It has been 11 long years since MC Ren [click to read] has released an album. After a lengthy group and solo career at Ruthless Records, the gangsta rap pioneer told HipHopDX this week, that 2009 will indeed be his point of return.
“The album is like 70% [completed],” revealed the N.W.A. member. “Shit is bangin’! It’s heat. I’m excited about it. I ain’t did no album in like 11 years, so man, I’m excited with how everything is coming. I cannot wait to get this shit out.”
Asked how many different albums had been started and scrapped since 1998’s Ruthless For Life, Ren explained, “I started off and on, just doin’ it. Really, this like the first time, to tell you the truth, [that I have] constructed an album. Any other time I went into the studio or did something, it was just, ‘I’m goin’ in just to record something.’ I wasn’t doin’ it to put an album out.” In that interim, MC Ren appeared alongside his N.W.A. partners (and Snoop Dogg) on two reunion tracks, as well as appearances on Public Enemy‘s Rebirth of A Nation [click to read], Dr. Dre‘s 2001, Ice Cube‘s War & Peace Volume 2 and Snoop Dogg‘s The Last Meal [click to read] albums, as well as a few other limited appearances. Ren said, “Now, it’s different. My whole mindstate is different. I want to get this shit did, get this shit out, so mothafuckas can hear it. Everything else, I’ve never felt like in the in-between times.“
With a laugh, Ren explained the process that motivated him to make his first album since leaving the legendary Ruthless label. “I was with my homeboy Paulie one day, and he was like, ‘Yo, you should do your shit.’ Everybody always says that, but he [meant it]. I wasn’t really trippin’ on it, [still] wasn’t really trippin’ on it. Time went by, and people [kept asking me about an album], so I wasn’t even trippin’ on it.”
Paying the encouragement little mind, Ren told DX that watching his peers was the next step. “I remember then, one day, I saw something on TV. It might’ve been some old concert footage of somebody – [Jay-Z] or Dre or something like that, and I just got pumped, man. I said, ‘We need to get some beats.’ We got some tracks and I started writin’ to the mothafuckas and how I was comin’ with the shit [impressed me]. Then I knew, I gotta do an album. Fuck it.”
Like his onetime partner, Dr. Dre, Ren also admitted that he takes pride and care in making fans await a release for over a decade. “Everybody else been puttin’ out shit so much, people don’t even pay attention to they ass no more. Shit, I feel like I’ve got to step up, ’cause I ain’t really put out shit.“
As for the details of the album, Ren remained largely evasive, admitting that he fears releasing too much information. As for guests, the 23-year veteran emcee said, “On this record, it’s just me.” Realizing that many fans are skeptical of such statements, he continued, “Now, you can’t even get a solo album from nobody; there’s like 100 features. It [becomes] a compilation.” As he opened up further, the Compton icon did reveal, “If I do have any features, it’s just gonna be one or two – and I ain’t gonna say who the people is. I know who the people will be, if it’ll happen, but that’ll be it.” The statement, though unconfirmed, could hint at possible reunion collaborations with former partners in rhyme Ice Cube and Dr. Dre. MC Ren would not expound.
For the production, the artist who has previously worked with such respected names as EA-Ski, Ant Banks, Cold187um [click to read] and Dr. Dre, would only state, “You turn on the Hip Hop [radio] station, all of the Hip Hop artists’ beats is like some kind of House-mixed-with R&B-type-shit. That’s where the game is? Nahmean. All I can say is, they’re my motivation to be totally different.“
In terms of content, Ren stated, “Without giving away too much, I’ll say this: it’s gonna be tight. I’m talking about everything – from the wack fools out now, to social injustice to somebody gettin’ they dick sucked. All kinds of shit.” Revered widely for his social, religious and racial commentary in the past on albums like Shock Of The Hour and The Villain In Black, MC Ren added that he still is an avid news junkie. The emcee says the world affairs he’s most interested in are the banking fallout and relations with the Middle East.
Reincarnated is promised to be a fourth quarter release in 2009.
HipHopDX was also able to ask MC Ren of the proudest verse of his career to date. The Villain answered, “That’s a good one. I have to say ‘Fuck The Police.’ That record was so big for us. That’s what mothafuckas really remember. I would say ‘Straight Outta Compton,’ but to me, that song was tighter than ‘Fuck The Police,’ but ‘Fuck The Police’ was saying a lot more on the song.”
Lastly, as some Rap critics have compared the non-traditional success of Drake to N.W.A.‘s success without a major label, MC Ren is one artist who doesn’t really draw parallels. Ren told DX, “For one, the homie Drake, ain’t he signed to Lil Wayne‘s [Young Money Records]? That’s how he got that buzz going: through Lil Wayne. Lil Wayne‘s shit is off the hook, and he got a new artist. If Wayne got an artist, he gonna make him hot too. [N.W.A.‘s] situation, we didn’t really have nobody. We didn’t have nobody to ride on.“
As N.W.A.‘s success began through hand-to-hand sales and word of mouth, Ren also countered, “Right now, Lil Wayne could find another artist, make a tight song, be in the video with him – an [‘Every Girl’] type of song, and this nigga might blow up too. That’s how it is – mothafuckas piggyback off of people. But we didn’t have nobody to ride on; we was just riding off of words – own own shit.”
As he finishes up Reincarnated, the emcee personally urged fans to purchase his EP Kizz My Black Azz (1992), The Villain In Black (1996), Ruthless For Life (1998) and the chart-topping 1993 debut full-length Shock Of The Hour on iTunes. Like much of the Ruthless catalog, these releases were out-of-print until earlier this year.