PREMIERE: MC Eiht “Represent Like This” Video ft. WC and DJ Premier

There is a handful of California emcees that came up in the ’90s that define the West Coast’s distinctive sound. Hands down, MC Eiht is one of those select few. Although LA was a hotbed of gangster rap during this era, only so many recording artists have the longevity to remain relevant today. Eiht is so representative of a look, sound and lifestyle, that he’s often used in video games and animated series to basically personify Cali hip hop. Not only is the co-founder of Compton’s Most Wanted an elder statesman of the game, he has somehow managed to improve with age.

After officially announcing his upcoming album Which Way Iz West last week and dropping his first single, Represent Like This, Eiht’s back today with the industrial-strength video for the cut featuring Left Coast legend (and C-Walk champ) WC and a producer who makes everybody’s Top 5 list, DJ Premier.

MASS APPEAL is proud to bring you the first look at these rugged visuals above. Below, Eiht answers all our burning questions about his friendship with DJ Premier, squashing old beefs, coaching in Snoop’s peewee football league, and why he missed Kendrick’s “Alright” video shoot.

Why has there been such a big gap between your solo albums? Why has this new project taken so long?

Yeah, you know, I just took a little hiatus. [I’ve been] raising my son, I started coaching football, and I’ve always still been touring. So, [I’ve been] coaching football for the last eight years, and touring, and then doing guest appearances, and finally being able to collect royalties and publishing from past works has maintained me. So, I took a little break from hitting the studio. But like I said, I always kept getting invites for guest appearances. I did the Ain’t Nuttin’ Changed remix with Blaq Poet for Premier, and then I turned around and I did m.A.A.d City with Kendrick Lamar.

Me and Premier have a long standing relationship, so he asked me, what have I been doing lately. And I told him, just really bullshitting around in the studio. I wasn’t really doing anything serious. I had just kicked back for a while and was just observing what was going on. And just knowing Premier over the years, he would ask, have you worked on anything lately? So, I basically just started sending Premier tracks, and he would listen to them and be like, this is great, this is tight. So, from there, we just decided to work on a project together. The reason it has taken us so long is because Premier’s a busy dude, I’m busy myself, and we want to get the music perfect. You know, the perfect guest appearances, the perfect records…

You mentioned that you’ve known Premier for a while. Can you speak on that?

For the most part we’ve just been homies over the last ten years. We just have mutual respect for each other’s get down. We want to make the perfect records ‘cause I’m finna compete with the young crowd and whatever is going on. Patience was a main aspect of making these records. We had to be patient…we had to wait for certain artists to take their time to contribute. I was happy with that. But then every time we would get ready to drop it [the album], I would go back in the studio and do three, four more songs. So, we ended up bumping songs and adding songs, bumping songs and adding songs.

Premier is executive producing the album, but how many songs does he actually produce?

He did four tracks on the album. The rest is entirely produced by my in-house producer, Brenk Sinatra. Local up and coming producer. Real good dude. I don’t think Premier wanted it to be that type of record where people looked at like, oh, it’s Premier, so it’s gonna be all East coast sounding. Premier gave him [Sinatra] the okay and let him control most of the project.

Speak on working with younger cats like Maylay and helping them get into the game.

There’s a lot of talent out here… There’s a lot of suckers too. There’s a lot of good, decent talent out here and some cats won’t get they shine because of being overshadowed by the mainstream. So, we got a lot of little, young grinders out here. Maylay is one in particular, but he’s been co-signed by Dub C, by Cube, and Premier loves Maylay. He understands what West coast Hip-Hop is about. Maylay was raised on West coast and he understands what it is to come from the gang violence and the poverty. His raps and his style is more traditional like what we came up on. When it comes to the young cats, if they know the history of West coast Hip-Hop, and MC Eiht, and Compton’s Most Wanted, then we all good.

You had a lot of beef early in your career, but you have since buried the hatchet with former enemies, and even done records with some of them. What changed from the young Eiht to now?

I was one of them dudes. You know, gang banging, representin’ Compton, whatever… So, my direction and focus was really to just be that muthafucker who represented my neighborhood. All my raps were about the hood and Compton, and if you got beef, you get stepped on. As I matured I got to go different places, and see different people, and see how some people don’t even care about your beef. Being able to go anywhere and everywhere and work with anybody and everybody is what made me grow up and mature into the artist I am today. You wanted to be accepted by all listeners. And my thing is, I don’t want this dude not buying my records because I’m beefing with this cat. So, now I’m losing sales or losing fans. I had to learn that it wasn’t about where I was from and what color I was banging, it’s about trying to make music that appeals to muthafuckers who was going through the same shit I went through. That’s what made me transition from being the young, hard head, bangin’, Crippin’ MC Eiht, to being a mature, Grammy-nominated emcee who can work with people like Quik and Mack 10, who are Bloods, to people like Kendrick Lamar, Snoop, and Dub C, to people like Premier and Pete Rock.

Snoop put together a group called Warzone with you and Kam and Goldie Loc. Was that just a one-off thing? Any chance of another joint?

Snoop was trying to unite the West coast, knowing that a lot of us had beefs with each other… a lot of us didn’t get along. But we wanted to carry on this tradition of West coast music, so he had this idea that we all come together. It was me, from Compton, it was Goldie Loc from Long Beach, and it was Kam from Watts. Then he had the Dubb Union group with Soopafly, Damani, and Bad Lucc. It was a good idea but I don’t think it was the time because everybody was on other agendas, everybody wanted their voice to be heard. I just think that it was too much too fast. It was a beautiful idea. We went on tour together. We recorded together…we recorded almost a whole album but it never came out because of politics. We all thought we were in line to do something great with the Warzone but stuff happened. I’m cool with Snoop still. I’m a head coach and vice president of one of his little league football chapters. I still holler at Goldie. I’m still cool with Kam. Would it have been a great project? Of course it would. It would have been one of those platinum supergroup projects because it had good music and it had a good foundation. It just wasn’t the time for it.

You’re now a coach in Snoop’s football league. Tell us a little more about that.

Well, Snoop started a league to help out those kids that probably wouldn’t be able to afford to join those $300, $400, $500 leagues. I’ve been coaching in another league for the past eight years with the Corona Chargers. A couple of his people who are on the football side knew me from my football thang, and they approached me this year and asked me, would I come over to Snoop’s league and head coach and vice president for the chapter. Coming over from a league where everything ran smoothly, to Snoop’s league where you are dealing with a lot of African-American parents, you’re dealing with a lot of high frustrations. But it’s a good experience. My son needed that type of experience. I wanted him to play [football] with some of his race. I wanted him to go to Snoop’s league and get some more diverse, inner city competition that we weren’t seeing in our last league. So, it worked out pretty good. It was our first year here. Like anything at the start, you’re gonna have some difficulties. But for the most part, my son enjoys it, I enjoy it. It’s a beautiful thang.

Any opportunities you’ve had to miss due to coaching?

Kendrick was trying to get me to come be in the “Alright” video, but unfortunately I was on the road. They actually pushed the video back and I was supposed to go down there the next day but my son had a game that morning. I try to do what I can, but sometimes [my schedule] just doesn’t allow it. Tha Chill, Kurupt, Tray Dee, and Weazel Loc have a group, the Dirty OGz, and they been shooting videos and hitting the studio, and I tried to get down there and fuck with them…but when you coach football everyday from 6 am to 8:30, and then you got games on Saturdays, and then you got to watch film on Sundays. It’s kinda difficult.

You’re heavily associated with the GTA series. Will we be hearing you in more video games: songs or voicing?

I did Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Shout out to Rockstar and my man DJ Pooh, who hooked me up. I did the voice and had music on there. And then on Grand Theft Auto 5 Pooh and Rockstar came at me again and wanted me to do a song with Kokane and Freddie Gibbs that was produced by Oh No. I was all onboard. The song came out perfect and they ended up releasing it as the single. This is all entertainment, so if it’s something I’m familiar with, I’m all onboard. I’m doing a voice on this new Comedy Central show that just came out last year called Legends of Chamberlain Heights. It’s a racy cartoon. I play myself in an episode. I also just got contacted by another video game company, but they don’t really want me to say nothing yet. But I’ll have a song or two on that.

MC Eiht’s Top 5 East Coast Emcees
1. Rakim
2. Nas
3. Redman
4. Biggie
5. ATCQ

 

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