West Coast icon and lyrical gangsta Mack 10 is back with a new single, ‘So Sharp’ and a new vibe. Vowing to keep his music both current and consistent, if the single's features, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross, are any indication, Mack 10 uses the Left Coast as his canvass and the lyrics as the brush.
The album ‘Soft White’ (yes it means exactly what you think it means) will be released September 29th via Hoo-Bangin'/Fontana/Universal and is, according to Mack Dime a masterpiece.
A label boss and a Hip Hop heavyweight in his own right, Mack 10 talks with Broken Cool about The Game and DJ Quik, Westside Connection, how the West is more than 40’s and khakis, and why he’s really a nice guy…despite what you’ve heard.
Mack 10 on the current west coast scene:
"Ain’t nobody walking around here with khakis and shit like that, shit, it's 2009."
Maxine Ross: What’s the haps Mack 10?
Mack 10: I just mastered my album yesterday so I’m ready to go full throttle with that. It will be in stores September 29th. I’m excited about it. I had a lot of fun with this one.
MR: You said you’ve been “smiling all year.” Why?
Mack 10: A lot of personal things I was going through in my life are behind me now. I can focus on rapping in a way that I normally do. I can only be happy about that. I can honestly say that this is one of the best albums I’ve ever done.
MR: Tell me about it.
Mack 10: Well to start with, I’ve got a lot of features. Birdman, Glasses Malone, Rick Ross, I’ve got a record with Anthony Hamilton. I’ve got a song with J. Holiday called, “Hood Famous” a record with Akon. I just reached out and it was open arms with everybody. It was a real fun process for me. Something new, fresh and current.
MR: I just watched the video and I could definitely see that you were having fun.
Mack 10: [laughs] It’s just having fun. You see I’m smiling in the video right?
MR: Yeah, so that means you’re in a good place?
Mack 10: I’m in a great place. I’m still one of the best at what I do. I ain’t looking dusty and played out. I don’t have anything to complain about. I still got money and everything. I don’t have nothing to be mad about.
MR: Does ‘Soft White’ mean what I think it means?
Mack 10: What do you think it means?
MR: How about you tell me what it means?
Mack 10: Soft white is when dope is raw. So that’s what this album is. It’s just me being me. It’s just raw and uncut so I named it "Soft White."
MR: So raw Colombian coke status then?
Mack 10: Yes, believe that.
MR: Will the record get us just as hooked?
Mack 10: Absolutely. This one right here, everybody is going to respect it. I can guarantee that. It sounds like 2009. It don’t sound like no old shit. I ain’t trying to bring nothing back to the 90’s or nothing like that. I’m a real street dude so I’m talking about what really occurs in the streets for real. You gotta respect that.
MR: The single ‘So Sharp’ features Lil Wayne and Rick Ross, two heavy names in Hip Hop right now. Why did you choose them for the single?
Mack 10: Well, Wayne is my lil' homie. The same with Ross. I could hear both of them on ‘So Sharp.’ Ross is a sharp nigga so he had to be on that. It is what it is. That’s what I wanted on there. It was open arms, we knocked it out and got it done.
MR: Did I hear a verse from Jim Jones somewhere?
Mack 10: Yeah Jimmy was on there. What happened was is he was overseas when we shot the video so I shot the version with Ross on there. It’s all love though, Jimmy is a good dude.
MR: There are a few artists from the West that claim to really represent for the culture of Hip Hop on the left side like The Game, I think Quik’s been moving around….
Mack 10: I don’t think nobody represents the coast like me. They misrepresented the coast. People think we doing a lot of goofy shit out here and that ain’t cool at all. We like to ball and have fun out here too. Nobody don’t represent that. That’s what I’m bringing with the ‘So Sharp’ video. Enough of that being on the block and everything, it’s more to it out here than that.
MR: More to it than what is the regular portrayal of the West side.
Mack 10: Listen. I’m involved in the streets actively. My bike just won the Harley show, two weeks ago amongst all street niggas. Dig what I’m saying? I’m involved with what goes on in the streets for real. For real. So, like I said, ain’t nobody representing for the streets like I am. No one is really painting the picture the way it really goes down out here. No one can paint it the way I paint it or the way I’ve painted it over the years. What you’ve seen in my videos or on my records, that’s exactly what’s going on out there in the streets at that time. I think you’ve got to tune in to Hoo Bangin to find out what’s really going down out here.
MR: As opposed to what some other artists say is real life in your hood?
Mack 10: It ain’t really like that. Ain’t nobody walking around here with khakis and shit like that, shit, it's 2009. You wouldn’t even know that if you didn’t live out here. That ain’t how they represent us you know?
MR: Why do you think those images continue as authentic? Everyone thinks it’s 40’s, khakis and Dickie suits.
Mack 10: I don’t know what it is! I ain’t walking around drinking 40’s wearing khakis and shit like that on a regular basis though! I mean, nobody that I’m with on a regular basis. Shit, we might pop some Champagne; we might drink some Cognac or something, some Louie XIII or something like that. I’m into living for real! I ain’t about to tell you I’m walking around with khakis and drinking 40’s and shit because I’d be lying.
MR: What is it like for you to be a label owner in this music climate?
Mack 10: I love it. What people don’t understand is that I’ve sold over 5 million records independent. That shit is new for everybody else. I’ve always been independent and this has always been my game. I’ve been selling independent records since the 90’s. I’m not worried about where the game is today. It’s easy to me. I don’t stress myself over what’s changed in the game. It’s changed for me just like it’s changed for everybody. We’re on even playing ground right now. Only the strong survive. That’s how it goes.
MR: In adapting to this music climate, is it about selling records right now?
Mack 10: Yeah it’s about selling records. That’s the music business. It’s just about the way you sell them. No one is going to the store anymore. You can buy a record without even leaving home now. Your shit just has to be available. If it’s good it’ll sell and you should be able to move records, if you market it right.
MR: You said ‘Soft White’ is a masterpiece. How does it differ from your other what, 8 or 9 albums?
Mack 10: Maybe my 9th including all the collaborations. Probably like my 6th on my own. It’s just a good record, from top to bottom, start to finish it’s great. I had a lot of fun. You can see my personality. If you look at my previous work, you never saw me having fun like that and smiling and running around in the videos having fun and stuff like that so I’m having fun...shit.
MR: Yeah, the growth is apparent. You didn’t necessarily seem like an approachable guy, from your past work.
Mack 10: I just think that, to be honest, I’ve done a really good job playing my character over the years. I know you’ve heard things in the media about me and my personal life and things like that but just for the record, all of that’s bull shit too. Anything you’ve heard about me to make you think I wouldn’t be approachable. I’m really kind of a cool and nice guy. I hope you can tell that I’m a nice guy. Ain’t nobody trying to be all extra hard and shit now, man, it’s 2009! We got money to get out here, ain’t no need to be mad at a motherfucker, for what?!
MR: I feel that but, I also know what a Mack 10 is.
Mack 10: Yeah but you also understand that I was a youngster. I was a teenager when I got that name! I can’t remain a thunder cat forever. You gotta grow up and mature and turn into something one day.
MR: Would you classify ‘Soft White’ as a party record?
Mack 10: It ain’t really a party record. It’s a real record. Honestly when you listen, you’ll understand what I’m saying. It’s a Mack 10 record. Anybody that’s a fan will see and understand that it’s a Mack 10 record. I think that you will be pleasantly surprised at how current it is. I ain’t trying to make nobody revisit the 90’s or nothing like that, it’s real current.
MR: There’s going to be a lot happening with the release of this album. What can we expect from you between now and September 29th?
Mack 10: I got a lot of shows lined up. You know, really, you’ll be hearing a lot from me and seeing a lot of me because we gotta make sure it move on September 29th.
MR: Can we expect chatter of another Westside Connection collabo?
Mack 10: Nah. I haven’t talked to those guys in quite sometime. I don’t know what’s going on with that. I’ve got a collaboration album with Glasses Malone. The name of the group is Mack & Malone. That’s dropping at the top of next year. I’ve got another album that is already finished practically for next year. I’m a hustler all day and I’ve got my foot on the gas and I can’t let up right now.
MR: So there’s ‘Soft White’ and you’ve got another release happening shortly.
Mack 10: The album with G. Malone is dropping first quarter and probably the summer you’ll have my album for 2010.
MR: Any other Hoo Bangin artists you’re excited about?
Mack 10: I mean, not really. Right now I’m concentrating on my album and the record with Glasses. That’s how I’ve had my success is to work on a few things at a time so that everything can get the proper focus.
MR: Where can we keep updated with the latest?
MR: Anything else?
Mack 10: I wanted to let you know that I’m a nice dude. Don’t believe the negative shit you read. I hear that from time to time but really the things you hear in the media is believable because of my character or my music but I’m a business man and I understand that the shit is entertainment. Anything you’ve heard about me in the press that’s negative, that’s not even me. I’m a good guy. Don’t believe anything else.