Mac Dre

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Mac Dre
Mac Dre.jpg
Background information
Birth nameAndre Louis Hicks
Born(1970-07-05)July 5, 1970
Oakland, California, U.S.
OriginVallejo, California, U.S.
DiedNovember 1, 2004(2004-11-01) (aged 34)
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
GenresHip hop
West Coast hip hop, gangsta rap (early)
Hyphy (later)
Occupation(s)Rapper, record producer, screenwriter, film director
Years active1984–2004
LabelsThizz Entertainment
Associated actsMac Mall , Juice Lee , Mistah F.A.B , J-Diggs , Keak Da Sneak , Yukmouth

Andre Louis Hicks (July 5, 1970 – November 1, 2004), known by his stage name Mac Dre, was an American rapper, hip hop pioneer, and record producer based in Vallejo, California.[1][2] He was an instrumental figure in the emergence of hyphy, a cultural movement in the Bay Area hip hop scene that emerged in the early 2000s.[3] Hicks is considered one of the movement's key pioneers that fueled its popularity into mainstream, releasing songs with fast-paced rhymes and basslines that inspired a new style of dance.[3] As the founder of the independent record label Thizz Entertainment, Hicks recorded dozens of albums and gave aspiring rappers an outlet to release albums locally.[4]

On November 1, 2004, Hicks was killed by an unknown assailant after a performance in Kansas City, Missouri,[5] a case that remains unsolved.[6]

Early life and career[edit]

Andre Louis Hicks was born in Oakland, California on July 5, 1970 to Allen Hickes and Wanda Salvatto. They then moved to the Vallejo area. He would often frequent the Country Club Crest neighborhood, known locally as The Crest. In 1989, the outgoing Hicks made waves with a cassette tape featuring the single, "Too Hard for the F---in' Radio" while still a student at Vallejo's Hogan High School. NPR noted his 2013 sound as being "fast and confident" further writing that "he built upon the bouncy bass that had its roots in the funk era."[7] When asked about his childhood, Hicks stated that "Situations came out for the better most of them, I went through the little trials and the shit that I went through."[8] Hicks first adopted the stage name MC Dre in 1984, but altered it to Mac Dre the following year because he considered that the name sounded "too East Coast-ish".[9] Hicks recorded his first three EPs as Mac Dre between 1988 and 1992.[1]


The city of Vallejo began experiencing a surge in bank robberies in the early 90s. Vallejo police began focusing on the Crest Neighborhood as a source of the crime. Hicks was vocal about the actions he saw being taken by the police and incorporated their aggressive surveillance of residents into his music. As gangster rap music consistently grew in popularity, law enforcement officials began examining the lyrics of local rappers to utilize as evidence in criminal matters.[10]

On March 26, 1992, at age 21, Hicks was invited by friends to a road trip in Fresno. Hicks had performed in that city two weeks prior and decided to go on the trip so that he could re-visit a woman he knew there. While driving back to Vallejo, the car was circumvented by the FBI, Fresno, and Vallejo police. The police verbalized that while Hicks was at a motel, his friends were allegedly casing a bank but had changed their mind when they saw a local Fresno TV News van in the bank's parking lot.[11] When questioned by the police, Hicks verbalized that he didn't leave the hotel, therefore did not know anything. The police subsequently charged him with conspiracy to commit robbery, although no bank robbery was conducted and Hicks was neither with his friends nor near the location of the purported bank.[12] He was sentenced to five years in federal prison after he refused a plea deal for the conspiracy charge. The trial was later listed among Complex Magazine's 30 Biggest Criminal Trials in Rap History.[13] At the time of his conviction, Hicks owned the record label Romp Productions.[1] Hicks was released a year early from prison for good behavior on August 2, 1996, after serving four years.[1] It was during his time in prison that Hicks developed a "better appreciation for freedom, life, fun."[14]

Post Prison Career[edit]

After his release from Lompoc Prison,[15] Hicks wanted to begin creating music that was easy to dance to. He and longtime friend and fellow rapper Troy Reddick, a.k.a. Da'unda'Dogg, decided to try a different approach. The duo recorded several songs to pitch to major record labels. One song was sent to various West-Coast-based representatives of the well-known Oakland rapper Too Short for an upcoming compilation, Nationwide: Independence Day, but was never selected, and it is unknown if the song ever made it to Too Short.

In 1998, Hicks relocated to the Arden-Arcade area of Sacramento, distancing himself from the eyes of Vallejo law enforcement, founding a new label, Thizz Entertainment, now managed by Hicks' mother Wanda Salvatto.[14] In 2000, Hicks' change in sound became influential in the Hyphy Movement.[14] Hicks continued releasing multiple independent albums until his death. In 2019, Grammy-winning Atlanta rapper and multi-platinum producer Lil Jon, with the blessing of Hicks' mother, would incorporate the same vocals in the single "Ain't No Tellin" and release through Geffen Records.[16] Ironically, Lil Jon's 1998 debut to the Bay Area was through a song on the same Too Short compilation. Reddick, in a statement to Complex Magazine, stated, "Of all the vocals Jon got, he picked some from the record Dre wrote to be released by a major label, and 23 years later Lil Jon has completed his goal!" [16]


After Hicks and other Thizz Entertainment members had performed a show in Kansas City, Missouri on October 31, 2004, an unidentified gunman shot at the group's van as it traveled on U.S. Route 71 in the early morning hours of November 1. The van's driver crashed and called 9-1-1, but Hicks was pronounced dead at the scene from a bullet wound to the neck.[17] It was often rumored that rapper Anthony "Fat Tone" Watkins was responsible for the death of Hicks, but no evidence has ever surfaced and authorities never found the actual suspect that shot him. Watkins was murdered the following year.[18] Upon Hicks's death and at his written direction, his mother, Wanda Salvatto, (affectionally known as "Mac Wanda") became owner and CEO.

His funeral took place on November 9, 2004 at the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church.[19] He was given a public open casket viewing. He was buried at the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland.[20]


Studio albums[edit]

Posthumous studio albums[edit]

Collaboration albums[edit]

  • Supa Sig Tapes with Little Bruce (1990)
  • Turf Buccaneers with Cutthoat Committee (2001)
  • Money iz Motive with Cutthoat Committee (2005)
  • Da U.S. Open with Mac Mall (2005)
  • A Tale of Two Andres with Andre Nickatina (2008)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved March 12, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ sfbg. "San Francisco Bay Guardian - News". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "An Oral History of Hyphy". Complex. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  4. ^ Van Nguyen, Dean (June 2, 2014). "Vallejo rapper Mac Dre pioneered the hyphy movement". WaxPoetics. Wax Poetics, Inc. Retrieved March 17, 2018. But no one touched the Bay area like Vallejo's Mac Dre. Responsible for recording dozens of records, unearthing new local talent, building a rap empire, and pioneering a whole new homegrown counterculture, Mac Dreezy changed the landscape of the Bay Area forever and earned legendary status among Bay Area locals.
  5. ^ "Rapper Mac Dre Killed In Kansas City". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  6. ^ Gray, Madison (2011-09-13). "Top 10 Unsolved Hip-Hop Murders". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  7. ^ Harmanci, Reyhan; Walter, Shoshana. "Federal Drug Case Ensnares The Home of Hyphy". NPR. National Public Radio. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  8. ^ 530NorCal. "Mac Dre - Ghetto Celebrities Pt. 2". Youtube. Retrieved 2013-04-16.[better source needed]
  9. ^ 530NorCal2. "Mac Dre - Ghetto Celebrities Pt. 1". youtube. Retrieved 2013-04-16.[better source needed]
  10. ^ Harmanci, Reyhan; Walter, Shoshana. "Federal Drug Case Ensnares The Home Of Hyphy". NPR. National Public Radio. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  11. ^ Billy, Jam. "Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Mac Dre Details Police Role In His 5 Year Prison Sentence: March 1996 Rare Radio Interview from Lompoc". Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  12. ^ Billy, Jam. "Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: Mac Dre Details Police Role In His 5 Year Prison Sentence: March 1996 Rare Radio Interview from Lompoc". Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  13. ^ Drake, David; Insanul, Ahmed. "The 30 Biggest Criminal Trials in Rap History". Complex. Complex Magazine. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  14. ^ a b c Horowitz, Steven. "An Oral History of Hyphy". Complex. Complex Magazine. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b Shifferaw, Abel. "Lil Jon Shares New Track "Ain't No Tellin'" Featuring Mac Dre". Complex. Complex Magazine. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  17. ^ Bulwa, Demian (2011-06-24). "Rapper Mac Dre slain in Kansas City". SFGate. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  18. ^ Gray, Madison (2011-09-13). "Top 10 Unsolved Hip-Hop Murders - TIME". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2021-02-27.
  19. ^ admin (2004-11-06). "Andre Hicks Obituary - Death Notice and Service Information". Retrieved 2021-02-27.
  20. ^ "Andre Mac-Dre Hicks (1970 - 2004) - Find A Grave Memorial". Retrieved 9 March 2015.