MC Eiht Gives The Raw & Uncut Story Of What Turned Compton Into A “War Zone” (Video)
For nearly 30 years, MC Eiht has been delivering raw and uncut stories from the streets of Compton. Whether as part of Compton’s Most Wanted or solo, songs like “Growin’ Up In The Hood” and “Hood Took Me Under” gave the world a look into a scene that was far from the American Dream.
Eiht recently sat down with DJ Vlad for his first ever VLAD TV interview, and the conversation was extensive. In what is likely part 1 of a multi-part series, Eiht gave a detailed accounting of what it was like growing up in Hub City in the 1980s that also birthed N.W.A. and Kendrick Lamar.
Eiht starts by talking about how Compton has changed over the years, noting that a vacant lot near where he grew up is now the home to a Best Buy and Friday’s. While Eiht’s parents were both gainfully employed, it was nearly impossible for him not to eventually get involved with the gang culture and violence surrounding him. He pinpoints 1984-85, as the time when things really started getting bad in the city, as the crack trade began to explode.
As a teenager, Eiht was literally faced with the choice of getting jumped every day or joining his neighborhood set of Crips. He chose the latter which led to a world of chaos and violence. Eiht detailed the process of getting “jumped in” where members would literally gang up on an initiate and give him a group beating in order to test his loyalty to the set. He also explained that not everyone was “jumped in,” as, for some, there was no doubt they would do what was necessary to protect their fellow gang members.
Throughout the conversation, Eiht likened gang banging to being in the military and referred to different neighborhoods as “war zones.” He called each neighborhood its own territory and explained that essentially, gangs were about protecting the members’ respective areas. While Mexican and other gangs tended to be hierarchical, with several sets banded together and led by “shot callers,” Black gangs from Compton generally were flat organizations with each member being responsible for “carrying his own weight.”
Eiht details how joining a gang changed his whole life. While he was never shot, he was shot at on multiple occasions and involved in a number of mass gang fights. By the end of the interview, there is no doubt that the verses he’s laid on record are spoken by a man who has truly walked the walk.