MC Eiht will link with longtime friend and collaborator DJ Premier of Gang Starr to release Which Way Is West later this year. The duo has worked together on several remixes and the famous “Aiight, Chill” interlude dating back nearly 20 years. With the album reportedly due on Premier’s Year Round Records imprint, Eiht was asked whether recording his first album in over three years. “I’ve been going back and forth,” the Comptons Most Wanted front-man told HipHopDX. “I’m a true Hip Hop nigga. I might be [from] Compton, west coast, but I’m a true Hip Hop [head]. I’ve always been a few of New Yorkers: EPMD, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Kool Moe Dee/Treacherous Three, Afrika Bambaataa – I know what the foundation is. So when it comes to shit like that, I’ll go where the flow is. Working with [DJ] Premier, I’ve been dealing with Premier for about the last 20 years, so I wanted to record [in HeadQcourterz Studios].” Thus, the 24-year veteran worked out of the same studio where artists such as Notorious B.I.G., Nas and Jay-Z laid down street classics.
Nearly 15 years removed from Rap’s ugly memories of an east/west conflict, MC Eiht remains one of the few artists who always appeared embraced by east coast titans like Premier, Pete Rock and Wu-Tang Clan’s U-God. With this collaborative album, the O.G. wanted that side to come across in the music. “I wanted to capture some of that feeling too. Everybody knows I’m west coast to the fullest, but I get love on the east too,” said Eiht. “Anytime I go to New York, I walk around, ‘What’s up, Eiht?’ Niggas recognize me, no problems. I just like to show that respect too. [DJ Premier is based in New York], that’s his foundation, that’s where his base is, and it’s not like I’m unfamiliar with the place. It doesn’t bother me with the transition, as long as the music is heated. I’m where I’m at, everywhere’s home to me.”
With this album being Eiht’s 11th solo album, and 19th album within his catalog, the veteran was asked where it will stand within his already legendary legacy. “I think [Which Way Is West] is going to be well-accepted, and it’s going to go down as one of my best records,” began the 42 year-old emcee formerly signed to deals with both Mack 10 and Snoop Dogg. “I’ve really been puttin’ my heart and soul, as far as trying to represent the west and real music is concerned. The vocal content and the lyrics have been [amazing]. Everybody always said I had nice punchlines and lyrics, or I was always a good storyteller, I just tried to advance that to the next level. So it won’t just be one of those [albums] where people go, ‘Oh yeah, another Eiht record, it’s a gonna be a couple of dope-sales, a couple of shoot-outs…’ [Which Way Is West] is really focusing on some real west coast feel-good music and some real to-the-point [music].” “With what is going on in Hip Hop right now, I think [fans and critics] will perceive this record as one of Eiht’s best.” Like Freeway and Jake One’s The Stimulus Package or Young Jeezy’s The Recession, this is album that contains commentary on today’s tough economic times. “If you feel like you’re stuck in the struggle and you’re sick of [rappers rapping about] ‘everybody’s fine, we all got billions of dollars,’ then come on, pick up this record.”
Which Way Is West releases later this year on Year Round Records.