This is a classic interview that I found from years back in my disk drive. Ren has always been a underrated emcee and I felt that dude never got the phrase he deserved. The Villain went OFF on this interview here! I love it when artists really speak their mind and don’t keep it PC.
ThaFormula.com – (Part III of our III part series with MC Ren) So how were you guys feelin’ after “Niggaz4Life” dropped?
MC Ren – We was feelin’ cool. We was supposed to go on tour for that shit. We was planning out a “Niggaz4Life” tour. We were getting our props ready and had muthafuckas coming to build our stage, and that’s when Dre left.
ThaFormula.com – Were you guys still kicking it at this time or was everybody doing their own thing?
MC Ren – We was cool. It’s like one day Dre came to me and said, somebody I know wanna holla at us because we ain’t getting paid right. So I remember going down there to Solar records. At that time Dre and Suge was kickin’ it real tough and shit. Suge told Dre about this dude at Solar and I remember going down there and meeting with them, and that’s when Dre left.
ThaFormula.com – What did you say when Dre took you down to Solar?
MC Ren – From what I saw, I just saw one nigga trying to get niggaz to come over with him. I mean I had seen alot more money by then. I still wasn’t getting what I was supposed to be getting, but I wasn’t going to go into another fucked up situation. My street smarts said, fuck this. This is a worse situation. That’s why I didn’t do it. Then when Dre left, Eric was saying we still gonna do NWA. I’m happy I didn’t go along with the shit. He said were gonna do the NWA album and we gonna get some more producers. He was saying Yella, Hutch and some new people are gonna produce it. I told him an NWA album is not gonna work without Dre doing the beats. I wasn’t about to play myself though. Cube left, Dre left. The beat mutherfuckers and one of the hardest lyricists in the group. We ain’t got shit. I wasn’t about to rap over any niggaz beat back then, because you know niggaz beats back then was wack. I mean how you gonna go from the top muthafucka to that. When I told Eazy I wasn’t gonna do the NWA album, me and him didn’t talk for like a year or two. Probably longer then that. When Dre was doing the first Chronic album, I was still talking to Dre. I would go to his house and be kicking it. That’s why Snoop says in the Intro of the Chronic, “What up Ren.” Cause I used to be there kicking it with niggaz. I told Erick and Dre that the problem was between them and that I didn’t have nothing to do with that. I’m not about to be dissin’ neither of you. That’s why when Eazy was dissin’ Dre, I wasn’t in on that and Dre dissin’ him, I wasn’t in on that. I was just neutral.
thaFormula.com – So I’m sure you heard the Chronic before it dropped. How did you feel about it?
MC Ren – I thought the shit was tight. I remember when it first came out. Erick was in the studio going through the first Chronic album saying, this shit is wack. All the little groupies around him were saying yeah that shit is wack. I said, nigga this shit is hard.
thaFormula.com – So there was no way you could have been on the Chronic?
MC Ren – Yeah, because of all that shit that was going on.
thaFormula.com – So when did you decide to do your first EP, “Kiss My Black Azz”?
MC Ren – When I saw the group wasn’t gonna do no more shit. So I went and got Bobcat. When we was on tour during the NWA days, he was on tour with LL and we used to always kick it back in them days. So we hooked up and did that shit.
thaFormula.com – It did pretty good for you right?
MC Ren – Yeah it went platinum and shit. I got that muthafuckin plaque.
thaFormula.com – What made you decide to do an EP and not an LP?
MC Ren – Cause I wanted to test the waters dog. I didn’t wanna do an album and have muthafuckas not feelin’ me. So I did the EP to see how muthafuckas react to it.
thaFormula.com – Did the death of DJ Train really fuck you up alot cause you guys used to always roll together?
MC Ren – Yep. Me and him went to high school together. When I told him I rapped, he told me that he was a DJ. So I went to his house and this muthafucka started doing shit on the turntable I had never seen. He was pickin’ the muthafuckas up at like a 45 degree angle and the needle was even jumpin’. So when Erick signed JJ Fad they needed a DJ. They weren’t hard or nothing, but Train was hard. I remember Train was in the 12th grade and their shit started jumpin’ before our shit. He was on the Run’s House tour flying in and out of town. That nigga was tight as a muthafucka man. That was my nigga all the way from high school.
thaFormula.com – What exactly did happen to Train man?
MC Ren – His house caught on fire. He thought his son was still in the house and his son had left. His son momma had came and got him. So he was thinking his son was still in that muthafucka. He went back in after he got everybody out thinking his son was still in there, but he wasn’t. So he went in there and got all that smoke caught up in him. That was some wack ass shit.
thaFormula.com – Was he a big reason that you started changing up your style after the EP and going towards the more righteous path?
MC Ren – Yeah. He would give me tapes on Egypt and tell me we were gonna go there. So yeah my shit did start changing. I went into the Nation of Islam in 1993 and got out in 1995. Went to Egypt in 1995. Me and Train was supposed to go together and he couldn’t make it, so I said fuck it, Imma go anyway.
thaFormula.com – How was going to Egypt?
MC Ren – It was the shit. I went out there for about two and half weeks.
thaFormula.com – Now your album was supposed to be called “Life Sentence.” Was it because of that situation that you changed the title?
MC Ren – Yeah.
thaFormula.com – How did you feel about the “Shock of the Hour” album and how did that do for you?
MC Ren – Back then it sold like 480,000 copies when E was alive. It was cool. The first side of that muthafucka I recorded before I even got into the Nation. If you listen to it you can tell. The second half of that album is when I was in the nation.
thaFormula.com – I have to ask you this man before I forget. When Cube dropped “No Vaseline” what did you guys think about it?
MC Ren – Nigga I was ready to mash. Niggaz was mad. Like “oh, this nigga wanna do it like this.” I was mad. That was the greatest sneak attack ever.
thaFormula.com – Would you say that he won that battle?
MC Ren – Nah he didn’t win! How he gonna win and I ain’t put my gloves on. That’s like that movie Ali when he’s in the car with Joe Frazier saying yeah, but you ain’t the real champ. I didn’t get my chance. I will never get my chance cause me and him are cool as a muthafucka. Even if we did, it probably wouldn’t be like it would have been then.
thaFormula.com – Did you guys feel it on the streets as far as people fucking with you about it?
MC Ren – Yep, everything. I remember I went somewhere to this party at a hall and muthafuckas was playing it, and I remember trippin’ on them telling them to take that shit off (laughs). I remember one time I was in Compton where my homeboy was doing a video show for this cable station, and this punk ass nigga was trying to play that in the background. You know them jealous ass niggaz and shit, but fuck them. We got the last laugh though cause all of us is cool now.
thaFormula.com – Is it true that Dre didn’t produce that whole first Above The Law album?
MC Ren – Alot of that shit was done before Dre touched it. Hutch did alot of that shit before Dre even came and sat down. We was on tour and Laylaw brought them in. He had they shit and we used to listen to it when we was on the “Straight Outta Compton” tour. So alot of the songs on that first album were already done. Hutch did that shit along time ago.
thaFormula.com – So now you dropped your EP and your solo. At this point how are you feeling coming into your next album “Villain In Black”?
MC Ren – I was feelin’ good dog. Happy that me and Hutch hooked up. Me and that nigga used to be in the studio damn near like everyday. To me though, it’s harder now then back then. Now when I’m in the studio with niggaz, it’s a different feelin’ from back then.
thaFormula.com – So at this time were you and Eazy not speaking still?
MC Ren – Yeah. That’s why he wasn’t on none of my albums and why I wasn’t really on his shit. He knew we didn’t have shit to say to each other, but he knew he still could make money off my shit. The only thing was that after we had the fall out, when my records came out, they never pushed them like they should have pushed them. Cause my “Shock The Hour” went to number 1 on the Billboard Charts, but I didn’t get no Gold or no Platinum Plaque. If you go number 1, come on. My shit was number 1 all around everywhere. They didn’t promote it and I think it had alot to do with the shit I was sayin’. It scared alot of muthafuckas. It felt like a nigga got blacklisted or something. That’s the vibe I got from niggaz. It just seems like nobody wanted to talk about that record. So what could I do.
thaFormula.com – What do you think Tupac would say if he saw all these Tupac clones runnin’ around?
MC Ren – Come on dog. If Tupac was alive, he would be giving all these niggaz hell, 50 Cent included. INCLUDED! All of them niggaz would catch it.
thaFormula.com – So how did you feel about “Villain In Black”?
MC Ren – It was cool. The only thing is my budgets kept getting smaller, smaller, and smaller. They wouldn’t give me the paper I needed. They was looking at it like if he don’t want to talk to us and don’t want to do this then fuck it. That’s how it went. But if I would have helped them diss Dre, man I probably would have got all kinds of shit.
thaFormula.com – So that’s why BG Knockout and Dresta kept getting promoted?
MC Ren – Yep. If you see, they got promoted more then I did and I was there for the longest. Fake ass company.
thaFormula.com – So after that came your last album “Ruthless For Life”. It seemed like you were out of it on that album…
MC Ren – Yeah I was. I ain’t even gonna lie, I was. Nigga was going through shit. All kind of problems. Nigga was out of it on that album. I’m more into it now then I was in that time.
thaFormula.com – So in between “Ruthless For Life” and now you just disappeared. What happened man?
MC Ren – Dog, I was just chillin’ with my family, still working on music. I left Ruthless and I just didn’t want to be in one of them situations again like that. So I just started making music. I did a little independent film. So just little shit like that trying to stay busy and get shit crackin’ again. It wasn’t my fault though. A nigga was going through shit making other transitions, then the game changed. So when I came back, the game had changed drastically. Muthafuckas was dead, muthafuckas ain’t working here, gone. Shit wasn’t the same. But I just realized that that’s how life is and things are gonna always change.
thaFormula.com – So when you got out of Ruthless did you approach other labels?
MC Ren – Yeah. They was saying that they wasn’t trying to fuck with me. The sound that I was giving them, they didn’t want that shit. They wanted more radio friendly type shit. They don’t wanna hear like a hard muthafucka with lyrics, they wanna hear some dancing shit. They wanna hear a beat come on that they can get on Power 106. They wanted that happy shit and I ain’t got that shit. I couldn’t make that if I tried. I would play myself. I love Run DMC. But they even went through that shit when they made that record “Pause.” You never thought you would see them dancing like that. To go from the Adidas and derbies and all that dope shit to be with white hats and big medallions dancing. Come on man. But that’s the game. Even legendary muthafuckas like them get confused. You just got to realize that we are legends in this shit. We can’t be what we used to be, but we still here.
thaFormula.com – So it took many years but you finally got back to working with Dre on Chronic 2001. How did that come about?
MC Ren – My homeboy said that Dre wants you to come down, so I went down there and did it. I was rappin’ on the muthafucka. I was on another song bustin’, but he took me off of it and put this other nigga on it. There was a dude originally on there, but when I came, I got on there. Then niggaz told me that the reason they took me off was because the nigga that was on there was crying about it.
thaFormula.com – That’s wack…
MC Ren – You know man. Little bitch shit. Nigga took me off and shit.
thaFormula.com – After you guys all recorded “Chin Check”, what happened with the NWA project?
MC Ren – Ain’t nothing really happened and shit. Cube was doing his movie and wanted us to do that shit. Then we did “Hello” for his album and we were supposed to work on the NWA project on the road, but it never went down.
thaFormula.com – I remember when you guys did Farm Club on TV. I remember Dre’s expression when you said you wanted to tour and record the new album. I knew from seeing Dre’s expression that that shit was never going to happen.
MC Ren – It was on Dre. We was ready. Me and Cube was ready, but we weren’t gonna keep begging this dude to do no record. We had a studio out there to do it, but it didn’t happen so fuck it. I don’t give a fuck. I do but I don’t cause it’s over with now. I ain’t fittin’ to cry over that shit. “Chin Check” was alright, but “Hello” was better to me. It was better but it just wasn’t like it used to be. Muthafuckas be having a gang of niggaz now in the studios. When we used to record back in the day nobody would really be there, only a few people.