It’s always an amazing honor to talk to one of the heroes of hip-hop, as I often call our legends. Without a doubt, MC Eiht falls within that category. For any of your who were around in the nineties, you know exactly what I meant. Eiht entertained the masses with his tales of struggle, triumph, and glory in Compton. His presence and his magic had so much significance for me, and I’m sure it’s the same for many others. Many people, whether in his own surroundings, or around the world, were inspired in some way or another to pursue music, entertainment, or more.
I can proudly say that I was one of those. Always excited by the industry, It was pretty easy for me to look beyond some of the perceived negative to see that figures like Eiht were absolutely living their dreams through music. I strongly admire the fact that while Eiht has remained mostly low-key through the years, he has managed to maintain his relevance, appearing on various tracks here and there with many of his hip-hop peers. In doing that, he has also maintained his own character, doing what he does best and not variating to match the times so much. He’s always continued to give its the hard-hitting flow that we are accustomed to from him.
That makes his new album all the more better. “Which Way Iz West” has been a long time coming, for anyone who has truly followed Eiht, and more importantly his relation with DJ Premier. The two have worked seamlessly together for such a long time, and it’s always been anticipated that the two would collaborate on a full-length project. That project has finally come to pass with “Which Way Iz West”.
We had an amazing opportunity to connect with the legend himself one day before release to talk about the influence he has had in this industry throughout his career which has span well over two decades. It was amazing to hear his thoughts on the industry, and how he is keeping real hip-hop alive. It was amazing to hear him proudly big up other legends like L.L. Cool J. and Kool Moe Dee! He’s paying homage to the West coast with this album, but more importantly, he’s paying homage to Hip-Hop! Check the exclusive out below!
U.G. Digital Magazine: The album is dropping man, I would love you to talk more and expand upon the process of putting it together.
MC Eiht: Well basically, I’ve just been working the past few years to find the sound I felt was familiar, and paid homage to west coast music. A lot of music today is different to the ear, but we have a lot of core fans who grew up in the nineties and who appreciate it. I just felt with trying to direct this record, I wanted to reach them, or people who appreciated what hip hop stood for at that time. It was my direction to capture that feel good music of yesterday when music had substance to fans and to artists.
U.G. Digital Magazine: You speak a great deal of truth in that perspective. I’m one of those fans. I think back to my high school days, listening to you. You’re relevance is still strong. When you look at your history, it’s well over twenty albums, and we appreciate that. Music has changed drastically in the sense that many artists don’t work the same anymore. No one works as hard to do this anymore or to get noticed.
MC Eiht: I know, because I was reading somewhere, and someone said rap was a young man’s game to where it’s about the money you got, or the broads you’re fuckin’, or being on cocaine and pills. If rap is a young man’s game, it’s just a different lane that we came from. I don’t jump into the game to hate on today’s rap music, or what these cats are doing to entertain. I was just brought up in a time where it meant something to pen a song. It meant something to deliver quality music to your fans. Bullshit didn’t get any kinda play with us back in the day. I know it was payola, but still, my music has substance and it’s more than just braggadocios effect. Not to say people didn’t brag back theneither because I love me some L.L. Cool J, or Kool Moe Dee, you know what I’m saying but..
U.G. Digital Magazine: …but they talked about so much more than that though!
MC Eiht: Exactly. You know, shout out to L.L. Cool J. He had substance: I can’t Live Without My Radio, I’m Bad, 4,3,2,1, we had that. But now, the youth can youtube it, and iTunes it, and whatever, all they want to hear about is the Lamborghini, or the choke chain. But it’s cats from our era who are still around, and they appreciate the substance. I wanted to give back to fans who have been riding with hip-hop from the beginning, and who deserve a decent project.
U.G. Digital Magazine: I appreciate the fact that the people you worked with have been here working just as hard. The Lady of Rage, Xzibit, and more. You’re clearly on your own page, and sticking to your truth. We appreciate that man..
MC Eiht: I can’t get caught up in trying to compete with cats. Been there, done that. My lane is just that. I stay in my lane with my music. I’m not trying to compete because if I’ve been consistent with my clientele all this time, then I’ll remain that way. They don’t expect me to be over 40, talking about how may girls I ran through, or look at my car, rims, and chain. Been there, done that. You have to be grown enough to know what substance is. Reaching out to cats I’ve had respect for, to the point they have been hustling as long as I have, and people forget about when they were on top, and still are, we just wanted to reach out to those we respected.
U.G. Digital Magazine: I feel like this has been written for you and Premier for a long time. What took so long?
MC Eiht: I mean, you know. He’s a busy cat. You can’t force a square peg in a round hole. Timing is everything. I’ve known Premier my whole career. Him doing his thing and touring, me doing mine and touring, him being in New York, and me in Cali, it all was done for a reason and it’s set up to where shit will slide into motion. Our friendship is what brought us to this place, and having respect for what he’s done. We sat down as friends, and he came at me asking what I was doing, and saying music was so messed up. I let him hear what I was working on, and we decided to finally do this project. He felt like I deserved it, and being a pioneer of West coast hip-hop, he felt it was time.
U.G. Digital Magazine: I wholeheartedly agree with that, but also, the reality is you’ve inspired so many people. Looking at the albums, and even more your collaborations, you’ve inspired a lot. Til’ this day, your collaboration on Snoop’s “Blue Carpet Treatment”, “Candy”, is one of the dopest cuts I’ve heard. It’s funny that my son appreciates the whole vibe of that song too, and it shows you’re reaching all groups.
MC Eiht: I mean, that’s what I’ve been able to do, thank God. I’ve been able to get with the times, and you have to be able to adjust as a true artists. That keeps me fresh and able to hang if you wanna say that. I always love competition, so that’s what I look at when someone asks me to get down or be on a song. As an artist, you want to come up with your best work. Whether it’s Snoop with “Candy”, Pete Rock, or “Ma.a.d City” with Kendrick, I try to adapt to what an artist is feeling in me. Obviously, there’s a reason they contacted me. When someone shows me that respect, it’s nothing for me to give my best. That’s out of respect for the artists I work with.
U.G. Digital Magazine: So I did the pre-buy. That gave me a few tracks. It still drops tomorrow, right?
MC Eiht: It officially drops tomorrow. No delays. A lot of people talk about Jay being out tomorrow. Everybody has their own lane.
U.G. Digital Magazine: But speaking to that, dope is dope. It doesn’t matter who you drop with. If people are going to buy, they’re going to buy.
MC Eiht: That’s the way I look at it. We didn’t sleep on anything, and don’t bite out tongue for anybody. We have just as good a product, whether it be Jay-Z, T.I., Snoop, or whoever. Everybody has their own lane, and I advise you to pick and choose. That’s what preference is for. If it’s good and stand up just as strong, then why not…
U.G. Digital Magazine: What else is in the can?
MC Eiht: I’m working on “Which Way iz West II”, I’m back in the studio to work on some Compton’s Most Wanted stuff with Chill, and hopefully from there I’ll get out on tour, meet some of the people like back in the day. I like to get out to the fans, meet and greet, and see the people. Rap is so computerized, but you need to connect with the people. I want to show people my appreciation.
U.G. Digital Magazine: So many appreciate you for that. You have to get out there, communicate, and open up to the buyers. That’s dope.
MC Eiht: Exactly. If you can’t do that, you lose. I thank the people for giving this project a listen.
U.G. Digital Magazine: I’m looking forward man. I love the people you have on here. It’s great to feature you, and look back at your history and influence. I follow music so much, and this is my life, so I appreciate your contributions.
MC Eiht: When you been here as long as I have, you know to stay humble, and stay on the right track with music, and not going out of your lane. I’m just trying to give the people what they want.
U.G. Digital Magazine: Website, social media?
MC Eiht: They can hit me at @eiht0eiht on Instagram and Twitter, and @eihtcompton on Facebook.
Article by: James Johnson