Hugh E MC
29 February 2012
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Hugh, please introduce yourself to our worldwide audience, tell us where your are from and where you live these days.
[ Hugh E MC ] : I am the OG Frisco Legend Hugh E MC... for those who don't know me. Many know the hit song "Keep A Bitch Broke" (the official name of the song is "The H-Niggaz Grove") which was my biggest hit to date. I stay in what the young cats call Downtown Fillmoe these days.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : What was it like growing up in SFC back in the days? How would you compare the streets of San Francisco from back in the days and the ones we have today? Where are the biggest diversions?
[ Hugh E MC ] : The streets of Frisco have changed a lot. I think my generation was the last generation to get that real "goodtimes" type of family love. Most of us did not grow up in homes with parents on crack or if our parents got hooked on crack we were already preteens or teens. That makes a big difference. Since that was the case we respected our elders more so we received mentorship from the older generation. I hustled so well and put my gangster down so smooth, because I had OG mentors who schooled me. Today most of the OGs are smoked out and the ones that try to give the YGs game are ignored, because all the youngsters know older folk for is being on dope... Who's gonna respect a dope fiend? Who's gonna respect a person who disrespects oneself? Today most kids in the hood got parents that fuck with some kind of dope. There has been murders and gun play in Frisco for decades now. Things really escalated once crack hit the streets back in the 80's. That's when I was banging, the 80's and 90's.
Back in the day you had more of a code on the streets. Today cats can shoot your momma, ya kid or anybody if they cant get you. Back in the day if we saw you with your momma you got a pass, or if a baby was in the way we would get at you later. Also the streets is full of snitches today. Muthafuckaz will sell you out quick. Another sad thing is the divisions we have in the hoods. The whole uptown downtown thing in Fillmoe is crazy to me. I banged for the whole Fillmoe back in the day, we were united. The 1st hood I saw break up and start beefing amongst themselves was Sunnydale or the Swampy Desert as I like to call it. The whole up the Hill Down, the Hill Thing. Then Hunter's Point sets that were united began beefing with each other. I'm from the whole HP, Fillmoe beef era and man all of HP was united from Hollister to 3rd, from Oakdale to Harbor... one big ass set. Shit is crazy. Too many punks with pistols... I'm old enough to remember, in Fillmoe, even if you had a gun when you feel out with another Fillmoelian you put the pistol down and chunked'em from the shoulders. I won some and lost some to cats way bigger than me... cats I probably should've shot but I stuck to the code and knuckled'em up. It seems a lot cats today are scared to fist fight.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : You were one of the pioneers of Bay Area rap game, so who was before you? Who were your rap mentors / idols?
[ Hugh E MC ] : I always shout out the Frisco Kid. I think he was from Lakeview. He was the 1st Frisco rapper to be on major radio. Rag Top productions and Davey D-Jam put out the 1st record I know of in Frisco. Many people place me and Too Short in the same school but actually he is my OG and I modeled my record company and rap style after "75 Girls" & Too Short. I soon started selling tapes around the hood after I heard Too Short's "Invasion Of The Flat Booty Bitches" and "Blow Job Betty" on tape. I've always stove to be a lyricist. Being able to kick lyrics on a high end level has always been important to me, so I studied Rakim, LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane and other high caliber MCs. The only rappers I can say I truly "idolize" are Run DMC. My name - Hugh E MC - is a take off of Run DMC. A lot of people don't know I wear glasses and my homie Stace (RIP) used to tease me and call me Huey MC like DMC who wears glasses too. The name stuck and yo here you are.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Elaborate on the very first of your rap experiences.
[ Hugh E MC ] : When I heard "Rapper's Delight" I was sprung. I was about 6 or 7 and man, I started trying to write rhymes then. I was mad shy so I never really would spit for people but loving music I became a DJ. I used to DJ for other MCs like my folks MC Snook (RIP). Years later I spit a rhyme for the homies about another homie Lil Wood going to CYA. When cats liked it I was like "OK man I can do this". Around this time I started hustling and instead of buying gold and cars I bought beat machines, mics and 4-track recorders and eventually saved up enough money to start a small record company. DJ Mind Motion's older brother Raul helped me order my 1st vinyl record "It's The Game". I got a lot of stories from back in the day like how me and my homie Sunny Boy stop some cats from Sunnydale from robbing Tupac at the Townsend club in Frisco... mad stories Mac Dre RIP too, both them brothers. I knew Dre well; wish I could've known Pac better.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Tell us about working with DJ-X1 aka DJ Rock and your debut recordings with him.
[ Hugh E MC ] : I originally sought out DJ-X1, who then was going by the name of Scratch Master T, to add some East Coast hip-hop flavor into my production. Songs like "Keep A Bitch Broke" were all my production but "Gangsta Matic", "My Poetry" and others were co-produced with DJ-X1. You can hear the influence. The drums and samples added that grimy hip-hop sound to the music. And of course the scratching... phenomenal.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Late 80's and early 90's brought a couple of your singles and EP's. Are any of your early recordings available in cd format or digital version?
[ Hugh E MC ] : You can get my LP "The Collection" on CDBaby.com and at Rasputin and Ameoba. I will re-release the classics soon and make them available to all. You can hear most of them on my MySpace and ReverbNation pages.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : What could fans hear on "The Collection" project?
[ Hugh E MC ] : "The Collection" is a complication of the "Gangsta Matic" EP and most of "The Mob" LP. The hits like "H-Niggaz Groove" ("Keep A Bitch Broke") and "Da Tru Flow (remix)" are on there.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : And what about "Da Bay Area Originatorz" that you dropped with DJ-X1 not that long ago? Is there any new material?
[ Hugh E MC ] : "Da Bay Area Originatotrz" is all new material. Most of the production is my own with a few tracks produced by Sticky Mac, D-Wiz, L7 and LA's THX. It's on iTunes now and hard copies will be available in March.
It's a double LP for the price of a regular LP. The 2nd disc is in a mixtape format done by DJ-X1.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : How would you describe your music style? Would you label yourself as an oldshool vet or do you adapt to the game as it changes?
[ Hugh E MC ] : I call my style Gangsta-Scientism. I drop knowledge on a grimy street level. I've always grown as an MC. I like writing to the beat so I can adapt my flow to the feel of the music. I am most definitely an old school vet, but a lot of my styles are far different than the "Keep A Bitch Broke" flow I'm known for. I point out to cats on the "Gangsta Matic" EP I spit 4 different flows on that one EP. I also listen to my fans and other MC peers. If somebody tells you something more than once or you hear the same thing from more than one person you need to pay attention to it. Many MCs are arrogant or just stubborn and can't take constructive criticism. I listen if the fan base I'm trying to reach says "Huey, you should do this" or "We wanna hear that". Now if a 50 year old jazz lover says my lyrics are wack I don't give it so much weight... They're not buying or listening to hip-hop anyway. My new flows are received well by the youngsters. The youngsters know little about me, they didn't grow up on me so when I spit they just hear a new tight flow, but the fans and peers who grew up on me were always like "Man, Huey, we wanna hear that 'Keep A Bitch Broke' type of shit" so I had to listen and compromise, so on songs like "Switch Gearz", "I'm So Fly" and others I stuck with my older style, but on tracks like "Thug Dicipile", "Can't Tell Me I'm Wrong", "Pimp Tight" and others I display some of my newer flows. On tracks like "Waterloo" I feel I find a middle ground between the old and new. The point is that I listened to my fans and I was able to take constructive criticism, plus I study the masters such as Rakim, Big Daddy, Cool G, DOC, LL and others. I constantly strive to be a better MC.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : What do you think about the contemporary northern California rap music? Do you feel these hyphy / cosmic / techno / pop add-ons that appear in rap nowadays? Do you justify such drastic changes?
[ Hugh E MC ] : I wish the industry didn't hate on Nor Cal and the Bay so much. I wish the Bay got more love from radio. I know at least two artists who have been signed by majors recently and I want to see what becomes of it. As of late when Bay Area artist get signed it's like they get shelved. That and a combination of bad promotion... It seems the majors shelve our artists once they get signed. LoveRance and Kreashawn should be platinum. On BET I saw a video by a Rap / R&B trio named the OMG Girls with a song called "Gucci This, Gucci That"... The video was 100 times better and the track was better produced than Kreashawn's "Gucci, Gucci". The thing is, is that we know they bit Kreashawn's songs. OMG Girls seem to have a better promotion and overall team behind them. This is the level we need to take our game in the Bay. We need a platinum level artist in the Bay. We need a Jay-Z or a Lil Wayne. Too Short is probably our only platinum level artist. E-40's been holding it down, but we need somebody that will captivate the nation the way Tupac, Hammer, Digital did and Too Short do.
I like good music. If it's good I don't care if they use more synthesizers than a flock of sea gulls. We need to develop a better marketing and promotion program outside the Bay. Back in my day independent groups like Totally Insane sold 80 to 100 thousands. A lot of those sales came from Down South and now the South has its own scene, so we don't have that market on lock anymore. We need to develop our own market better. As for the music we need to stay grounded in what's "good". Just because you use a 3G keyboard to make the beat, doesn't make the track hot. We need to keep making good music and not get lost in the hype (no pun intended).
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Name the most solid rappers out of your city.
[ Hugh E MC ] : As for the most solid rappers I know from Frisco I got to say San Quinn. That's a real solid cat right there. Big Rich has been keeping the torch lit for Fillmoe and the Bay as well. Boo Banga, Homewrecka, Cold Blood them some real niggaz right there and I'm glad to see Don Toriano making his comeback. I got a lot of love for Messy, he's one of the most talented rappers in the Bay right now and I'd like to see a lot of the drama resolved.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Tell us about your plans for the nearby future. Do you plan to conquer the Bay Area scene with some new material?
[ Hugh E MC ] : I love this music of hip-hop. I will continue to do good, hopefully great hip-hop to all my fans until I leave this planet. My future plans are to distribute this "Da Bay Area Originatorz" double LP, push my "Cipher 9" mixtape, which is available for free download or free hard copies to anyone who sees me on the block or via snail mail... just send me your mailing address. I will start production on my next LP and a co-LP release with my folks Cold Blood The Great. I'm also lining up young talent such as Mar-B the producer for a future LP, that I'ma release the name of in the future. I simply want to see the Bay taken to the next level. I know I got what it takes to be a platinum level artist. If I can't achieve that goal personally I will do my best to groom young talent to take that baton up and cross the finish line.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Anything else you'd like to add - please feel free to do so.
[ Hugh E MC ] : I drop a lot of game and wisdom in my music and on this latest release on my "Hip-Hop 101" interludes me and DJ-X1 s/o many of the known and lesser known Bay Area pioneers. For the OGs that want to be reminded of good Bay music and the youngsters who want to know their history it's a must. So everyone rush that "Da Bay Area Originatorz" double LP on iTunes for $9.99. If you don't have "The Collection" cop it on CDBaby.com and follow me on Twitter @HughEMC and on Facebook for free downloads of my music. I'm also serving up 16's for $250 and chorus for $150 - playa prices, so get with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'd like to also say I feel every rapper has an obligation to make at least one track on his or her LP that is positive and / or drops some real life game. Not every song has to be on some Public Enemy hype but just one track mayne. On every other track do what ever you do, but on that one put a positive message out there.
As I've said I'm on Twitter and Facebook daily so holla at me ya'll... Shalom, A-Salaam-Wa-Lakim, Hotep. Peace