(AllHipHop Interviews) During his 34 years on the planet, Andre "Mac Dre" Hicks created over a dozen musical releases including Young Black Brotha, Ronald Dregan: Dreganomics, and The Genie of the Lamp. Tragically, the Bay Area rapper's life was cut short when he was murdered in Kansas City a decade ago.
Since that time, followers of the late Thizz Entertainment founder have continuously worked to keep his legacy alive. The next step to maintain the memory of Mac Dre in the public's consciousness comes in the form of two films - a documentary and a biopic.
Veteran actor Tray Chaney (The Wire) announced he has been selected to produce and star in both upcoming Mac Dre pictures. He also revealed that Dre's mother Wanda Salvatto is on board with the projects.
AllHipHop.com was able to connect with Ms. Salvatto, aka Mac Wanda, via e-mail to ask her about the Mac Dre movie.
Why did you decide to endorse a film being made about your son now?
Because it is ten years now since we lost him, and I still see the impact he’s made on his family, friends, and fans. That speaks to what kind of person he was, and more people should hear his story.
How did you connect with Tray Chaney and his team?
Well, I connected with Tray through a mutual friend, and after meeting Tray and having multiple conversations I saw how he was affected by my son in a positive way.
We initially hired Tray to narrate the forthcoming Mac Dre documentary which is in production. In researching and working on the documentary, Tray has met with many of Mac Dre’s family and friends, including Curtis Nelson (Kilo Kurt).
Tray and Kilo hit it off, and the idea of Tray portraying Kilo evolved from there. Tray’s passion for these Mac Dre projects has been infectious, and his connections and experience have led to a role for Tray on the production side of things.
How involved are you in the film's production?
I’m working closely with the producers and director on the documentary and feel confident that the story is in good hands. I also will be a consultant and an executive producer on the planned theatrical releases.
What do you hope viewers will learn about Mac Dre from seeing the movie?
I really want people to understand where he came from and to consider his music in a larger social context. Hip Hop is everywhere now, but when he started there was no path to follow. He was a trailblazer. He wrote about the world that he saw, and his raps spoke to issues important and still relevant today. For example, stop-and-frisk, the use of rap lyrics against defendants in criminal trials, and first amendment issues.