The Villain in Black

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The Villain in Black
MC Ren - The Villain in Black.jpg
Studio album by MC Ren
Released April 9, 1996 (1996-04-09)
Recorded 1994–1996
Genre Gangsta rap, G-funk, Political hip hop
Length 45:09
Producer Executive producers
Additional producers
MC Ren chronology
Shock of the Hour
(1993)Shock of the Hour1993
The Villain in Black
Ruthless for Life
(1998)Ruthless for Life1998

The Villain in Black is the second album by rapper MC Ren, released April 9, 1996, on Ruthless Records and distributed by Relativity Records.


After the release and success of his critically acclaimed debut studio album Shock of the Hour in late 1993, MC Ren immediately began working on his sophomore album. The deaths of DJ Train and Eazy-E would however prove to be a huge setback and Ren stepped off the scene for a while. Meanwhile, he continued his work with the Nation of Islam, and visited Egypt in mid-1995. Following his return from Egypt, MC Ren continued to work on his album, this time however scrapping all the material he recorded with DJ Train. Enlisting Cold 187um and Dr. Jam to produce his album, Ren began recording new material that didn't deviate from clichéd G-funk grooves.



While making The Villain in Black, MC Ren was closely affiliated with the Nation of Islam, which had a large impact on the some parts of the album's content. Khalid Muhammad appeared in the track "Muhammad Speaks," where he spoke about the history of the rights of African-Americans. He also made an appearance on the closing track "Bring It On".


The majority of the album's production was handled by Cold 187um of Above the Law and Dr. Jam. It also features production by Madness 4 Real and Big Jessie.

Album title[edit]

The album titles is a reference to MC Ren's nickname, The Villain.


Two singles were released from the album: "Mad Scientist" and "Keep It Real".

Release and reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars [1]
Billboard (favorable) [2]
Los Angeles Times 2/4 stars [3]
The Source 3/5 stars [4]
Vibe (favorable) [5]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted number 31 on Billboard 200, with the first-week sales of 31,000 copies.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Producer(s) Length
1. "Bitch Made Nigga Killa" Cold 187um 4:02
2. "Keep It Real" Dr. Jam 4:52
3. "It's Like That" (featuring Bigg Rocc) Cold 187um 4:34
4. "Mad Scientist" Dr. Jam, Madness 4 Real (co.) 4:22
5. "Live from Compton 'Saturday Night'" (featuring Cold 187um) Cold 187um 5:56
6. "Still the Same Nigga" Jessie "Big Jessie" Willard 5:27
7. "I Don't Give a Damn" Dr. Jam, Madness 4 Real (co.) 3:56
8. "Mind Blown" (featuring Bigg Rocc) Cold 187um 4:42
9. "Great Elephant" Jessie "Big Jessie" Willard 3:45
10. "Muhammed Speaks" (featuring Khalid Muhammad) Cold 187um 1:31
11. "Bring It On" (featuring Above the Law, Triggerman and Khalid Muhammad) Cold 187um 4:42




  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen. "The Villain in Black - MC Ren". Allmusic.
  2. ^ Helson, Havelock. Review: The Villain in Black.
  3. ^ Coker, Cheo Hodari. Review: The Villain in Black.
  4. ^ Gordon, Allen S. MC RenDa Villain in Black.
  5. ^ T-Love. Review: The Villain in Black.