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RnB 18/11/2004

FBI nabs MC Eiht for Grand Theft Auto

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LOS ANGELES (Def Press) - MC Eiht has long been considered a 'Menace II Society' by his fans, and his crime spree continues with his role in the Rockstar Playstation II video game, 'Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.' The gangsta game title is currently topping sales statistics around the world. On it, the veteran rapper, Eiht, plays the role of the featured character, Ryder, and the song, 'Hood Took Me Under' from his group, Comptons Most Wanted is included on its soundtrack. Just a few weeks ago, he also released a solo album, 'Veterans Day' on West Music/Native Records and the album made its way on the 'Billboard' Top 100 R&B Albums chart.

Although in addition to his music, Eiht is also famous for his role as A-Wax in the feature film, 'Menace II Society,' the rapper says, 'I would compare Ryder's character more to O Dog from the movie than to A-Wax, because he's more reckless, and he's more drug induced. A-Wax was still down for the neighborhood, but Ryder is an instigator, and he likes to pump up the other characters, especially his homeboy CJ. Ryder likes to instigate and get trouble started. He's on dope and he's always smoking, plus he's hyper about getting trouble started.'

Rockstar Games' Dan Houser, the executive producer of the game, which market analysts predict will help make this holiday buying season a record breaker for new games, says, 'Eiht's powerful and funny delivery insures that Ryder steals the show. From the moment we walked into the studio, we knew he was going to blow us away with his performance.'

'Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' debuted at the Number 1 spot on the UK game charts, and according to industry estimates, the gangsta title sold more than 2 million copies during the first 2 weeks of its release. 'Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' was developed by Take-Two Interactive Software, an imprint of Rockstar Games.

Eiht says the combination of West Coast elements with the game world makes perfect sense. He observes, 'Basically, one game was pretty much East Coast, and there was Vice City, which was Miami-based, or whatever. So now basing one on the West Coast, which is where the name San Andreas fits in, that is taken from our earthquake fault, and then hooking up with people like me and DJ Pooh, and getting that West Coast feel, you can only base the game around gangs and the element of the West Coast lifestyle. That means it is essentially gang bangin,' drive-by shootings, drugs, police corruption and police brutality, all of that element. So it was only right, and this is not to say that is how all people live out here, but that element and culture would fit right here.'

As far as both the exponential success and the reaction to the gangsta phenomenom that is being incorporated into the game world, Eiht notes, 'In the other games, you're playing the stereotypical characters named Joe or Bill, and he's been robbed by the mob. But in making it West Coast originated, and by putting gangs and drive-bys in it, activities that normally go on in the West Coast, it makes the game more realistic for people to play. Kids relate to the game because they know that stuff is what really happens. It is more realistic to them, because this stuff is going on everywhere, and not just on the West Coast, either, so it appeals to them. With this game, you really put yourself in the settings of living in Los Angeles and living in the gang scenario. This game shows what's really going on in the streets.'

As far as the game's music soundtrack, Eiht says, 'They took a classic Comptons Most Wanted song, 'Hood Took Me Under,' and they put it on the game. That song describes the scenario the players are dealing with. You're stuck in the Ħhood, you're having rivalries and shootouts, and you have enemies. Back in the day, that was the perfect song, and one that people felt, because there were so many black people, who were stuck in the neighborhood, stuck in poverty, stuck in the struggle, so that song fit what so many people were going through. When Rockstar was looking at all the possibilities of what songs to use in the game, they knew you could not do a West Coast video game without a classic Comptons Most Wanted song. Originally, they had contacted me because they needed to have permission to use the song in the game. Everything was good. We built a relationship, and they asked me to play the character, so it just fell into place like that.'

Eiht also says he wants it to be known that the success of 'Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' is important for hiphop. He points out, 'It will touch a lot of people who maybe weren't previously interested in hiphop. The game introduces them to a whole new realm, and it will help open the door of hiphop to expand to a whole new era. Millions of people will have this game, and it's significant, whereas it becomes incorporated into the rap game. So it's beautiful for all who are involved. It gets more people exposed to hiphop, even if they never really wanted to before.'

Eiht says he is constantly approached these days by 'all kinds of people,' who have asked him to autograph the game. 'Kids come up to me saying they heard my song in the game,' says Eiht. 'It happens on the streets, just everywhere. Not just kids have the game, but even old people have the game.' Eiht adds, 'There are also people who come up to me and tell me it's a challenge to get to my character.'

It has all been very rewarding to the players of the game, as well as to Eiht, himself. He contends, 'It's another experience that people get to indulge in, especially when it incorporates hiphop, and one of their favorite rappers who represents the Ħhood.'

MC Eiht's West Music signed an alliance with Native Records to distribute his current release, 'Veterans Day,' through Penalty Associated Labels/Ryko. Ken M. Smith, president of Native Records states, "Eiht's current album, "Veterans Day," could also be the soundtrack for the game, because the tales that Eiht raps about on the album coincide in many ways with the story line of the game.
Lovers of the game will definitely be lovers of "Veterans Day."

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