titled debut, the uncrowned King of Compton can truly
AllHipHop.com: Whats new, Eiht?
MC Eiht: Just maintaining, you know. F**kin around in the studio with
Snoop. Doin a lot of s**t. Me and Snoop started back in the high
school days battlin and all that. I met him at Hamilton Junior High in
Long Beach. We all used to get our rap on. Thats when I ran into him.
I think I was about 16, or 17 years old, freestyling.
AllHipHop.com: Your career with Comptons Most Wanted took off a while
before Snoop got off the ground. What kind of interactions did you have
with him during that time?
MC Eiht: I mean I had neighborhood reach - but not musically. He was
still from Long Beach and I was from Compton. As far as the way my
career, it was just the place I was in. Compton took off before Long
Beach. Thats really what it had to do with.
AllHipHop.com: When you were in Menace II Society,
that was your acting debut. I expected to see you doing more films
after that. But you never seemed to pursue it full blown. Is there a
reason? MC Eiht: Rap was my focus. I never really went after
acting like that. I never had the incentive to go after it like that. I
was just trying to connect people from the streets.
AllHipHop.com: Looking at the future, can we expect more from you on
screen? I mean the day of the rapper actor is upon us. Youve got Will
Smith, Cube, Eve, Diddy, the list goes on...
MC Eiht: If something comes about. Ive been talking to people about
doing my own thing. Im going to get into it after we do this Warzone
thing. Things will be a little more easier.
AllHipHop.com: The Warzone is you, Goldie Loc and Kam. Thats a West
Coast super-group if I ever saw one. Tell me about you relationship
MC Eiht: Me and Kam been running into one another over the last ten
years of our careers. We done shows, rallies, meetings, Crip and Blood
things. Me and Kam always had a connection. It was always love there.
AllHipHop.com: When you guys all put a song together, do you write that
day in the studio or does Snoop farm the beat out you write verses and
MC Eiht: Snoop might have a beat on deck and well be in the studio and
come up with a concept. Goldie might come up with something, or Kam or
me might come up with something. Snoop might jump on the hook and we
automatically know how to follow the song. Its easy to do if youre a
vet and you been doing it as long as we have- especially if you love
the game. Nobody gotta tap the other dude and be like, What you
writin about? Its all natural. We feed off each other so its real
AllHipHop.com: Shortly after the 1992 riots I was in L.A., interviewing
cats on Grape Street about the gang truce. Today, people say the truce
didnt really last that long or was never even really enforced. How do
you feel about that and how do you feel about where the streets are in
terms of South Central, Los Angeles?
MC Eiht: I was a part of the riot situation and the Blood and Crip
thing. I saw n***as come together. It lasted for a minute - without any
real real organization [pauses to focus thoughts]. Its just so many
barbecues and picnics that you can go to without really focusing on the
problem in the Blood and Crip communities. In these projects and in the
streets, its bound to just turn.
After all the getting loaded and the partyin and sayin, Im gonna
wear a red hat and you wear a blue hat, after all that, there is no
focus. Whats gonna happen after we done partied? Nobody focused on
that. Nobody tried to into a whole- as far as the peace. Thats why it
As far as where the streets are at today. We still got killings. We
still got shootings. I cant say if its more or less, cause now we
got the Black and Brown thing too. Its really f**ked up. But that comes
from another source. That comes from money, the jail system and all
AllHipHop.com: I do a lot of talks on Black and Brown unity in the
prisons and I talk to the Brown Berets a lot. But, I know from being in
the Bay that it is very different than what is going on down in L.A.
There is much less drama up here- why?
MC Eiht: Its a lot of overcrowding here. You got Mexican and Black
gangs on the same block. They fighting for the rights on the territory.
They are fighting for position. Then you got the dope trade. N***as are
jackin each other and stealin each others work. Its bound to be
But theres a lot of hype around it. I feel it could be solved without
all the hype. We aint doin nothing but wiping each other out.
AllHipHop.com: Can you have Black and Brown unity before you have Black unity in itself?
MC Eiht: You always gonna have problems within your own race. My thing
is, the less conflict you have with your fellow man, itll make it
easier. Maybe then people can follow behind within your own and make it
better for your community and race.
Its just the fact that we are both minorities and we both stuck in
this situation of poverty. Were both trying to hustle for the same
buck and that makes it more f**ked up.
AllHipHop.com: I hate to keep it political. But I need to know if you vote and if yes, who are you voting for?
MC Eiht: Do I vote? No. They always say it makes a difference. But
every time I vote, it dont make a difference. I dont even follow
politics right now. Because they are so f**ked up in the politics. How
can they have the support of the American people?
They need to get themselves in order. They are relying on US to put
n***as in the White House and the Senate and all that. 80% of these
mothaf**kas end up being f**ked up or corrupt.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think someone like Barack Obama running for president matters?
MC Eiht: I think he could help. He would put a new twist to it. But
honestly, I dont think theyd let him in. Before they let a person
whos African American or a woman in they aint gonna let him in. Its
just too old school White-blooded American. Itd be a nice change. But
I cant see it happening.
Itd give our people and tons of other people a chance to see what
could happen. What could be done on a different scale? It would cause
so much controversy. When that day happens you know its f**ked up
AllHipHop.com: Nas said Hip-Hop was dead. Then KRS-One dropped an album
talking about Hip-Hop lives. Regardless of where you stand on that
issue, where would you like to see Hip-Hop going?
MC Eiht: I can understand Nas. Hes lyrical, hes self-conscious. He
teaches us lessons. I also like KRS-One and those type of cats too.
Hes one of our pioneers. Id like to see Hip-Hop go beyond all the
imagery. Id like to see it have a point.
Im not the first rapper to be tellin people how to be living. People
think my music is negative. Just like [critics are] on my n***a Snoop.
They are back on the b***h and ho words again. Its just funny how
the s**t comes back full circle.
Id like to see things get back to being authentic: some Heavy D &
the Boys, some Eazy-E, some 2Pac, some Kool Moe Dee, Biggie n***as that
meant something. I know we gotta have something for the kids. But let
them go to some Disney [movie] s**t then.
I struggle to eat off this s**t. This is real. I dont look at making
music as something [where] I wanna just get in the studio and play
around on some keyboards. Im not just trying to say a few little
phrases, and hope I sell a million copies. Thats why Nas gets the idea
that Hip-Hop is dead.
I hate to name names. But when you hear s**t like [DJ Webstar &
Young Bs] Chicken Noodle Soup, it makes Hip-Hop seem like .Like all
the stuff we built on like Afrika Bambaataa and the Treacherous 3 to
Eazy and EPMD and all the old school pioneers- to see what it turned
into is ludicrous.
I appreciate n***as like KRS-One. I appreciate n***as like Snoop for
not being afraid to put their hands back in the pot. People try to
count him out- sayin that hes old.
Anybody whos from my era: Scarface, Ice-T, Public Enemy- anybody -
back then, we had significance in rap. We meant something. We might
have told you that some people were dope dealers and some people were
pushers and this and that. But there was always a motive and a story
behind it. So, Id like to see it get to some authentic s**t.
Adisa Banjoko is an author, lecturer and co-founder of the Hip Hop Chess Federation: www.myspace.com/hiphopchess