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Andre Louis Hicks (July 5, 1970 – November 1, 2004), better known by his stage name Mac Dre, was an American rapper, hip hop pioneer, and record producer based in Vallejo, California.[1][2] He was instrumental in the emergence of hyphy, a cultural movement in the Bay Area hip-hop scene that emerged in the early 00s.[3] Hicks is considered one of the movement's key pioneers that fueled its popularity into mainstream, releasing songs with fast-paced rhymes and baselines that inspired a new style of dance.[3] As the founder of the independent record label, Thizz Entertainment, Hicks recorded dozens of albums and gave aspiring rappers an outlet to release albums locally.[4]

Mac Dre
Mac Dre.jpg
Background information
Birth nameAndre Louis Hicks
Born(1970-07-05)July 5, 1970
Oakland, California, U.S.
OriginVallejo, California, U.S.
DiedNovember 1, 2004(2004-11-01) (aged 34)
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
GenresHip hop
West Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap (early)
Hyphy (later)
Occupation(s)Rapper, Record Producer, Screenwriter, Movie Director
Years active1984–2004
LabelsThizz Entertainment
Associated actsMac Mall
Websitehttp://www.legendofthebay.com

In 2004, Hicks was killed by an unknown assailant after a performance in Kansas City, Missouri,[5] a case that remains unsolved.[6]

Early life and careerEdit

Andre Louis Hicks was born in Oakland, California on July 5, 1970 and moved to Vallejo area. He would frequent specifically, Country Club Crest neighborhood, known locally as The Crest. In 1989, the outgoing Hicks made waves with a cassette tape featuring the single, "Too Hard for the F---in' Radio" while still a student at Vallejo's Hogan High School. NPR reflected on his sound in 2013 article as being "fast and confident" further writing that "he built upon the bouncy bass that had its roots in the funk era."[7] When asked about his childhood, Hicks stated that "Situations came out for the better most of them, I went through the little trials and the shit that I went through."[8] Hicks first adopted the stage name MC Dre in 1984, but altered it to Mac Dre the following year because he considered the name sounded "too East Coast-ish".[9] Hicks recorded his first three EPs as Mac Dre between 1988 and 1992.[1]

ConvictionEdit

In the early 1990s, the city of Vallejo experienced a surge in bank robberies. Vallejo police began to focus on the Crest Neighborhood as the source with new found intensity. Hicks was vocal about the actions he saw being taken by the police and incorporated their aggressive surveillance of residents into his music. As gangster rap music consistantly grew in popularity, law enforcement officials began to examine the lyrics of local rappers to utlize as evidence in criminal matters.[10]

On March 26, 1992, at age 21, Hicks was invited by some of his friends to a road trip roughly 3 hours away to Fresno. Hicks had performed in the city two weeks prior and decided to go on the trip so that he could re-visit with a girl. While driving back to Vallejo the car was surrounded the FBI along with Fresno and Vallejo police. The police stated that while Hicks was at a motel, his friends were allegedly casing a bank but had changed their mind when they saw a local Fresno TV News van in the bank's parking lot.[11] When questioned by the police, Hicks stated that he did not leave the hotel therefore did not know anything. The police subseqently charged him with conspiracy to commit robbery, although no bank robbery was conducted and Hicks was neither with his friends nor near the location of the purported bank.[12] He was sentenced to five years in federal prison after he refused a deal which included implicating his friends in a robbery that did not occur. The trial was later listed among Complex Magazine's 30 Biggest Criminal Trials in Rap History.[13] At the time of his conviction, Hicks owned the record label Romp Productions.[1] Hicks was released a year early from prison for good behavior on August 2, 1996, after serving four years.[1] It was during his time in prison, that Hicks developed a "better appreciation for freedom, life, fun."[14]

Post Prison CareerEdit

After his release, Hicks wanted to start doing music that was easy to dance to. He and long time friend and fellow rapper, Troy Reddick a/k/a Da'unda'Dogg decided try to do something different. The duo recorded several songs to pitch for the first time, to major record labels. One song in particular, was sent to various West Coast based representatives of the well known Oakland rapper, Too Short for a upcoming compilation, Nationwide: Independence Day but was not selected and it is unknown if the song ever made it to Too Short. In 2019, Grammy winning Atlanta rapper and multi-platinum producer, Lil Jon, with the blessing of Hicks's mother (Hicks was murdered in 2004), would incorporate the same vocals in the single "Ain't No Tellin" and release thru Geffen Records. [15] Ironically, Lil Jon's 1998 debut to the Bay Area was thru a song on the same Too Short compliation. Reddick, in a statement to Complex Magazine stated "Of all the vocals Jon got, he picked some from the record Dre wrote to be released by a major label, and 23 years later Lil Jon has completed his goal!" [16]

Hicks continued to release multiple albums independently until his untimely death in 2004 that were wildly popular. In 1998, Hicks relocated to Sacramento to distance himself from the stigma that developed in the eyes of Vallejo law enforcement and founded the a new label, Thizz Entertainment label(now managed by his mother).[17] In 2000, Hicks's change in sound became the lead in to a popular genre coined as the Hyphy Movement.[18]

DeathEdit

After Hicks and other Thizz Entertainment members had performed a show in Kansas City, Missouri on October 31, 2004, an unidentified gunman shot at the group's van as it traveled on U.S. Route 71 in the early morning hours of November 1. The van's driver crashed and called 9-1-1, but Hicks was pronounced dead at the scene from a bullet wound to the neck.[19]

He was buried at the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland.[20]

DiscographyEdit

Studio albumsEdit

Posthumous studio albumsEdit

Collaboration albumsEdit

  • Supa Sig Tapes with Little Bruce (1990)
  • Turf Buccaneers with Cutthroat Committee (2001)
  • Money iz Motive with Cutthroat Committee (2005)
  • Da U.S. Open with Mac Mall (2005)
  • A Tale of Two Andres with Andre Nickatina (2008)

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2016-03-12. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ sfbg. "San Francisco Bay Guardian - News". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 9 March 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  3. ^ a b "An Oral History of Hyphy". Complex. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  4. ^ Van Nguyen, Dean (2014-06-02). "Vallejo rapper Mac Dre pioneered the hyphy movement". WaxPoetics. Wax Poetics, Inc. Retrieved 2018-03-17. But no one touched the Bay area like Vallejo's Mac Dre. Responsible for recording dozens of records, unearthing new local talent, building a rap empire, and pioneering a whole new homegrown counterculture, Mac Dreezy changed the landscape of the Bay Area forever and earned legendary status among Bay Area locals.
  5. ^ "Rapper Mac Dre Killed In Kansas City". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  6. ^ Gray, Madison (2011-09-13). "Top 10 Unsolved Hip-Hop Murders". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  7. ^ Harmanci, Reyhan; Walter, Shoshana. "Federal Drug Case Ensnares The Home of Hyphy". NPR. National Public Radio. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  8. ^ 530NorCal. "Mac Dre - Ghetto Celebrities Pt. 2". Youtube. Retrieved 2013-04-16.[better source needed]
  9. ^ 530NorCal2. "Mac Dre - Ghetto Celebrities Pt. 1". youtube. Retrieved 2013-04-16.[better source needed]
  10. ^ Harmanci, Reyhan; Walter, Shoshana. "Federal Drug Case Ensnares The Home Of Hyphy". NPR. National Public Radio. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  11. ^ Billy, Jam. "Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Mac Dre Details Police Role In His 5 Year Prison Sentence: March 1996 Rare Radio Interview from Lompoc". amoeba.com. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  12. ^ Billy, Jam. "Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Mac Dre Details Police Role In His 5 Year Prison Sentence: March 1996 Rare Radio Interview from Lompoc". amoeba.com. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  13. ^ Drake, David; Insanul, Ahmed. "The 30 Biggest Criminal Trials in Rap History". Complex. Complex Magazine. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  14. ^ Horowitz, Steven. "An Oral History of Hyphy". Complex. Complex Magazine. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  15. ^ Shifferaw, Abel. "Lil Jon Shares New Track "Ain't No Tellin'" Featuring Mac Dre". Complex. Complex Magazine. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  16. ^ Shifferaw, Abel. "Lil Jon Shares New Track "Ain't No Tellin'" Featuring Mac Dre". Complex. Complex Magazine. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  17. ^ Horowitz, Steven. "An Oral History of Hyphy". Complex. Complex Magazine. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  18. ^ Horowitz, Steven. "An Oral History of Hyphy". Complex. Complex Magazine. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  19. ^ Bulwa, Demian (2011-06-24). "Rapper Mac Dre slain in Kansas City". SFGate. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  20. ^ "Andre Mac-Dre Hicks (1970 - 2004) - Find A Grave Memorial". Retrieved 9 March 2015.