MC Ren

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MC Ren
MC Ren.png
Background information
Birth nameLorenzo Jerald Patterson[1]
Also known as
  • The Villain
  • The Ruthless Villain
  • The Villain In Black
  • Mad Scientist
  • Rebel Villain
Born (1969-06-16) June 16, 1969 (age 49)[2]
Compton, California, United States
GenresHip hop
Occupation(s)
Instruments
Years active1986–present
Labels
Associated acts
Websitewww.nationvillain.com

Lorenzo Jerald Patterson[1] (born June 16, 1969),[3] better known by his stage name MC Ren, is an American rapper, songwriter and record producer from Compton, California. He is the founder and owner of the record label Villain. His moniker is derived from the middle letters in his first name (Lorenzo).[citation needed]

MC Ren began his solo career signed as a solo artist to Eazy-E's Ruthless in early 1987, while still attending high school. By the end of 1987, after having written almost half of Eazy-Duz-It, he was included in N.W.A. After the group disbanded in 1991, he stayed with Ruthless, before leaving the label in 1999.

Early life[edit]

Lorenzo Jerald Patterson[1] was born in Compton, Los Angeles, California on June 16, 1969[2] and raised on Pannes Ave, around Kelly Park. He grew up with his parents, two brothers and a sister. His father used to work for "the government", until he later opened up his own barber shop.[4]

Patterson joined the Kelly Park Compton Crips, a gang that Eazy E would also be in, but quickly left when he wasn't making money: "At one moment I tried to get into the little banging thing, but the little banging thing wasn't working out. I wasn't getting paid." Leaving the gang, Patterson began selling dope after watching people getting paid: " I seen everybody around me getting paid and making ends, so I started getting into the dope game for a quick minute." Following a raid on his childhood friend MC Chip's house, Patterson abandoned the dope game and focused on making music: "Then my homie Chip, his house got raided, fucked up everything. So we had to chill out for a minute. After that I was just trying to stay deep into the music." [5]

Patterson began attending Dominguez High School, where he met his future collaborator DJ Train. At this time, Patterson developed an interest in hip hop music, and began writing raps with his childhood friend MC Chip. Together they formed the group Awesome Crew 2 and performed at parties and night clubs.[6] Before graduating high school, Patterson 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 up with his childhood friend Eazy-E and start his career in rap.[7]

Music career[edit]

Career beginnings: 1987–1991[edit]

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

Poster for one of N.W.A's first concerts at a Compton skating rink, 1988

One month after Straight Outta Compton, Eazy-Duz-It was released. Despite containing contributions from the entire group, the album was dominated by Wright's persona. The production was handled by Dr. Dre and DJ Yella while the lyrics were largely written by Patterson, with contributions from Ice Cube and The D.O.C..[citation needed]

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 go on to diss Ice Cube on their EP in the title track and the song "Real Niggaz", accusing him of cowardice, & question his authenticity, longevity & originality, comparing him to Benedict Arnold. All lyrics were written by Patterson, with contributions by The D.O.C. The group's 2nd full-length studio album Niggaz4Life was released the next year. Selling 955,000 copies in the 1st week, it became the first Rap album to enter #1 on the Billboard charts. This album would become the group's final as Dr. Dre left the group over financial disputes with Jerry Heller.

According to Patterson, 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."[9]

Solo career: 1992–present[edit]

As N.W.A disbanded, Patterson started recording his 1st solo release titled Kizz My Black Azz. The 6-track EP was entirely produced by DJ Bobcat, except for one song that he produced himself. Released in summer 1992, the EP was a hit, commercially and critically. Without any radio play, the EP went Platinum within 2 months.

Patterson began recording for his debut album, at that time called Life Sentence, in late 1992. In the middle of the recording process, Patterson joined The Nation Of Islam with guidance from DJ Train. This caused him to scrap Life Sentence, and Shock Of The Hour was released in late 1993. The album debuted at #1 on the R&B charts, selling 321,000 copies in its 1st month. Shock of the Hour was regarded as more focused, yet even more controversial, & critics accused him again of being anti-white, misogynist, & antisemitic.[10] The album is thematically divided into two sides; the first half deals with social issues like ghetto life, drug addiction, racism and poverty. The second half shows Patterson's political side, as this half was recorded after he joined the Nation of Islam. The album features the hit singles "Same Old Shit" and "Mayday On The Frontline".

After 2 years of not talking to each, Lorenzo Jerald Patterson reunited with Eazy-E in 1994 to produce their duet song "Tha Muthpukkin' Real" produced by DJ Yella, with Patterson co-producing. Three months later; on March 26, 1995, Eazy-E would die from complications of AIDS. The song "Tha Muthpukkin' Real" was released as a single in 1995.

Patterson soon fell on hard times when both DJ Train & Eazy-E died before the release of The Villain in Black. The album, which was released in early 1996 and represented Patterson's first attempt at imitating the G-funk sound of Dr. Dre's The Chronic, was not well received by critics. It was also heavily criticized for what many saw as Patterson's pandering to gangsta rap and reduction the socio-political content found on his earlier releases. The album debuted at #31 on the pop-charts, with the 1st week's sales of 31,000 copies. By the next month it had sold 131,000 copies.

Before leaving Ruthless, Patterson released Ruthless for Life in 1998, which proved a small comeback, selling moderately well.[clarification needed] The album features Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, RBX and 8Ball & MJG, and others. This was the first time Patterson worked with new producers. By the end of 1999, Patterson had left Ruthless.

On October 31, 2009, Patterson released his 4th studio album entitled Renincarnated, which was released under his own record label Villain. Renincarnated was only released in the US.

Patterson is working on his 2nd EP, titled Rebel Music. It was originally expected to be released by the end of 2015 but is still unreleased. So far, 2 singles have been released: the title track, "Rebel Music", and "Burn Radio Burn". The official remix for "Rebel Music" was released in June 2014 and features Ice Cube. The official remix for "Burn Radio Burn" is expected to be released soon and features Chuck D of Public Enemy. The whole EP is set to be produced by E-A-Ski.

Collaborations: 1987–present[edit]

In 1988, Patterson assisted on Eazy-Duz-It. Although listed as a solo album by Eazy-E, numerous artists contributed. Patterson; the only guest rapper on the album, features raps of his own on almost half of the album. The album was produced by Dr. Dre and DJ Yella while Patterson, Ice Cube and The D.O.C. wrote the lyrics.

In 1990, Patterson produced the whole debut album for his protege group CPO, titled To Hell and Black. The group consisted of CPO Boss Hogg, DJ Train, and Young D. After the release of their debut album, the group dissolved. CPO Boss Hogg went to have a solo career, featuring on high-profile albums of N.W.A, Dr. Dre and 2Pac, while DJ Train stayed with Patterson.

In 1993, Patterson introduced a new group called The Whole Click. The group featured Patterson's longtime collabrotar Bigg Rocc, Grinch, Bone and Patterson's brother Juvenile. The group first appeared on Patterson's debut album Shock of the Hour. The collective later split up. Bigg Rocc continued to collaborate with Patterson, featuring him on all his solo albums.

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 to rap this verse on the track. He appeared on the posse cut "Some L.A. Niggaz" from Dr. Dre's 2001 album.

His 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."

In April 2016, Patterson reunited with the former members of N.W.A at Coachella to make music.[11]

In July 2017, Patterson tweeted that he was still working on his Rebel Music EP, and that it wouldn't have any feature.[12]

Other ventures[edit]

Film career[edit]

John Singleton, the director of Boyz n the Hood, claimed that the whole group of N.W.A was supposed to be cast for the main roles for the movie.[citation needed] However, only Ice Cube appeared in the movie.

In 1992, Patterson was offered the role for A-Wax in Menace II Society. Despite accepting the role, Patterson later changed his mind and the role was given to MC Eiht.[13]

In 2004, Patterson released the straight-to-DVD film Lost in the Game. The movie was produced, written and directed by Patterson, with Playboy T assisting. It was an independent movie released by Patterson's company Villain.

Patterson was portrayed by Aldis Hodge in the 2015 N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton.

Personal life[edit]

In June 1993, he married Yaasamen Alaa, with whom he has five children. His oldest son, Anthony, is an aspiring rapper under the name "Waxxie", and has collaborated with other sons of N.W.A members.

In April 1993, Patterson began attending a mosque, and by July he was a fully registered member of the Nation of Islam, known as Lorenzo X. Two years later he left the organization and converted to Sunni Islam.[14]

Artistry[edit]

Influences[edit]

Patterson stated that KRS-One, Chuck D, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and Run-DMC are his biggest influences.[15] MC Ren also stated Boogie Down Productions Criminal Minded as his all time favorite hip-hop album.[16]

Musical style[edit]

Together with N.W.A., Patterson popularized the subgenre of the Gangsta rap and West Coast Hip Hop while also being credited by many as one of the seminal groups in the history of hip hop music. He also endured controversy due to his music's explicit lyrics that many viewed as being disrespectful of women, as well as its glorification of drugs and crime.

Patterson is noted as a proficient lyricist and storyteller and is regarded for his honesty, as he often includes his political views in his music. Most of his lyrics focus on controversial issues in global politics. The views expressed in his lyrics are largely commentary on issues such as class struggle, socialism, poverty, religion, government, imperialism and institutional racism.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Collaboration albums[edit]

Extended plays[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Films
Year Title Role Notes
1993 Niggaz4Life: The Only Home Video Himself Documentary
2000 Up In Smoke Tour Himself Concert Film
2005 Lost in the Game The Vill Main Role

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Child, Ben (August 18, 2015). "MC Ren praises Straight Outta Compton but laments lesser role in NWA biopic". The Guardian. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "MC Ren - Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  3. ^ https://twitter.com/realmcren/status/742685240087318529
  4. ^ Raider, Tusken (December 7, 2007). "29 MC Ren interview 1 Hip Hop Connection February 1994 NO.60.jpg | Flickr – Photo Sharing!". Flickr. Retrieved August 14, 2015.
  5. ^ Raider, Tusken (December 7, 2007). "41 MC Ren interview 1 The Source February 1994 NO.53". Flickr. Retrieved August 14, 2015.
  6. ^ Westhoff, Ben (June 16, 2014). "MC Ren Comes Out Swinging on His New Single". L.A. Weekly. Retrieved August 14, 2015.
  7. ^ "// MC Ren Interview (October 2008) // West Coast News Network //". Dubcnn.com. Retrieved August 14, 2015.
  8. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2000). "Dr. Dre – Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved September 22, 2007.
  9. ^ Burgess, Omar (October 26, 2008). "MC Ren: RenIncarnated". Hiphop DX. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
  10. ^ "Shock of the Hour [Ruthless, 1993]". robertchristgau.com/. November 23, 1993. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  11. ^ "N.W.A's Coachella Reunion 'Felt Like Old Times,' MC Ren Says".
  12. ^ Patterson, Lorenzo (July 8, 2017). "Twitter Status". Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  13. ^ "MC Eiht Praises Kendrick Lamar, Recalls DJ Quik's "Clever Line," And 2Pac's "Menace II Society" Days". hiphopdx.com. January 30, 2013. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  14. ^ Burgess, Omar (October 25, 2008). "MC Ren: RenIncarnated". HipHop DX. Retrieved May 21, 2011.
  15. ^ "MC Ren Confirms "Gangsta Rap" Label Began With N.W.A Newspaper Article". HipHopDX. May 22, 2014.
  16. ^ "MC Ren on Boogie Down Productions' "Criminal Minded" | BEST ALBUMS | Episode 36". YouTube. April 2, 2017.

External links[edit]