Real Name: Aaron Tyler
D.O.B.: May 22, 1967 Compton, California
MC Eiht holds court as being one of the innovators in shaping the existence of west coast rap today. While most Bronx-centric historians were crowning their Fort Apache forefathers, the west ran wild with their own hip-hop brand distinction. One of the leading go-getters sitting in the shadows of N.W.A. was MC Eiht rolling with Compton's Most wanted. Emerging onto the scene as the front man for his crew, he took the professional stage with his trio before blossoming into a successful career as a solo MC and actor. Brought up from the teachings of Compton’s finest Mixmaster Spade and Toddy Tee, Eiht has dedicated his life to representing his home-town in true gangsta rap fashion. He picked up the traditions of a Compton artist where Eazy-E left it and continued the legacy. Best known for his role as A-Wax in, Menace II Society, Veteran Eiht has flourished in the gangsta rap industry and persistently adorns Compton as the Mecca of gangsta rap. While the west coast rap scene has gone through many costume changes, many artists have come, rocked and rode on out of the scene, Eiht stayed stylin' khaki and Pendleton and remained one of L.A.'s dopest. Now holdin' down the block with his all-star comrades, Kam and Goldie Loc, Eiht and the Warzone group get ready to drop their début, Snoop-produced album to once again show Eiht as the underground King of west coast hip-hop.
As a teenager, Eiht had started an interest in rapping as a teenager listening to local party legends Mixmaster Spade and Toddy Tee who were flooding the neighbourhoods with mixtapes about Compton life. Inspired, young Aaron Tyler began describing his corner of Compton rapping with junior high school friend, Chill from Watts who used to beatbox. The pair complimented each other and they began recording together using Chill’s mixer and turntables to churn out garage mixtapes. Eiht continued to sell his mixtapes spreading his talent throughout the local scene with a copy falling into the hands of local producer Terry ‘DJ Slip’ Allen who liked what he heard and offered to work alongside the pair. Slip had strong connections with super-producer Andre ‘DJ Unknown’ Manuel who teamed up with Slip to produce records for Unknown’s Techno Hop Records label in 1987. Unknown was fresh from producing the legendary first three revolutionary west coast albums from Ice-T. He was brought onboard to help produce Slip’s new project and they were now able to cut a more professional demo tape which was picked up by Capitol Records subsidiary Orpheus Records and by 1989 Compton’s Most Wanted (CMW) was born. Slip had introduced CMW on DJ Unknown’s Compton Compilation album for World Class Wreckin’ Cru’s Alonzo Williams. They contributed to the album with ‘Rhymes Too Funky’. Also adding to the record was Quicksand a local group starring Mike ‘DJ Mike T’ Bryant who would later replace existing DJ Ant Capone. Their first hit came by the name of ‘One Time Gaffled ‘Em Up’ becoming their first released single off their debut album ‘It’s a Compton Thang’ released in 1990. Unfortunately they couldn’t step out of the shadows of N.W.A.’s success, therefore with less controversy and continual comparisons sales did not reflect the talented teamwork of CMW.
During Eiht’s early career grew a hostile beef with fellow Compton neighbourhood rapper DJ Quik who systematically conspired against him holding strong to their old ways as Quik was a Tree-Top Compton Piru (Blood) and Eiht was a Crip. Although no apparent violence ensued they did battle fiercely on record, a true hip-hop beef. The inevitable controversy over their beef helped to boost both careers as gangsta rappers and served to sell them a lot of records. This started in the early 90’s after DJ Quik sent a respectful shout-out to Eiht and his CMW crew, however Eiht viewed this in a different, somewhat sarcastic throw-down and subsequently answered in a diss-rap, from here Quik wrote "Dollars n Sense". This continued until the hip-hop community mourned the loss of the Prodigal son, Tupac. This shock wave had everybody shaking hands despite their past. When old grudges grew old and both artists sought to bring it to a head and squash any remaining beef. Eiht provided a verse for a collaboration track for Quik’s upcoming album, although the track never surfaced.
They persevered with two more albums, Straight Checkn 'Em (1991) released under new label Epic Records who armed them with more promotion and exposure. Eiht and his production crew were also given more freedom to experiment new creative sounds. Slip bought new and better equipment and they embarked on a tour across the country. They hit New York for the first time and were much loved. They spawned notable eminent anthems for his city of Compton "Growing Up in the Hood" and "Raised in Compton" making it a very famous album. They followed this with their third, Music to Driveby (1992) which was considered their all-time greatest record. The well-rounded album gave way to classic hooks "Another Victim", "Hood Rat" and "Def Wish" (one in a series). Here they hired DJ Mike T who relieved DJ Slip’s position as he left to produce albums for other artists. Mike T became an official CMW member after Eiht fired the transitory DJ Ant Capone. They sparked a battle with the New York fire-starter Tim Dogg who continually wrote diss-raps against prominent west coast artists. Spreading across to the east coast market, with several video clips Music to Driveby sold an impressive 400,000 underground copies and is regarded today as a true gangsta record.
MC Eiht and CMW had never crossed over to the mainstream rat-race, leaving demographics constricted to a strictly underground market for a hardcore fan base. By 1993 Eiht had opened up a solo career taking with him producer DJ Slip. In the time between albums Eiht and DJ Slip had started a recording label of their own under the Sony Corporation. Slip and Eiht co-produced Eiht’s debut album, We Come Strapped distributed on Sony’s Epic Street label which managed to top Billboard’s R&B album charts in ’94 and the Top Five pop album chart. The album was billed as “MC Eiht featuring CMW” despite the fact that only Slip and Eiht contributed. The album struck headlines when it was distributed with two parental advisory stickers with Sony claiming no responsibility for the lyrical content. Eiht collaborated with New Jersey’s Redman and Bay Area rapper Spice 1 on ‘Nuthin’ But the Gangsta’. It also offered the single "Streiht Up Menace" produced by Slip and featured with accompanying video on the soundtrack for the 1993 Hughes Brothers film Menace II Society which saw Eiht showcase a talent for acting starring alongside Tyrin Turner and Larenz Tate as Compton gang banger, A-Wax. That year saw We Come Strapped sell 800,000 copies.