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MC EIHT
HOOD RAPS & STRAPS

interview by Meshack Blaq
photos by Young Grasshopper
Like back in the days of the Underground Railroad, there was always a Homie you could depend on to hold your heat, hide your stash, or hook you up `til any skirmish blew over. That was the Underground creed that remains to this day. The title may have evolved over the years from Slave to Black to the modern day G-Code, but the ethic stands: always stay prepared and make sure to look out for your People. That was the lesson taught the day we went shooting with MC Eiht. Ain't much changed with a Nigga; still servin' those authentic Compton City HOOD RAPS & STRAPS..
KRON:
Does the motto "We Come Strapped" still apply to you after all these years?
EIHT:
Hell yea! I don't go nowhere without my strap (reaching under his shit and pulling out the burner). I'm heated all the time! You can't roll like that out here in L.A. and not have no heat. Whether it's just to have, or whether you got beef, or whatever the case may be; havin' heat is mandatory.
KRON:
(Did I mention we're rollin' in his brand new Benz Coupe?) Whaddup with CMW? DJ Slip & Mike T?
EIHT:
CMW's workin' on another record right now. We tryin' to put that together. As far as me bein' on Hoo Bangin', I'ma try to contribute as much as I can to the project by doin' a couple of songs, what have you. Basically that's what we doin' right now as far as Compton's Most Wanted is concerned.
KRON:
How do you feel about the status of the West Coast right now, bein' that you're one of the forefathers of this AND one of the current players??
EIHT:
Well basically, the status of the West Coast right now is where the people put us. Because we got a lotta heated Brothas over here. We got a lotta heated Niggaz, period. We puttin' out heat over here, but it's just that the business right now is so overpopulated with everything. Everybody can get they chance to get on. New York started the shit, and it came over to the West when we snatched it up with the Gangsta shit. I done seen shit go through transitions of Niggaz just rappin' about the clothes they wear, to the Gangsta shit, to muthafuckas wantin' to be from Afrika with the red, black & green medallions, to the clicks and the Death Rows, and the Hoo Bangin's and the Cash Money's and the Bad Boy's. And all that is in now `cause Niggaz done got smart. So basically I just see it as a part of a foundation of stayin' on the right path an' shit. `Cause right now the doors is so open for all kinda shit to get in and I feel that the media, news magazines, video channels, whatever; they need to show West Coast artists as much Love as they showin' East Coast. I don't give a fuck `cause everybody deserve they equal amount of muthafuckin' opportunity to do shit. So I'm figurin' if you got a Nigga on the West Coast sellin' a million records and you got a Nigga on the East Coast sellin' a million records, why always plug the Nigga from the East Coast an' shit? Like our sound is too gritty for muthafuckas to accept. But it's those icon muthafuckas; the Niggaz who run the magazine heads, and the muthafuckas who control what gets played on the radio and what videos we see. If they on the aspect that West Coast Niggaz is Gangsters and Crips & Bloods, and shoot `em up bang-bang; then they ain't gon' give us no juice regardless of how good our music is. There's a lotta muthafuckas out there who sell a million records on the Underground and Niggaz never know. But I feel it's all media hype, Man! If Niggaz want you to be known as a popular muthafucka, then you'll be known. If not, then you won't.
KRON:
What's happening with the acting stuff?
EIHT:
Well I just did a part in the Mack 10 movie comin' out, Thicker Than Water. I'm in that with a lil' role similar to Menace II Society. And I got a part in this movie called L.A. Gang Godfather. So I'm pickin' back up with the movie shit.
KRON:
Recently Quik made a track where he's sayin' at the end about you getting' your head together, etc. What's the possibility of you two workin' together and did that spark any new bullshit that was unnecessary?
EIHT:
I had to inform muthafuckas that basically to me, I didn't take it as shit. Because he's talkin' about a situation that happened between him and some of my Homies at a club. I was nowhere around. But he's makin' reference to me `cause it was because of me that he got into the situation with my Homeboys. He did a record "Dollars & Sense" where he's callin' out the neighborhood an' shit like that. There's only so much I can control as far as my neighborhood is concerned. I leave the shit on a personal thang. If me and Quik had a beef like we did back in the day, it was always personal. I never targeted his record company. I never targeted his set, his Hood, the Treetop Bloods; I never targeted them. Now I don't give a fuck what you say about me `cause I can hold my own. But when you incorporate a hundred other muthafuckas in your thang, then you bringin' it into a political battle. When we beefed I never tried to direct it as, "Fuck your Homeboys" or "Fuck your neighborhood" whatever-whatever, `cause I'm knowin' what that could lead into. I'm the type of Nigga that we can do this head-up. Fuck the gang shit! It wasn't about no gangs, period. He made a tape when I was on my second album. He was doin' street tapes from his garage or whatever. He made a tape in reference to me. Not only me, but Eazy-E, NWA; the whole click. So he made a phrase like he was gon' blast on us when he see us or whatever. And when you comin' up and you in your neighborhood and you tryin' to build a recognition with the Niggaz that's bangin' and killin' and whatever-whatever. And you representin' that turf and your skills of what you bringin' to the table is rappin' and glorifyin' the neighborhood whatever-whatever. So he's gon' glorify the neighborhood. He's gon' say Treetop is the best. They shootin' all Crip rappers, and that includes NWA, Eazy-E, CMW & MC. I never heard the tape, but my DJ who was a Blood; Mike-T got ahold to the tape and brought it to my attention. And that's how the shit got started. Basically it was just bullshit. Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. But over the experience of what's been goin' on with Pac & Biggie and my Nigga from the RBL Posse, and Cool C getting' locked up, and all that shit; it's just too much shit, Man. Because Niggaz just wanna make money and chill. That's my thang. My thang is to Rap because this is what God gave me to do. Or I coulda been gangbangin', playin' football, or sittin' in prison or whatever. But instead I got the talent to Rap. So I can't use that to the form of where I'ma keep on gangbangin' and exploit this shit to the fullest. Because everybody know where a Nigga from. Everybody knew what set I claimed and all that shit. So my days of that was done. Tryin' to squash the beef with him, we just realized that it wasn't worth him doin' shit and it wasn't worth me doin' shit. So we just said "Fuck it!"
KRON:
So how do you see the elevation of gangbangin' into the businesses that you Brothas have all created through Hip Hop?
EIHT:
I see that it was a form of Niggaz just getting' tired of not bein' able to have a million dollars in they pocket but can't go out and enjoy it. I can't go to restaurants, I can't go to the movies with my kids, I can't go to the amusement parks and malls because I'm in fear of the gangbangin' shit. You know, Niggaz gon' be lookin' at me ready to dump me. So Niggaz had to start takin' that aspect into the form of "Fuck that!" Because I wanna be visible to the public. I wanna be close, rubbin' shoulders where everybody is cool. That's why Niggaz started hookin' up wit' each other and kickin' it for the fact that Niggaz got tired of just bein' on the fucked up tip! I wanna go places, I wanna do thangs. So Niggaz feel like "Fuck it! Let's incorporate this shit like that. Let's go out, let's hang. I'ma hook up with Mack 10. He a Blood. I'ma hook up with Snoop Dogg from Long Beach." Or "I'ma hook up with this Nigga or that Nigga", because we gotta have that unity. That's how you make money. Muthafuckas see Cube on my record. They be like, "Aww, that's the shit!" If a Nigga heard me on Quiks record, or Quik on my record, or me on Pete Rock's record, or whatever we do; it's a network incorporated. I'm for the fact of unity in Hip Hop. But there are Niggaz out there who try to test. But you just rub that shit off; shine that shit off because we gotta incorporate this shit to where Niggaz get Businesses. We can't Rap forever. Niggaz can't be Rappers forever. I know I ain't gon' be no Rapper forever. What I'ma do when ain't no more record companies callin' and all my royalty checks and performances dry up? You can't have beef out here `cause you gotta network. You gotta network wit' everybody.
KRON:
I can't help but ask you this because you came up back in the day when "Baller" was a household word. I mean, Brothas back then were heated and slangin' dirt. But they also had the finer things in life like Ferrari's and Benzes with the Gucci & Louie V interior, as well as the diamonds and the gold. How does it feel to see all that shit come 100% full-circle legally now with Hip Hop?
EIHT:
It's cool because back in the days when I was growin' up, if you wasn't no Baller, you wasn't shit. You couldn't get no girl, you couldn't get nothin; no respect on the streets unless you was a hardcore gangbanger. And me, never bein' a rich Nigga on the streets, I was a banger. I wasn't one of them Niggaz who was sellin' crack part-time and tryin' to Hustle. Then over here I'ma try to get my bang on, but I'ma be wearin' Guess jeans and a Polo shirt and nice shoes. I was a straight-up banger! Nikes, t-shirts and khakis. I didn't see the fast side of the streets. I wasn't one of them Niggaz who was 15-16 with my own car and a couple of thousand in my pocket.
KRON:
How about a Nissan truck?
EIHT:
Nah, Man. I was one of them come-pick-me-up-type of Niggaz. You know? Come drop me off in the Hood! But it's good that it's legal. Shit, now Niggaz can go out and buy Rolexes and spend $100,000.00 on cars. They can kick they women down, they kids can have shit and go to rich schools. You can help ya Moms' out. That shit feels good, but then it's kinda fucked up sometimes. Because bein' legal can be fucked up. It's hard to be legal to some Niggaz now. Niggaz like I know in the Game right now, that shit is hard. `Cause the illegal shit comes like that (snapping his fingers). You ain't gotta wait around on royalty checks and publishing statements, and waiting for your album to go gold and shit like that. If you on the street Nigga, you can take $10,000.00 and make $50,000.00 in two or three weeks. As opposed to the Rap Game: shit, you ain't fixxin' to see fifty or sixty grand until your record sells a couple of hundred thousand. And you better hope you own your publishin' an' shit. `Cause if you ain't,you ain't collectin' nothin'! That's the Game now. I've been makin' records for 12 years and I done had 7 albums. So I done been on movie soundtracks. I done been everywhere; tours, Europe, Japan, all that shit. But if you just puttin' out records and sellin' fifty-sixty thousand copies, and you ain't makin' no money; it ain't worth it. We doin' this just like a job; you gotta get paid for what you work for. Niggaz ain't tryin' to be greedy in sayin' we should be the richest and big- timinest Niggaz in the world. But shit, if a Nigga can go on the court and shoot a basketball and get a hundred million dollars for puttin' a ball through a hoop, then Godamn, we should get paid for puttin' these lyrics down on paper `cause it's concentration. Anybody can't be a basketball player. If that's the case I'd be out there. I know I can make one shot out of a whole game! I ain't tryin' to go up in the center and get hacked. But I know I can stand from the 3-point and bust about 6 points, if that's the case! Cause you got Brothas makin' a $100,000,000.00 right now who can't score but 8 points a game!
KRON:
Well when was the last time that One Time had you gaffled up?
EIHT:
Well I ain't been jacked in awhile. I think basically because when I ride, I ride solo. And then I don't be tryin' to act stupid when I ride. `Cause Police just want a reason to pull you over. So right now I'm skilled enough and I'm disciplined to not give them a reason. If they pull on the side of me, I ain't even fidden ta look at them muh'fuhs. I'ma keep drivin', bobbin' my head to the music. If you look suspicious around them muh'fuckas, they gon' pull you over. I don't try to perpetrate (putting on his best square-Negro face), `cause then they gon' think my ass looks too funny right there. That's suspicious! But I done been to jail three times for pistols. That's all I go to jail for. I went to jail about three months ago over a pistol. Over an old warrant I had in `96. I had a pistol in the car and they let me go in `96 `cause I was on my way to Europe. So I had totally forgot about the shit. Then one of my cousins drove one of my cars and got it impounded recently. And my stupid ass go up tothe Police station where they run my drivers license with the release forms. I'm sittin' outside chillin' when three Cops come outside and was like, "You! Come here!!" I'm like, "What's goin' on?" They said, "Put your hands behind your head! You got a warrant." I was in jail for about an hour. They let me out. But my problems with the Police was as a typical teenager growin' up. I felt the Police was always harrasin' us, and they still do. But now that I look at it, it's to the point where if you're patrollin' the beat in Compton, or L.A. & Watts, or Long Beach; you got a particular outlook that you look for when you lookin' for a muh'fucka that you know is up to no good, but you ain't got the proof. So shit, if I'm a Cop all I gotta do is hit the streets and look for a description: Black Nigga, black hat, t-shirt & khakis. And that's gon' fit my description in any Hood. 8 times outta 10 that muh'fucka's doin' somethin' that he shouldn't be doin'. And whether I know he doin' it or not, I can get in his face and make him so nervous to where he's gon' tell on himself. And that's Police's whole Game. If you don't know the Law, they gon' work it on you. And Niggaz don't know the Law! If they get an excuse to stop you and you don't know why they stoppin' you, they gon' do you every time! EVERY TIME. They wanna see if you gon' tell on yourself. If they pull me over, I say, "What did I do wrong? I was goin' the speed limit. I got a license, insurance, no warrants, tags. What's up? And I am not getting' out of the automobile, PERIOD. Unless you got probable cause." I could have 30 AK's in there, but if I ain't did nothin' wrong and if I ain't got no warrants, I ain't fidden ta get out my car. "Here you go officer; license, registration, insurance. If I was speedin', give me a speedin' ticket. If I did a traffic violation, give me a ticket." After that I just shut up and I am not getting' out of my vehicle anymore. I ain't fidden ta get searched. You subject to that. You got rights just like they know you got rights. All that, "Get out the car, and let me run you for warrant checks..." No sir! I know my rights!! Give me my ticket or violation and let me go on. So basically the Police and me, I don't encounter them and I don't try to get into they face to where they gon' look at me long enough to go, "I wonder what he do?" `Cause already when they pull up on you and see you in the nice car, they getting' doubts. They want to jack you, but then they go, "This Nigga is in a $60,000.00 car. His tags is up to date, he got his seat belt on. So if we stop him, we better have some kind of reason for stoppin' him. Because if he turns out to be legit, it's gon' be on our shit." So that's the only thing that makes `em think twice. Now if I was rollin' up in a the Cutlass or somethin', (making the siren sound) I'm jacked!
KRON:
What does this album, Section 8 mean to you after all these years?
EIHT:
This album is basically for the muh'fuckas who still live in the projects. The muh'fuckas who gotta Hustle & grind everyday; who ain't wakin' up every mornin' and openin' up they door and seein' the oceanfront and 15 acres of land, and 15 cars outside. This record is for the muh'fuckin bitches who on the County and Niggaz who like sellin' crack goin' "Damn! I been sellin' crack for 20 years and I'm still livin' in apartment 210B!" That's what I'm makin' records for. I ain't makin' records for the rich muh'fuckas. They rich already! I don't make records for the people who Ma$e makes his records for or Puff Daddy, or anybody else for that matter. I make my records for Niggaz who be like, "Shit, can I borrow a dollar?" I'm makin' records for the Niggaz who be like, "Give me a free CD `cause I can't pay for it." And I'm down with that.
KRON:
Since we went to the range today, can you tell us what your first time discharging a firearm was like? And was it in a controlled setting like today?
EIHT:
Hell naw! The settin', I ain't gon' say what it was. But the first time I discharged a weapon was probably when I was about 14. Growin' up where I grew up, Man... Not havin' a gun was like not havin' a pair of drawls; it was just straight-up dumb. It wasn't like to the aspect where if a Nigga had a gun he was like, "Fuck that! I got a gun so I can just go around like, `Nigga what-what!? What Nigga?! Bop-bop!! What? What y'all wanna do'?" That ain't it. Because first of all I knew how my Moms' was. And if Moms' knew I had a gun in my room under the mattress, it'd been all Hell broke loose. If Moms' knew I was out there walkin' around with a strap, carryin' it like I was Billy the Kid, I'da got my ass whupped. Moms' was the type of muh'fucka to come to the Hood and get you! Pullin' up like a G and be like, "Nigga get in right now! Let's go!! It's 2 o'clock in the mornin' boy! You got school tomorrow!! Let's go!" And that's how I was. I was a rebellious muthafucka at 14-15. I didn't wanna stay at home, I didn't wanna go to school. I just thought I was a mouthpiece. But it all was turnin' into somethin' for me. It was an experience that I was goin' thru that I could put down on paper now. Mom's was strugglin' and Pop's was gone. But she wasn't fidden ta have us in the projects an' shit even though she wasn't makin' a gang of paper an' shit like that. And she refused for Niggaz to be wearin' Pro-Wings and Payless shoes and shit like that. So every fuckin' dollar she had, she made sure if eveybody was wearin' Nike's, we had Nikes. If Niggaz had Atari's an' shit, we had to get one. That's how she was `cause she didn't want us to be deprived of the shit.
KRON:
So having that experience of bein' a retired O.G., do you see yourself taking your son or daughter when they're old enough, out to the shooting range to teach them how to properly handle a firearm?
EIHT:
Hell yea! Protection is a must!! I take my kids anywhere and everywhere. And If I got to, I'll teach `em how to carry a strap and be protective of they family, and don't take no shit from nobody. Not goin' out tryin' to start shit because you know how to shoot a gun, or you could pull a trigger. But just be aware because everybody in life ain't got it like I got, or you got, or anybody at this table. It's muh'fuckas out there right now strugglin' to pay they phone bill, they rent, they gas, whatever. And it's some Niggaz with mentality of goin', "Why should I have to go out there and get a job? When all I gotta do is click-click, gimme!" That's why you gotta be aware. That's why I carry a strap. Not to be goin', "Yea I'm MC



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