Happy 20th Anniversary to the creator of “The Hyphy Movement ,” the late great Mac Dre and his album “Rapper Gone Bad.” The album included features with Warren G, The WhoRidas and B-Legit. The album was released under the label Romp Records/Swerve Music. This same year he would move and start his own label Thizz Entertainment. There are no artists signed to the label, the company’s focus is to manage Mac Dre’s expansive music catalog. In his short time he recorded over 25 albums. Thizz Entertainment preserve his legacy, and holds artistic events to honor his memory, still ran by his mother Mac Wanda.
Mac Dre was a rapper with many talents, a natural comedian with an work ethic that was out of this world. What Mac Dre will most be known for would be an artist who forever changed the course of Bay Area hip-hop. He may have been the first artist recording verses through a phone while serving time for a robbery charge, to bringing phrases like “thizz,” “go dumb,” and “ghost ride the whip” into existence. Dre definitely left a mark on the hip hop world in his short but prolific life.
Mac Dre was born in Oakland California but he was raised in the Vallejo, California area. He hung out around the Country Club Crest neighborhood, known locally as The Crest. He started rhyming in 1984 and released his first EP in 1988. In 1989, he would finally make a break, Mac Dre released and made waves with a cassette tape featuring the single, “Too Hard for the F—in’ Radio” while attending Vallejo’s Hogan High School.
In the early 1990s, the city of Vallejo experienced a surge in robberies. Vallejo police launched an investigation on the Crest Neighborhood. Mac Dre was vocal about what he saw being done by the police and incorporated their aggressive surveillance of not only him and his friends, but his mother and residents in the community into his music. He released the song “Punk Police” and he details what he was going through and even named some of the officers that were harassing him. As his music consistantly grew in popularity, law enforcement officials began to examine the lyrics of local rappers to try and gain evidence in criminal matters.
Mac Dre had did a show in Frenso, California in 1992 and he had members The Romper Room Gang that accompanied him on the road. While performing Mac Dre was unaware that the crew were up there casing banks for a potential robbery. He also didn’t know the main getaway driver was an informant for the FBI. On March 26, 1992, at age 21, Mac Dre was invited by some of his friends to a road trip. Mac Dre decided to go on the trip so that he could re-visit with a girl he met while performing there in Fresno. Mac Dre stayed in the hotel room with the young lady completely unaware that the crew was going to rob a bank. The head of the Romper Room Gang got to the bank and noticed everything looked suspicious after seeing a news truck parked outside the bank. Even though other members wanted to rob the bank he backed out and they went and picked Mac Dre up from the hotel.
While driving back to Vallejo the car was surrounded the FBI along with Fresno and Vallejo police. The police stated that even though Mac Dre was at a motel, his friends were allegedly casing a bank. When questioned by the police, Hicks stated that he did not leave the hotel therefore did not know anything. The police charged him with conspiracy to commit robbery although no bank robbery was conducted and Mac Dre was neither with his friends nor near the location of the purported bank. He was sentenced to five years in federal prison after he refused a deal which included snitching on his friends in a robbery that did not occur. All of this happened at a time when the Bay Area rapper was on his way. He would be released a year early from prison for good behavior on August 2, 1996, after serving four years. It was during his time in prison, that Mac Dre developed a better appreciation for freedom, life, fun. This would be the beginning of the Hyphy Movement.
After his release, Mac Dre wanted to start doing music that was easy to dance to. He and long time friend and fellow rapper Da’unda’Dogg decided try to do something different. The duo recorded several songs to pitch for the first time, to major record labels. In 1998, Hicks relocated to distance himself from the stigma that developed in the eyes of Vallejo law enforcement. While continuing to release music in 2000, Hicks’s changed the sound and became the lead into a popular genre coined as the Hyphy Movement. Mac Dre is dubbed one of the head founders of the Hyphy Movement. He Suffered his tragic death in 2004, he was killed by an unknown assailant after a performance in Kansas City, Missouri, a case that remains unsolved. Mac Dre paved the way for a new musical genre. Mac Dre’s Treal TV DVD special represented everything Hyphy, from what goes on at the sideshows to street slang, and common dances like “going dumb” and the “thizzle dance” became popular moves created by Mac Dre.
Salute to the creator of “The Hyphy Movement” on your 20th Anniversary for the album “Rapper Gone Bad.” A true talent taking way before his time that took every adversity and turned it into to inspiration for improving his situation. The Late Great, Mac Dre, thanks for your donation to he culture.