The West Coast gangsta-rap sound of the early '90s is more responsible for rap's current chart domination than any of hip-hop's other variants. Credit Dr. Dre, whose g-funk style still sounds futuristic, but Dre's just part of the picture. More important, gangsta rap, with its tales of drive-bys and high (if lowdown) adventure thrilled suburban white youth who were getting a little tired of being bummed out by Nirvana and Nine Inch Nails. Those kids who loved to imagine themselves as gangstas as they bumped Eazy-E and Ice Cube are the same twentysomethings who are buying up the new Grand Theft Auto game today. (A prediction: When '90s retro-mania hits the country, it will focus on the hip-hop, not Nirvana.)
Which brings us to MC Eiht. He's one of the lesser stars of the gangsta galaxy, better known for his appearance in the seminal gangsta film Menace II Society than for any of his ten albums. Now that MC Eiht appears as a character in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, his career is getting a bit of a boost again. It's a good thing. His laid-back drawl evokes a proto-Snoop feel, and Eiht is a great storyteller, which is one part of the gangsta legacy sorely missing from today's hip-hop. He'll surely have some stories to tell when he drops by The Science Hip-Hop Spin this Friday. Tip your 40 and come on down.