West Coast Hip-Hop Icon To Release Solo Album On September 28
By Phyllis Pollack
"You don't have to go to L.A. to get your MC Eiht," Lloyd Banks contended on his debut album, The Hunger For More, which entered the Billboard pop chart at Number One. Banks' assertion on his madly successful album keenly demonstrates how deeply it is ingrained within hiphop consciousness that MC Eiht is known as being the streets' ultimate spokesperson for the West Coast. Period.
As signified by the title of Eiht's new album, Veterans Day, slated
for release on September 28, Eiht is one of the true O.G.'s of L.A. hiphop,
a true veteran of the ghetto, emerging in 1989, with the debut release from
Comptons Most Wanted, It's A Compton ThangEiht rolled along side Tha Chill, their luminary scratcher DJ Mike T and producers Slip and DJ Unknown. Cited as a select musical inspiration
for producer/director John Singleton's classic film, Boyz 'N The Hood,
the group's single, "Growin' Up In The Hood" was picked as the single for
the film. Eiht's releases with CMW, Straight Check N' Em and Music To Driveby quickly became West Coast underground classics. Eiht, who
has graced the cover of the Source Magazine twice, appeared in the
Hughes Brothers' feature film Menace II Society, and also achieved
critical acclaim for his indelible single, "Streiht Up Menace," which appeared
on the film's multi-platinum selling soundtrack, which held the Number One
spot on the Billboard Top 100 R&B Albums Chart for eight weeks.
We Come Strapped, which quickly achieved gold status, created controversy
for its no holds barred attack on racist police officers, and was eventually
attacked in a speech by then Presidential candidate Bob Dole. Rolling
Stone Magazine was among the media outlets that joined in the frenzy
to address the fact that Eiht's record label, Epic Records, felt compelled
to issue an extra warning sticker on the disc, which stated that Eiht's lyrics
were not necessarily the opinions of the Sony label.
Eiht released Death Threatz and Last Man Standing, officially ending his time with Epic, and then he signed with Priority, releasing Underground Hero, Section 8 and N' My Neighbohood. Always in demand, he has accepted numerous offers to record duets on albums released by other artists, a few of which include Spice 1, Scarface and Pete Rock, but now he's back on the solo tip with a new album, Veterans Day.
Eiht comes back for the kill with his new album, Veterans Day, released by West, Inc. Records though Native Records with distribution by Ryko's Penalty Associated Labels. Again, as noted by the album's title, Eiht is reveling in the light of a long career that has garnered him sheer respect from the streets, as well as countless props from other artists. On Tupac Shakur's birthday this year, L.A.'s KWPR 106 FM re-broadcast the interview during which Pac stated that when he was in prison at Dannemora, he fervently listened to MC Eiht's music. When Ludacris broadcast his video countdown on MTV, he opened it up with Eiht's "Streiht Up Menace." To Eiht, these were not just props---they were omens. "All of this just told me I needed to be working on putting an album out, to keep going. I had done some projects that were just to keep my name out there, but I realized this year that I really wanted to do a significant album, which will actually be my very first since being in the Priority situation." Despite his heavy reputation in the hiphop world, Eiht acknowledges, "To some people, this will be my first solo album, because they weren't around for my prior releases, and to them, this will be my first album."
The production on Veterans Day was done by Tha Chill, who has also recently recorded tracks for Snoop Dogg' s 213. There is one exception, and that is the track, "Some Of These Thugs," produced by Prodeje of South Central Cartel.
From its provocative intro, "Vetz Day," Eiht takes the listener into the streets with him. He potently explains of the album's opening, "It's the national anthem, but this version is our national anthem, for those that can relate to it. It's national throughout ghettos everywhere. You'll listen to it, and you'll say, 'That's real what he's saying there,' referring to the police violence, the people, my generation, and he's trying to make a point."
Among the album's tracks is "Gangsta Smash," which Eiht describes as "a gangsta groove song. It's just telling gangstas to mash to this groove."
"It's Alright" deals with the problems and struggles going on with males and females as they hustle up and do what they need to do to keep food on the table.
Being a true vet, “We Made It 2004” derives from a song CMW did on their first album. Eiht says, “We had a clean version, a radio version on that album, so we recreated it here. We made it a street version for 2004.”
Words from the wise, “Nobody Beat Us,” says Eiht, is a Biz Markie remake. “Like nobody beats the business,” pontificates Eiht, but I’m saying that nobody beat us. I’m using old school sounds on this record, using a little Biz Markie and UTFO. I think people will like this cut that features people from my era who started out with early hiphop.” It has a bit of an East Coast feel to it. It’s all West music again, however, when Eiht returns with “Streets Don’t Love You,” which Eiht describes as “more steered towards classic Eiht, CMW music. It’s that old Barry White that we’re known for. CM-Dub is known for heavy Isaac Hayes, the Meters, stuff like that. I was thinking of veteran shit, old school shit, trying to do something significant, so people would say, ‘That’s classic Eiht right there.’ It’s explaining the circumstances that we live in today.”
“I speak for the people on the streets and the underground,” notes Eiht. “I try to keep my music on that level. I don’t deal with how much money there is, or how much it’s going to cost to get a chick that is a celebrity. I can’t talk about people in Compton riding around in Bentleys and going to the clubs, messing with models. We don’t even have any clubs in Compton. My music is about being in the neighborhood, being around real people, who are stuck in the struggle of doing whatever they be doing, every day jobs, dope dealing, trying to take care of their families.”
He adds, “A lot of guys never get a chance to do what I’ve been doing, but I still stay true to where I started, still being able to connect withfolks. That’s why I feel I can touch a lot of people.”
You don’t have to go to L.A. to get your MC Eiht, because instead, you can go to the nearest place where there’s a record store, and get a copy of Veterans Day
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