MC Ren

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MC Ren
Birth name Lorenzo Jerald Patterson
Also known as The Ruthless Villain, The Villain, The Villain in Black
Born (1969-06-16) June 16, 1969 (age 45)
Compton, California, U.S.
Genres Hip hop, gangsta rap
Occupations Rapper, record producer
Years active 1986–present
Labels Villain Entertainment (current),
Ruthless, Priority, Relativity (former)
Associated acts N.W.A, The D.O.C., Above the Law, Public Enemy, Snoop Dogg, WC, Kurupt, Nate Dogg, Xzibit, E-A-Ski

Lorenzo Jerald Patterson (born June 16, 1969),[1] better known by his stage name MC Ren, is an American rapper from Compton, California. He is the founder and owner of his own record label Villain Entertainment. His moniker is derived from the middle letters in his first name (Lorenzo)[citation needed].

Ren began his career signed as a solo artist to Eazy E's Ruthless Records in early 1987, while still attending high school. By the end of 1987, after having written almost half of Eazy E's debut album Eazy-Duz-It, he was included in the influential gangsta rap group N.W.A with Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and DJ Yella, which popularized the use of explicit lyrics in rap to detail the violence of street life. After the group disbanded in 1991, he stayed with Ruthless, putting out several platinum and gold selling albums, before leaving the label in 1999.

Early life[edit]

Patterson was born and raised in Compton, California. He and fellow N.W.A. members, including Arabian Prince, all hailed from Compton. Before N.W.A., MC Ren decided to join the U.S. Army with a friend. He would change his mind about joining the military after watching Full Metal Jacket. He would then meet with Eazy-E and start his career in rap.[2]

Music career[edit]

N.W.A: 1986-1991[edit]

N.W.A in 1988; MC Ren farthest right

In 1986 Eazy-E and Dr. Dre met rapper Ice Cube, who had found local fame with his group C.I.A. Eazy-E had at that point just founded Ruthless Records and requested Ice Cube to write a song for a group called H.B.O. The song, called Boyz-n-the-Hood, was rejected by the group so Dr. Dre convinced Eazy-E to do the song. Boyz-n-the-Hood became a local hit and sparked the collaboration between the trio. They decided to start their own group called N.W.A. DJ Yella and Arabian Prince were added in 1987, before the release of their compilation album N.W.A. and the Posse. The album was, however, largely ignored and Arabian Prince left the group the next year.

MC Ren was at the beginning signed as a solo artist to Eazy-E's Ruthless Records, while still attending high school in 1987. However, when Ice Cube went to study for a year, Ren was asked to write songs for Eazy-E's debut album Eazy-Duz-It. After having written almost half of the album, MC Ren was added to the group and they immediately started on the N.W.A album Straight Outta Compton. In only four weeks and a budget of 8,000 dollars the album was finished and released in the summer of 1988. Propelled by the hit "Fuck tha Police", the album became a major success, despite an almost complete absence of radio airplay or major concert tours. The Federal Bureau of Investigation sent Ruthless Records a warning letter in response to the song's content.[3]

One month after Straight Outta Compton, Eazy-E's solo debut Eazy-Duz-It was released. The album was dominated by Eazy's persona—MC Ren was the only guest rapper—but behind the scenes it was a group effort. Music was handled by Dr. Dre and DJ Yella; the lyrics were largely written by MC Ren, with contributions from Ice Cube and The D.O.C.

Following Ice Cube's departure from the group in 1989, N.W.A quickly released the EP 100 Miles and Runnin'. Ice Cube, who by then had released his debut solo album avoided mentioning his former group mates. However N.W.A would diss Ice Cube on their EP, in the title track and the song Real Niggaz, accusing him of cowardice, and question his authenticity, longevity and originality. All lyrics were written by MC Ren, with contributions by The D.O.C. The group's second full-length album Niggaz4Life was released the next year. Selling 954,000 copies in the first week, it became the first rap album to enter number one on the Billboard charts. This album would become the group's final, seeing that Dr. Dre left the group over money disputes with the manager Jerry Heller.

According to MC Ren, it was common opinion that Heller was the one receiving their due:

We felt he didn’t deserve what he was getting. We deserved that shit. We were the ones making the records, traveling in vans and driving all around the place. You do all those fucking shows trying to get known, and then you come home to a fucking apartment. Then you go to his house, and this motherfucker lives in a mansion. There’s gold leaf trimmings all in the bathroom and all kinds of other shit. You’re thinking, “Man, fuck that.”[4]

Solo career: 1992-present[edit]

MC Ren subsequently released his debut album Kizz My Black Azz in 1992. It reached platinum. MC Ren's next album, Life Sentence, was scrapped while he converted to the Nation of Islam[citation needed] (which he has since left and converted to orthodox Islam)[citation needed] with guidance from DJ Train. Shock of the Hour in 1993 was released the next year. It also features the single "Mayday on the Front Line" which appeared in the film CB4. MC Ren soon fell on hard times when DJ Train died in a burning house before the release of The Villain in Black (1996). The album sold relatively well for a brief period. Before leaving Ruthless Records, Ren released Ruthless for Life (1998) which proved a small comeback, selling moderately well. In 2000, he appeared on the song "Hello" which featured Dr. Dre and Ice Cube on Ice Cube's War & Peace Vol. 2 (The Peace Disc) album. He joined the Up In Smoke Tour that same year just to rap this verse on this track. He appeared on the posse cut "Some L.A. Niggaz" from Dr. Dre's 2001 album.

MC Ren released the straight-to-DVD Lost in the Game in 2004. His most recent work has appeared on some more politically oriented projects such as with Public Enemy, specifically Paris' album Hard Truth Soldiers Vol. 1 as well as on Public Enemy's album Rebirth of a Nation. Paris stated in an interview with Rapstation.com that "MC Ren is retired and won't be doing a full-length album as far as I know. I get at him for verses, that's about it."

MC Ren appeared on the VH1 Hip Hop Honors talking about Eazy-E in the tribute to him. As of late 2007, Ren was supposed to be in work with Long Beach-based rapper RBX alongside Big Rocc on the group Concrete Criminals and although a debut album was promised, nothing came out of it. In 2009, MC Ren finished his fourth studio album entitled Renincarnated which was released under his own record label Villain Entertainment on October 31, 2009. Renincarnated was only released in the US. In 2014 MC Ren released a new single called Rebel Music. Ren also worked with his former N.W.A band mate Ice Cube on Rebel Music (Remix).

Other ventures[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Religion[edit]

Around 1993, MC Ren converted to the Islamic faith through the Nation of Islam. He converted to Sunni Islam a few years later.[5]

Discography[edit]

Main article: MC Ren discography
Studio albums
Extended Plays
With N.W.A

Filmography[edit]

Films
Year Title Role Notes
1992 Niggaz4Life: The Only Home Video Himself Documentary
2000 Up In Smoke Tour Himself Concert Film
2005 Lost in the Game The Vill Main Role
2010 "Straight outta L.A" himself Sports Documentary

References[edit]

  1. ^ California Births, 1905 - 1995, Lorenzo J. Patterson
  2. ^ http://www.dubcnn.com/interviews/mcren08/
  3. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2000). "Dr. Dre – Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved September 22, 2007. 
  4. ^ Burgess, Omar (26 October 2008). "MC Ren: RenIncarnated". Hiphop DX. Retrieved 18 April 2011. 
  5. ^ Burgess, Omar (October 25, 2008). "MC Ren: RenIncarnated". HipHop DX. Retrieved May 21, 2011. 

External links[edit]