MC Eiht Reveals Why His Album With DJ Premier Is A Return To Quality Over Quantity (Video)

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In the dozen years between 1994 and 2006, MC Eiht released more than 17 albums of new music. The Compton’s Most Wanted front man focused on his solo career (while still doing collaborations with C.M.W., Spice 1, Brotha Lynch Hung and others) and did so at a wildly prolific rate. This 30-year veteran of rhyming has now spent a decade since he followed up 2006’s Compton’s O.G. with another full-length solo. In that time, the rapper and actor has appeared on highly popular songs from platinum #1 albums and lent his voice to top-selling video game franchises.

Speaking with Unique Access Entertainment’s Soren Baker, Eiht discussed showing patience with his music. Marching towards Which Way Iz West (executive produced by DJ Premier and to be released in 2017 on his Year Round Records imprint), Eiht hints at letting his rich Gangsta Rap lyricism age properly.

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Recalling a touching-base conversation with Gang Starr’s producer/DJ several years back, Eiht explains, “I just started sendin’ [DJ Premier] tracks. He [listened to them]. We got to doing stuff together. Then, before you know it, we had like 30 tracks. So he was like, ‘Let’s put together a project.’ So that started about three years ago. We’ve just been workin’ and workin’ and workin’ and workin’. We’ll get knew beats. Then somebody will call and be like, ‘Yo, we heard y’all was workin’ together. Let me get on a record.’ So before you know it, we had 10-11 solid guest appearances. We had 17 good, solid songs. From there, we just started puttin’ together the record. It’s finished now.” Later in the interview, Eiht alludes to the fact that Cypress Hill’s B-Real and Westside Connection’s WC (who worked with Gang Starr) are specifically tied in. He says he did not rush his guests, but welcomed revision. Eiht also says that Preemo laced the album with four tracks of his sound. When Eiht and C.M.W. were signed to Epic/Sony Records, Premier had produced some remixes for the Compton O.G.’s. In the interview, the rapper compares Premier’s approach to DJ Slip, somebody who Eiht made some of his most beloved music with.

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Eiht addresses a different approach in a catalog once perceived as quantity-driven. “[This time, I did not just say], ‘Hey, record label wants a record. It gotta be turned in by September 2. So let’s hurry up and get the beats together. Here’s a track. You don’t have anything else to choose from. Write to it. Get it out.’ I think now, being more in control of my own self and being able to choose and decide [what I do is important]. ‘No, I don’t want that. I don’t care who it’s from.’ That’s just me; I wanted music that I knew that people would enjoy on my level of what I’ve been giving people who support me on my records. So I’d get five beats and I’d go ‘no,’ as opposed to going, ‘here’s your five tracks.'” In the early and mid-1990s, Eiht found great commercial and critical success with his major label releases. In the later ’90s, he signed with Mack 10’s Hoo-Bangin’ Records, an independent.

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Elsewhere in the interview, Eiht discusses some of the work he has done in Hip-Hop (from Ol’ Dirty Bastard to D.F.C.) that folks may not be aware of.