Perhaps one of the biggest mysteries of MC Eiht’s career is that we never saw him in a major role on the big screen after his standout performance in Menace II Society as the cap-pillin’ South Central native, A-Wax. While the Compton MC explains his lack of interest in Hollywood, he divulges of a potential Blackbuster hit that was seized by the feds before it could ever see the light of day.
“I’ve never really actually went after movie roles,” Eiht explained during a recent episode of #DXLive.” [If] somebody felt that I was fit for a part or do good in a particular situation then I would usually just let them come and ask me if I wanna get down. As far as like getting an agent and going after movie roles, I never got into that. I was strictly emceeing. That was my thing. A lot of times when you get into the Hollywood thing, you gotta conform to somebody you really don’t want to be or they try to change you into something. I just felt that trying to keep my own authentic direction with music that I wouldn’t go after roles. It’s not like people didn’t call me but a lot of stuff was comedy shit, a lot of stuff was Uncle Tom shit so I just backed away from it. I did Menace II Society and then that came with Thicker Than Water and then I had a little role in the Freeway Rick story. Just little bullshit. Who Made The Potato Salad, I did a little role. Then I shot a movie in Chicago that was called Reasons but it was government, political drug shit so they seized the movie and it never came out. We shot this movie maybe 15 years ago. Bernie Mac was in it. Lisa Raye was in it. It was a drug movie. A dude called Nathaniel Hill; he was a pretty big drug dealer and he basically made a movie about it. They seized the movie because he basically told the story of how he came up. He was on a worldwide run, they extradited him from Africa. We shot it in Chicago. It took us maybe four months to shoot it. Real big movie. Spike Lee’s producer [Monty Ross] directed it. It was gon’ be a big, large movie. I played the lead role. It was a real neighborhood pic but it was governments and indictments and courts and all that; followings and grand jury’s so they basically seized the movie.”
The Streiht Up Menace also discussed the approach with other artists he and his longtime collaborator, DJ Premier applied in creating their new album, Which Way Iz West. “With putting together the collaborations for this record, me and Premo just basically reached out to who we felt were personal friends,” Eiht explained. “I didn’t try to go outside of that section. I didn’t try to go get somebody I had never fucked with or listened to or just because they were so-to-speak popular right now. Me and Premo got on the phone and called people like, ‘Hey, Eiht is putting together a project would you do a verse?’ So that’s who we went after. I didn’t try and go after a muthafucka who on any given Sunday wouldn’t even know who the fuck I was probably or even listen to my songs.”
Being around DJ Premier since the 90s, MC Eiht also detailed his run-ins with an early Nasir Jones before Illmatic shellshocked the culture. “Nas is my peoples all day. I’ve been knowing Nas since I was going to New York, in Preem’s MTV van. We would just be in the studio and he’d be on the floor writing lyrics. I already knew he was tight. He was always a good rhymer. You just know certain cats have it. Like, with Kendrick [Lamar] you knew he had it. With Nas you knew he had it. It’s just certain rappers you know. Nas is one of my all-time favorites.”
During the days where Eiht and DJ Premier were becoming friends, their respective coasts were diving deeper and deeper into a media-fueled beef. While those battles were being waged in his backyard, Eiht recalls his love for Hip Hop being forged in the early days of New York rap. “Even though Eazy opened the door for our form of rapping, you gotta look up to cats like Rakim, Run-DMC, Kool Moe Doe, Eiht recalls. “I used to listen to Steady B and Cool C, the Treacherous Three. I used to listen to a lot of New York rap because New York rap was it. I used to tell muthafuckas [that] the West Coast we didn’t really have shit. Our shit was a lot of Technotronic, electric boogie bullshit. That’s what we were on. Bobby Jimmy and the Critters. We did stupid records. We did stupid records. Timex Social Club did “Rumors,” Bobby Jimmy and the Critter did “Roaches.” They did stupid shit like that over here. That’s the music we did. We had Egyptian Lover’s “My Beat Goes Boom.” We had the Unknown DJ with 808 beats and the LA Dream Team with “Rockberry.” We didn’t have rhymers. Eazy opened the door for us to be able to express our shit but I grew up on New York shit.”
You can get your copy of MC Eiht and DJ Premier’s Which Way Iz West on June 30th. For more exclusive interviews like this, tune into #DXLive every Thursday at 6 pm EST/3 pm PST and as always for more Hip Hop news keep it locked on HipHopDX.com.