After undergoing successful stomach surgery on Monday in Los Angeles for what was being described as “acute abdominal pains,” West Coast rapper Mack 10 has released a buzz-heavy collaborative album with new breed Cali spitter Glasses Malone. For Mack, the new project entitled Money Music (in stores now) was a labor of love for the legendary hip-hop vet. He credits Malone, who he signed to his Hoo Bangin' label, with making the recording process a revitalizing experience.
“Glasses was great to work with,” Mack 10 tells VIBE. “I saw a lot of him in myself. I like being around the younger artists. They are hungry. Helping out the new rap generation is what keeps the hood alive. If you get to a point where you don’t want to put anyone new on, rap is going to die out. I’m already going to the Hall of Fame. I have a yellow jacket coming to me already. All I could do is help the new artists and embrace them because somebody helped me. I ain’t never going to shit on the youngsters. That’s why they fuck with me.”
For Mack, who made his debut with his 1995 self-titled Cali-classic and enjoyed multi-platinum success as a member of the G’d up super group Westside Connection—a trio that included Ice Cube and WC—it was important to make an independent statement with the new release. “There’s not many guest artists on Money Music,” Mack says of the project. “It’s just Richie Rich, who is also on Hoo Bangin’. He’s an Oakland legend. We just wanted to do it ourselves, kind of like how Westside Connection would do records. Drastic Measures did most of the production. You have to find the next hot producer and let them do most of the album so you can have a certain sound to it.”
One of the more intriguing moves Mack 10 has recently made is signing rapper/actor Xzibit to Hoo Bangin’. When asked if he was taking a chance inking a deal with an artist who is now more renowned for his Hollywood success (X has had an impressive run appearing in a string of films and hosting the groundbreaking MTV car show Pimp My Ride) than his past hip-hop triumphs, Mack insists that Xzibit still has it.
“He does his acting thing, but he can still rap his ass off,” says Mack of his West Coast rhyme peer. “He’s a real MC…that’s why I signed him. He’s been working on his record. It’s probably going to come out in August.”
Mack 10 says there are plans to go out on the road with Glasses Malone, Xzibit and Richie Rich. But one artist you won’t see sharing the stage with Mack is former mentor and cohort Ice Cube. The pair had a falling out in 2007 due to business issues. “I haven’t spoken to Cube in a long time…like years,” Mack says when asked if there was any chance of a Westside Connection reunion. “I don’t know if we will ever speak again. I haven’t given it much thought. It’s all about Hoo Bangin’ now. Outside of that, I can’t really think about it. That’s the way you have to approach this business right now. This is not 1995 anymore.”—Keith Murphy