LOS ANGELES (Capitol Records)- Mack 10
has experienced success on a multitude of levels. He clearly understands how the underground functions, but as one-third of Westside Connection
he has seen the pinnacle of the major label machine. His debut occurred over one decade ago and he has steadily hit the streets with braggadocio infused tales of money, women, and power. Mack 10
took some time out recently to speak with SoundSlam about his new album, Hustla's Handbook. Check it.
SoundSlam: Okay, so let's start off with something a little bit different. There's often a certain regional culture that offers different flavors to music and right now the rap game is spread out fairly well. Now, if you were talking to someone who didn't know much about West coast or SoCal (Southern California) Hip Hop, how would you describe it to them?
Mack 10: How would I describe it? It's probably the realest music you've ever heard. You know, all these other guys you listening to…if it's street music, then it came from us.
SoundSlam: For real? You think it is solely the West?
Mack 10: Yeah, because the West coast started ‘gangsta rap'...I don't care what nobody say. Wasn't nobody doin' gangsta rap before Pottie Key, and King T, and Eazy E…c'mon, we gotta keep it real. I didn't say we invented rap, but the so-called gangsta rap and street music came from the West coast.
SoundSlam: Okay, okay. Now, would you describe your own music the same way to that person?
Mack 10: Yeah, well, I mean, I'm ultimately a West coast artist, you know what I mean.?
SoundSlam: Yeah, and as you mentioned, your music, and life I can imagine, is hella streets oriented. As far as Hustla's Handbook is concerned, is it fair or unfair to call it a concept album because it kinda sticks to one major path?
Mack 10: Naw, it's a good record.
SoundSlam: Is it a realistic portrayal of your life, in a sense?
Mack 10: Umm, well, I'm an entertainer. I'm an entertainer and I just make good records. I don't think about it like that.
SoundSlam: Yeah, well, that's kind of my job, I suppose…for better or worse. Now, I recently wrote some pieces on Kanye and Jay Z issuing some statements about the whole idea of white people in hip hop and how some try to buy into it by using certain slang and what not. (Mack 10: Yeah.) Is it strange at all for you to be performing at a show where a large majority can't relate to what you spit?
Mack 10: Yeah.
SoundSlam: That' all? Just 'yeah'?
Mack 10: Well, I mean, I'm an entertainer, man. It's entertainment. I don't look that far into stuff. I mean, if they like what they hear, they like what they hear. I mean, if you go see a horror flick, does that mean that everybody that go look at a horror movie is a murderer? Or is it just entertainment to you? They could just really be entertained by what we do. And, you know, I appreciate it. I can't complain about none of that.
SoundSlam: Okay. So, if I had to make a bet, I'd say that you probably grew up loving the movie Scarface. And I have taught in both inner city Chicago and Indianapolis and I've noticed a crazy phenomenon based around this new Scarface clothing line. What's interesting to me is how a lot of these young kids think they're going to become this next Don Mega Kingpin or something. What do you think spawned that sort of fascination?
Mack 10: I don't really know. It's hard to say. It could be your upbringing…And a lot of times, in the ghetto, we ain't attracted to the dude that's got a job at, you know, IBM. We attracted to the dude down the street that's got that big ass pretty car and that big pretty house and all those pretty girls with him. That's just how our culture is, kind of.
SoundSlam: Yeah, I understand you. Okay, so let's discuss your new record. I'll just throw out some titles and you can just tell me a little bit about each joint. Tell me about 'Like This.'
Mack 10: Well, 'Like This' is a street record, you know. It's a street record and it kinda is what it is…it's ‘like that'…if you've ever liked a Mack 10 song, then you'll probably like 'Like This.'
SoundSlam: Yeah, I got you. And it features Nate Dogg on it.
Mack 10: Yeah.
SoundSlam: And 'The Testimony' is a little bit of a different track. It was a nice change of pace for the record. Why did you throw it on there?
Mack 10: I like it. I just do the kinda records I like doing, you know. It was a good song and matter of fact, it is my favorite song from the album. And, I think it's gonna be the biggest song on the album.
SoundSlam: Yeah, I agree. It's a highlight. Are you pressing that up as the second single?
Mack 10: Yeah, we're in the process of that.
SoundSlam: Now, with 'I'm A Star' you put on those cats from St. Louis that you found. So, as the story goes, you were just out in St. Louis one night and stumbled upon these guys and put them on this track?
Mack 10: Yeah, I like ‘em. I like them little dudes, you know. And there you have it…'I'm A Star'…I like that record and it's a street song.
SoundSlam: I found that story interesting though because I'd heard awhile back that you came across that cat Hot Karl and offered him all the money that you had with you at the time to sign him. That was true, right?
Mack 10: Yeah, I had $50,000 in my pocket. When I like ‘em, I like ‘em. I know what I like.
SoundSlam: I'm not mad at that. What about production credits…who did you work with?
Mack 10: I had FredWreck. I had Nephew. I had Young Tre. I had a little dude, BL, he's an up-and-coming guy from the West coast. J-Classic coming from the West, too.
SoundSlam: Okay, okay. And lastly, you have your other business endeavors, such as Hoo Bangin' Records, you have your acting going on, all that.
Mack 10: Well, next year will be Hoo Bangin' s Tenth Anniversary, so of course that's doing well for me. The last release was Westside Connection and sh*t, I'm just gonna keep doing good, quality records just like people expect from me.
SoundSlam: Do you have any plans for that Tenth Anniversary?
Mack 10: I think I'll throw a big bash, but you mark my word, I think that 'Testimony' song will be one of my best records. I think that one will be on my greatest hits.
SoundSlam: That's what it is.