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Mac Dre Biography

Mac Dre Biography

Andre Hicks (July 5, 1970 November 1, 2004), better known by his stage name, Mac Dre, was a San Francisco Bay Area-based gangsta rapper from Vallejo, California. He is considered one of the innovators of the hyphy music movement. During his career in the rap world, he worked with artists like Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre's step brother Warren G, Kokane, Da'unda'dogg, Mistah F.A.B., MC Hammer, Mac Mall, San Quinn, E-40, Too $hort, Yukmouth, Andre Nickatina, Ray Luv, and Keak Da Sneak. He also provided an uncredited hook to the track "Gotta Survive" off of Young Lay's Black N' Dangerous album, a track which featured Tupac Shakur.

Mac Dre was born in Oakland, California. As a child, Hicks was moved to and raised in Vallejo by his mother to remove them from the dangers of Oakland. His lyrics were largely based on his neighborhood known by those around him as "The Crest", short for Country Club Crest. His music gained popularity in the early to mid 1990s throughout the Bay Area, eventually receiving national recognition through his independent record labels Romp and Thizz Entertainment. During his music career, he released many hit singles, such as "Too Hard for the Fuckin' Radio", and more recently "Feelin' Myself". His music continues to be released posthumously. He was the creator of the "Thizzle Dance", a popular dance which holds no specific standard. Hardship and controversy were staples of Mac Dre's career. After recording his first three albums between 1989 and 1991, Mac Dre was charged with conspiracy to commit bank robbery. His record label, Romp Productions, and his many references to "Romper Room" in his songs, coincided with a Vallejo robbery gang of the time calling themselves the "Romper Room Gang" and responsible for the robberies of many area banks and pizza parlours. The Robberies even had small segment on the television show Unsolved Mysteries. Hicks was alleged to be a member of the gang which also included Bay Rapper J-Diggs. Hicks was sentenced to five years in prison in 1992. In prison, Hicks gained some notoriety by recording the lyrics to songs directly over the Fresno County jail inmate telephone. His album, Young Black Brotha, was a result of such efforts, as well as guest appearances on fellow artists' songs, all while Hicks was still imprisoned. A later album, Back 'N Da Hood, was also made up of these prison-recorded songs. While recording in prison, Mac gained respect. After his release from prison in 1996, Mac Dre began releasing albums steadily, building pace in the early 21st century. Mac Dre's audience was growing, and mainstream hip-hop stations were beginning to give Hicks' music more airtime. Hicks relocated to Sacramento, California in 2001, where he began a label, Thizz Entertainment. A notorious ecstasy enthusiast, he is credited with coining the slang verb to thizz, which refers to the state of being high on the drug. He is the foremost precursor of the current Hyphy movement, a hip hop subculture based around ecstasy use, club drugs, and "feel good" music in general. He is also recognized as part of the Thizz Movement, which is very similar to the Hyphy movement. Other Thizz Movement rappers include Mistah FAB, Johnny Ca$h, and Haji Springer who are all signed to Thizz Entertainment.

On November 1, 2004, Returning to Kansas City, Missouri. A car pulled up next to the white van carrying Dre. Though it is not known whether words were exchanged, the ordeal ended in bloodshed. The van swerved off the road and into a ravine where it ran into a tree. Mac Dre apparently died from a gunshot wound to the back of the neck by Nasir Siddiqui, although he was thrown from the vehicle and wasn't found immediately after the accident. In 2005 due to a large amount of suspicion, Kansas City rapper Anthony "Fat Tone" Watkins was murdered in Las Vegas, allegedly by Bay Area rapper and Dre's good friend Mac Minister, in retaliation for Hicks' death. The body of a prostitute, 21-year-old Lee Danae Laursen, was found in Fairfield, CA in November 2005; Laursen had been in the company of Mac Minister (Andre Dow) and Jason Mathis in Las Vegas when Watkins was murdered. In March 2006, Dow was arrested by FBI officials and both Dow and Mathis were indicted on murder charges in the Watkins murder. Some in the rap community initially suspected the March 2007 shooting death of Johnny Cash (Johnny Castaneda, a/k/a "The Fast Gunna") to be related to the Mac Dre killing; however, officials attributed Castaneda's death to unrelated "street violence". On the weekend of the August 26, 2006, Hicks' tombstone was stolen from his final resting place at the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California. AP.9, a rapper who was close to Hicks offered a $10,000 reward out of his own pocket for anyone who had any information on the location of the tombstone. AP.9 stated that he believed the theft had nothing to do with Hicks murder. The tombstone has since been replaced.

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