MC EIHT, January 1996

What's up with the new album?

Eiht: "Well basically, the new album, compared to the last album, the beats are more put together. The last album was tight. I got more into production on the last album. This album, I get more deeper into production and I also feature other producers on the album. It's got all types of flavor from every different side. It's gonna be a strong album."

Who are some of the other producers?

Eiht: "I got Prodigy and I used Black Jack."

As far as the move from being part of Compton's Most Wanted to going solo, what was that all about?

Eiht: "It was about tryin' to flex, as far as tryin' to get the group some status. As far as me representin' the group, we had been doing things for the last four or five years, and I just felt that it was time for me to do something solo and see how the direction would take it. Everybody seen it as, not leavin' the group, but just takin' a little venture to the side. We got a near platinum album out of the venture, so the company just decided to just come back again this year with the same thing."

What's up with Tha Chill?

Eiht: "Basically, Niggas On The Run (N.O.T.R.), which Chill is featured in, they're featured on the new album. They are signed to my label and their album will be comin' out in the near future."

You got any actin' projects comin' up?

Eiht: "I got a movie comin' out later this year called 'Reasons' that I did with Bernie Mac, based in Chicago. It oughta capture brothers pretty cool."

What's goin' on in the movie?

Eiht: "Basically, it's about goin' to jail and it's about drugs. It's about crooked cops and ten years of drug dealing and gettin' caught up in the game and prison and homies tryin' to stay true to each other while they behind bars. Basically a n---- movie. It's gonna be tight."

Who's on the soundtrack?

Eiht: "The soundtrack ain't put together yet. That's somethin' I'm still workin' on. Starrin' in the movie and havin' a little control with the directors and the producers, I'm tryin' to put the soundtrack together now. Who's goin' to be on it, I couldn't even tell you."

You got a lot of critical praise for your role in "Menace II Society", are you gonna keep the people satisfied with this one?

Eiht: "I think it will be pretty cool. As far as not being an actor. I take a look at it every other day and try to base myself with it. I'm pleased, as a far as "Menace II Society" which was not a big role, but a lot of people thought it was a big role and a lot of people thought I did justice. I'm pretty sure they'll like this one more 'cause I got more lines and more scenes and there is more action than "Menace II Society", but it's on the same level."

What's your stand on this East Coast vs. West Coast thing, now that the division seems to be gettin' deeper?

Eiht: "The only problem I see with it is that you have two powerful entities in the music business. One represents the East Coast and the other represents the West Coast, and that's the problem right there. As far as everybody goes, niggas always want to outdo the next nigga instead of joinin' forces and comin' together to make everything easier for all niggas. Niggas like to outdo niggas, so there you have the East Coast-West Coast beef. You have some smart niggas will take it and just be like f--- it. They will take it to the level of using it to their advantage of goin', 'While these assholes is beefin', then we can join forces with them and be tight.' Then everybody respect and appreciate us for overlookin' it.' That's where I'm at on the subject. I could be down with the East Coast-West Coast beef, because I'm a powerful West Coast entity myself. I could have a lot of sh-- set off that if I joined the West Coast-East Coast beef part, but with me gettin' too much respect from East Coast artists -- Wu-Tang Clan, Ol' Dirty, A Tribe Called Quest ... you know what I'm sayin'? No one in New York has ever, or maybe only a few, has ever said anything about Eiht. I ain't gonna say no names, but they ain't never mentioned my name directly or came directly to me, so to me they're cowards. As far as the other brothers from the East Coast, they get much respect from me because they give me much respect. I'll override the beef situation until somebody brings it to my attention, to want me to be in it. Right now, brothers don't want me to be a part of it, so I'm not with it."

You were on that remix of Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Rawhide." What was it like workin' with him?

Eiht: "It was pretty cool, workin' with Ol' Dirty. Ol' Dirty came out to L.A. for awhile and we hung around, ya know, kicked it, talked. I went to New York and we hung again. It's cool workin' with brothers who's different than my style, 'cause it always gives me a chance to venture out and see what the other side is like. It always gives me a chance to form homies and crews so where I go, I get respect. When I go back, niggas be like, 'Eiht ... Eiht is cool. I don't have to worry about that nigga from the West Coast, he's from Compton.' When I go back, it's like, 'What up, Eiht? Much love.' That's how I always go down."

Your most publicized beef is with DJ Quik. When we were at the Source Awards, it seemed like he tried to play you out in public where you didn't have a chance to come back on him. How did this all come about and how do you deal with that?

Eiht: "That started a long time ago, before he was even a mainstream rapper. It started six years ago off of some little coward sh-- he had done, but never was a man to say why he did it and what was the purpose of it. Then he was sayin' that he made attempts to squash the beef with me, which was true. We talked once and that was it. He never called me to continue the discussion. He said he wanted to work, all that bullsh--, but he never talked to continue the discussion. Next thing you know, he got with Death Row and got pumped up to be this mighty gang banger ... there you have the song. I don't take it personally because I been in the nigga's face. He don't wanna scrap. He don't wanna rap against me. It's a freeze tag game. It ain't like I can just drive around the streets and just see him, I can't call him and discuss the sh-- with him, so I have to resort to doin' my sh-- on record because that's the only way it's gonna get to his ass. As far as the beef goes, I'm not worried about it, because all he has to do to either stop it or continue it is a phone call. I'm not a hard brother to get in contact with. His homies see more of me than they see of him. When you got an army behind you, you feel powerful. Before he had an army, he never expressed his little gang bangin' side, but now that he has an army behind him, he can reveal that. I don't even flow with that. The beef is not with me and Death Row. The beef is not with me and his gang bangin' set. The beef is with me and David, me and DJ Quik. It won't be no big brawl at the convention, it won't be no gang shootout, it will be between me and DJ Quik. If he can't handle it on that note, don't discuss MC Eiht no more."

The way rap is now, so many acts are here today and gone tomorrow. How have you maintained and what do you see yourself doin' in the future?

Eiht: "Some rappers sell a million records and then never come back, some rappers sell 200,000 records and remain for eternity. That's how I got started. I earned respect in the industry by just sellin' so many records. The label made enough money off me to keep me here and I earned enough respect for niggas not to want me to quit rappin'. Even though I never got paid and I was always broke and the record company kept my zip code in Compton, it still made me continue my life. My sh-- was to be somebody. My sh-- was to put it down for Compton, make me some cash and then get me the hell up outta here. I was just makin' the music I wanted to make, not because the company was payin' me and I was makin' the money, 'cause I wasn't, but because I was doin' somethin' I always wanted to do. As far as just stayin' down and makin' good music and every year comin' with a record that niggas can respect and relate to is why I'll always stay down. I always make sh-- that niggas can look forward to. 'Ah, Eiht and CMW comin' back with a new album. Oh, we got to get it.' It's up to the company as to when they wanted to make me mainstream MC Eiht. That's when the blow-up status happens. As far as just being a loyal artist to the industry, that's when Compton's Most Wanted put in work. Every year Compton's Most Wanted put out a loyal album that every nigga respected and that's how we remain here."

You seem to always be puttin' somethin' out there for the listeners. How long will that continue?

Eiht: "I put out an album every year because I just like to keep exposure. I don't like sittin' up while other niggas got records out and I'm just sittin' at home just kickin' it. That's not me. Every year when my album drops, two months later, I'm workin' on the next one. I want to keep my sh-- in a continuous pattern. The record company has no problem with that. If you come with an album every year, they have no problem with it. They'll put it out and make the money, just as long as you keep comin' with it. I have to have a project out every year or I have to be on somebody's project or I have to have a single out or be in somebody's video ... anything just to keep my name and exposure goin'. We don't want the fans to be forgettin'."

Are you gonna be on anybody else's projects in the near future?

Eiht: "I'm workin' on a compilation album which features all my artists on my label. I'm workin' on a compilation album with Muggs. I'm workin' on DFC's new album. I'm workin' on N.O.T.R.'s new album. I'm just tryin' to stay busy. I'm about to go to Sweden and do this for this European group, me and Prodigy and Ant Banks."

So you got some guest spots by some of your people on your album, right?

Eiht: "My younger brother is featured on the album, which is Da Foe. I got my group the N.O.T.R., which is featured on the album. BAM and Chill is featured on the album and so is Young Prodigy from South Central Cartel. With me bein' on a lot of mainstream rappers' stuff in the past year, Spice, Ol' Dirty, bein' in the Wu-Tang video, Cypress Hill, I tried to feature more of my artists on the new album to get them exposure. I don't want them to struggle like I did when I was first in the rap game. This is their debut. I'm still spittin' on the album, but I let them get on a couple of cuts so people can see their skills and understand that they got sh-- comin' too. With me, you gotta have tight sh--. It's not like I come in with the name Eiht and get some money from the company. You got to be tight. That's the new album, "Death Threatz," is just some death threatenin' sh--. It's threatenin' to your ear, killa sh--."

What's all goin' on with those compilation albums?

Eiht: "I got a label called Half-Ounce Records and I'm workin' on a compilation. It's me, Da Foe, N.O.T.R., South Central Cartel, Killer Cali, RBX, Miss Dres, Insane, DWI, The YBG's. It's a gang of stuff on there."

Do you see rap headin' in the direction of the compilation album?

Eiht: "I think the way rap is goin' is that a lot of rap artists are gonna finally start gettin' into their own projects as far as runnin' their own companies and their own labels."

-- The W and Mason Storm, The 411

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