15 Years After Mac Dre's Murder, Popularity Of Beloved Bay Area Rapper Continues To Grow [includes Mac Dre Top 10 Amoeba Guide]

Posted by Billyjam, November 1, 2019 09:01am | Post a Comment
Mac Dre Ronald Dregan: Dreganomics 2LP reissued on vinyl by Thizz Nation example
of the ever-growing wave of interest in the rapper who was murdered 15 years ago on
November 1st 2004, just 3 & a half months after the release of this album.

Today, November 1st, 2019 marks the 15th anniversary of the murder of beloved Bay Area rapper Mac Dre who, a full decade and a half after his tragic demise, is far from fading from memory. Instead the charismatic super-talented  rapper born Andre Hicks, whose career began in the 80’s and who at the end of the following decade was leading the charge as one of the chief ambassadors of the Bay Area’s blossoming, hyphy movement, has exponentially grown in popularity with each passing year since his 2004 murder. Today Mac Dre (an artist under appreciated in his lifetime) is widely viewed as an iconic figure in hip-hop history. He ranks up there along with  2Pac and J-Dilla; two other hip-hop greats taken too young from this world while in the prime of their careers.

While most hip-hop artists who stopped recording fifteen years ago are long forgotten Mac Dre continues to grow in popularity with a whole new generation discovering him. This is partly thanks to his true talent, the Thizz Nation keeping his legacy alive, and the shine he’s gotten from such high-profile admirers as Drake whose love for Mac Dre (and the Bay) can be traced back to late 2011 with the release of Take Care  featuring the incredibly popular song "The Motto (feat Lil Wayne & Tyga).”

The accompanying video for this song was filmed all over the the Bay Area and that included shots of such local landmarks as Bay Bridge and Amoeba Music (San Francisco). It also included fellow Vallejo rap star E-40 and Mac Dre’s surviving mother Wanda Salvatto who appeared at the beginning of the video.  Also known as Mac Wanda, the rapper's mother has long been instrumental in keeping her son’s legacy alive and prosperous via such things as overseeing the annual Mac Dre Day celebrations that takes place in various cities on the anniversary of his July 5th birthday.

Released 3 weeks after his murder Best of Mac Dre Vol. 2 (Thizz) is among the numerous compilations tracing the artist's rich career - and are excellent collections for those just discovering the artist.

Born in 1970, if he were alive today Mac Dre would be 49 years of age. Aged 34 back on November 1st, 2004 on that fatal day his life came to a screeching halt out of state doing doing concerts, Mac Dre was shot and killed in Kansas City, Missouri after a car pulled alongside the van he was in and fired several shots. Right afterwards driver of the van with Mac Dre and others in it crossed over into the southbound lanes of the highway before crashing into a ravine.

By the time medical help arrived on the scene Mac Dre was dead from a single bullet wound. Infuriatingly frustrating is the fact that, much like the 2002 murder of Jam Master Jay, Mac Dre’s murder remains unsolved.

Mac Dre's tragically premature death begs the question; what would he have gone on to do in his career were he allowed to live? Knowing how incredibly creative and prolific he was in life (EG: he released 3 albums in 2004 up until just three weeks before his murder) Mac Dre would have have likely recorded and released a few dozen albums, not to mention numerous Treal TV episodes by 2019. Undoubtedly the savvy artist would also have embraced and mastered social media. More importantly if Mac Dre were alive today he would be the major music star that he deserved to be in his lifetime.

Meanwhile we are left with a deep back-catalog of Mac Dre titles that, along with the albums released during his lifetime, also include many posthumous collections and remixes, plus countless Thizz Nation releases that simply carry his name while showcasing other related acts. 

Below is Top Ten chart of Mac Dre titles currently available from Amoeba. Note that many of the rapper's popular albums are out of print and hence omitted from this list that is followed by an overview of the ten Mac Dre releases on the chart. 
Top Ten Mac Dre Titles Currently Available @ Amoeba Music

#1: Mac Dre Ronald Dregan: Dreganomics 2LP (Thizz Nation)

#2: Mac Dre Thizzelle Washington (Thizz Ent.)

#3: Mac Dre Young Black Brotha - The Album (Strictly Business)

#4: Mac Dre What’s Really Going On? (Strictly Business)

#5: Mac Dre Genie of the Lamp (Thizz Ent)

#6: Mac Dre Best of Mac Dre  (Thizz Ent) 2002

#7: Mac Dre Best of Mac Dre Vol 2 (Thizz Ent) 2004

#8: Mac Dre
Tha Best Of Mac Dre, Vol. 3 (Thizz)

#9: Mac Dre Musical Life of Mac Dre Vol 2 (Young Black Brother)

#10: Mac Dre Dre Day July 5 1970 (Thizz Nation)

There are many gaps in this chart that was compiled based on availability from Amoeba currently. With so many Mac Dre releases out of print, this list comprises only of the Mac Dre releases currently in stock at Amoeba. Hence why such classics as Rapper Gone Bad, Stupid Doo Doo Dumb, Da US Open and The Rompilation collection are noticeably absent. However the many “Best of Mac Dre” collections (included here) somewhat compensate for that; and are must-gets for thos just now catching up on the artist's body of work. An example is the 2CD Tha Best Of Mac Dre, Vol. 3  whose 33 tracks include “Dreganomics” “Da Mac Named Dre” and “Genie Of The Lamp.”

From a hip-hop historical perspective Mac Dre's back catalog can be divided into two distinct eras; the early Young Black Brotha/Strictly Business years with producer Khayree that lasted up until his incarceration in the early 90’s (and even into some of his years behind bars with music recorded over the phone), and the next era that began after his release from prison in late nighties and lasted up until death in late 2004. This latter (more popular) phase of Mac Dre’s music can be further sub-divided into two distinct rap musical categories; mob/street rap and Hyphy. 

Topped by the recently vinyl reissued Ronald Dregan: Dreganomics 2LP (inc. "Feelin Myself" & "Get Stupid") this top ten includes the 2002 released Thizzelle Washington: a timeless classic and influential release that includes such popular tracks as the breakout hit “Thizzle Dance,” “The Mac Named Dre” and “4 Myself (feat. Dubee & Devious).” Not an album but a six track EP What’s Really Going On?  (inc. the popular "California Livin Remix" and the controversial "Punk Police") on Strictly Business is from the early era of Mac Dre's career as is  Young Black Brotha - The Album (Strictly Business) and Musical Life of Mac Dre Vol 2 (Young Black Brother) in the posthumously released three volume series that compile songs from the Strictly Business Records years ,1992-1995, produced by Khayree.

The other Thizz best of compilations also overlap on some of these releases. Meanwhile Dre Day July 5 1970 (Hicks’ birth date) is a posthumous album that goes back into the vaults to rework and remix a stack of Mac Dre classics, even adding in new guest verses on some.  For a better more indepth look at Mac Dre's discography go to Mac Dre's 3-page list of releases at the Amoeba online store.

Rest In Beats Mac Dre [1970 -2004]

Relevant Tags

Mac Dre Unsolved Murder (1), Mac Dre (35), Thizzle (1), Thizz (4), Bay Area Hip-hop (37), Mac Dre Anniversary (1), Mac Dre Day (2)