MC Eiht Explains Why He Worked With Kendrick Lamar On ‘Good Kid, MAAD City’

On the latest episode of People’s Party With Talib Kweli, Compton rapper MC Eiht drops by to reflect on his nearly thirty-year career in hip-hop, from gang banging on the streets of LA to featuring in the seminal John Singleton film Menace II Society to appearing on Kendrick Lamar’s outstanding debut, Good Kid, MAAD City.

As the Compton’s Most Wanted member reminisces on his involvement with the film Menace II Society, Kweli comments on the significance of Eiht’s iconic “Wake your punk ass up” ad-lib on “Streiht Up Menace,” the film’s unofficial theme song. This leads to Eiht explaining how he wound up on Kendrick Lamar’s debut album 20 years later, using the same ad-lib to narrate a story so similar to the one of the film that introduced him to the world.

“I felt like people weren’t understanding or wasn’t getting why we, as young Black men, was in the predicaments we were in,” he says. “When I came up with ‘Growin’ Up In The Hood’ or ‘Streiht Up Menace’ or even Kendrick, I felt like with Kendrick, he still wanted to remind people that ‘Y’all need to stay woke.'” His ad-lib was a way to tie the two men’s stories together and show that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Elsewhere in the interview, Eiht reveals that Tupac was originally cast for a pivotal role in Menace before getting fired and how Eiht himself ended up voicing a character in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Watch the full interview in the video above.

People’s Party is a weekly interview show hosted by Talib Kweli with big-name guests exploring hip-hop, culture, and politics. Subscribe via Apple, Spotify, or YouTube.