To be honest, 95% of my Mac Dre knowledge wasn’t accumulated until after I got to college and met people from the Bay. And even now, calling myself a huge fan of the NorCal Hip-Hop icon isn’t exactly true. That doesn’t make his story any less captivating, nonetheless.
In this 1992 interview from jail, a then-still confident Dre speaks of the case that landed him there. Having traveled down to Fresno with a group of friends, Dre slept in a motel while the others left to hit a lick at a bank (unbeknownst to Dre). Upon having a change of heart at the eleventh hour due to suspected undercover police presence, the crew turned around, picked Dre up and headed back north.
The story goes, on the return trip the feds pulled them over and charged everyone in the whip with conspiracy to commit robbery. How exactly were the feds so confident? Because one of the passengers in the car was supposedly wired meaning every single word uttered was on tape. Dre ended up being charged with conspiracy, which he later labeled a conspiracy because his long, unflattering history with law enforcement, most notably the song “Punk Police.”
Dre speaks of his case and his hopeful return home in September, but is unaware the next few years of his life would embody what he was doing then – talking over a phone. It was in prison he would later record his Back N Da Hood EP, making him an even bigger and more respected Bay Area legend in the process.
Following his eventual release from prison in 1996, the run Dre would embark upon was nothing short of bewildering. From 1998 to his death in November 2004, Dre’s 10 solo albums supplanted him a place in rap that had those same friends from college often tell me with conviction, “Dre’s better than Jay, better than Nas, better than Eminem. Better than everybody.” And to this day, whenever we speak and the topic of rap arises, their tune doesn’t change either.
He’s not in my book, but to some, in a select part of the country, Mac Dre was the best thing to ever happen to Hip-Hop.