Birth name – Andre Louis Hicks
Born – July 5, 1970
Oakland, California, U.S.
Origin – San Francisco Bay Area, California, U.S. Vallejo, California, U.S.
Died – November 1, 2004 (aged 34)
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Genres – Hip hop, West Coast hip hop, Hyphy, G-Funk, Gangsta Rap
Occupations – Rapper, record producer, screenwriter
Years active – 1988–1993; 1997–2004
Labels – Thizz Entertainment
Associated acts – Andre Nickatina, E-40, Keak da Sneak, Husalah, B-Legit, San Quinn, Yukmouth, PSD, Mac Mall, Richie Rich, Smoov-E (aka Eli Meltzer), Too Short
Andre Louis Hicks (July 5, 1970 – November 1, 2004), better known by his stage name Mac Dre, was an American rapper, and the initial founder of Thizz Entertainment, and the now defunct Romp Productions.
Early Life & Career
Andre Louis Hicks was born in Oakland, California on July 5, 1970 and moved to Vallejo at a young age. He grew up in Vallejo, in the Crestside neighborhood, for the greater part of his life he attended Peoples High school in Vallejo. He reflects back on his childhood and states, “Situations came out for the better most of them, I went through the little trials and the shit that I went through.”  He went through life’s trials to further figure out his true calling within the rap business. His father wasn’t a prominent figure within his life, he states that, “My father was a thug, like I am.” He credits his mother for taking the responsibility in his upbringing and teaching him to never forget his own sense of identity. Hicks wasn’t always a rapper and had a rough childhood growing up in the crestside neighborhood and started out ‘hustling’, the selling and distribution of narcotics. Hicks began his rap career under the name ‘MC Dre’, however at the age of 15 he would go on to change his name to ‘Mac Dre’, due to the fact ‘MC’ name was more typical of East coast rappers, and that ‘Mac’ was more suited to the West coast rap scene.
Mac Dre recorded his first three albums between 1989 and 1991. In 1992 Mac Dre was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and was sentenced to 5 years in federal prison after he refused the deal the police had offered him, which was informing law enforcement about his partners. Subsequently, Hicks wasn’t released from prison until 1997. At the time Hicks owned the record label, Romp Productions. His many references to “Romper Room” in his songs, bore a similarity the “Romper Room Gang”, a group of robbers who had been victimizing banks and pizza parlors in Vallejo. Following allegations by authorities about his membership in the gang, Hicks was sentenced to a further five years in prison. He again refused a deal offered by law enforcement authorities that would have required him to inform on other gang members.
Hicks was going back and forth between the Bay Area and Fresno because he was promoting himself and entertaining his fans with shows. As Hicks was heading home to the Bay Area from Fresno, he was intercepted by several FBI agents and Law Enforcement officials for assumed affiliation with an attempted bank robbery that had taken place in Fresno. Hicks stated in an interview that, “They said that earlier that morning we was riding around looking at banks, but I was just at the motel asleep, by myself, no crime was ever committed”. Hicks further said, “No bank was robbed, no bank was entered, no bank was nothing”. Hicks labeled his jail sentence as a “conspiracy” because he felt there was no credible evidence presented against him with his involvement in bank robberies. He was then arraigned, and incarcerated within Lompoc. In prison, Hicks gained some notoriety by recording the lyrics to songs directly over the Fresno County Jail and Lompoc United States Penitentiary inmate telephone. His album Young Black Brotha, was a result of such efforts, all while Hicks was still imprisoned. A later album, Back ‘N Da Hood, was also made up of these prison-recorded songs. While in Lompoc, Mac Dre would go on to obtain his G.E.D, he stated that, “I had nothing else to do, I had to go back and get mine”.
During his time in prison, “Mac Dre Presents: The Rompalation” was released in 1996. After his release from prison in 1997, he recorded his second album Stupid Doo Doo Dumb. It was released April 28, 1998. Following those albums, Hicks met with Executive Producer Bernard Gourley and recorded the album Rapper Gone Bad with production help from Tone Cappone, Lev Berlak, and Warren G. This started a new beginning for Hicks as he began to release albums steadily, building a huge catalog of music recorded at The Grill Studios in Oakland in 2000. Hicks’s audience was growing, and mainstream hip-hop stations were beginning to give Hicks’s music more airtime. Hicks relocated to Sacramento, California in 2001, where he founded the label, Thizz Entertainment.
He worked with well-known artists such as J-Diggs Keak da Sneak, E-40, B-Legit, Brotha Lynch Hung, Dubee,Mistah F.A.B.,Rydah J. Klyde,Richie Rich,Lil RicSan Quinn, Mars, Yukmouth, PSD, Andre Nickatina, Mac Mall, Smoov-E (aka Eli Meltzer), Messy Marv, and Too Short. He also provided an uncredited hook to the track “Gotta Survive” from Young Lay’s Black ‘N Dangerous album that featured 2Pac.
On November 1, 2004, Hicks was a passenger in a vehicle driving on a freeway in Kansas City, Missouri when an unknown assailant began shooting at the vehicle Hicks was occupying. The driver crashed and was able to get to a phone to call 911 but Hicks was pronounced dead at the scene from a bullet wound, there have also been no leads as to who the perpetrator was; and the case currently remains unsolved. He was buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland. In 2006, his tombstone was stolen from the cemetery.
Influence and legacy
Hicks became an iconic figure in the hip hop scene, of which he has also been credited for creating the “hyphy movement” by Bay Area hip hop artists such as E-40, who also paid respect to Hicks in the 2006 music video for Tell Me When to Go, and on the intro to the remix of the same song says, “R.I.P. Mac Dre, Dre you supposed to be on this one baby”. Hicks was an innovator to the rap movement in the Bay Area, which he offered a unique sound dubbed ‘Thizz’.
Main article: Mac Dre discography
1989: Young Black Brotha EP
1991: California Livin EP
1992: What’s Really Going On? EP
1992: Back N Da Hood EP
1993: Young Black Brotha: The Album
1998: Stupid Doo Doo Dumb
1999: Rapper Gone Bad (Re-Issued in 2004)
2000: Heart of a Gangsta, Mind of a Hustla, Tongue of a Pimp (Re-Issued in 2003)
2001: Mac Dre’s the Name
2001: It’s Not What You Say… It’s How You Say It
2002: Thizzelle Washington
2003: Al Boo Boo
2004: Ronald Dregan: Dreganomics
2004: The Genie of the Lamp
2004: The Game Is Thick, Vol. 2
2007: Pill Clinton
2008: Dre Day: July 5th 1970
1989: Young Black Brotha
1991: California Livin’
1992: What’s Really Going On
1992: Back n da Hood
Compilations2002: The Best of Mac Dre
2004: The Best of Mac Dre II
2006: The Best of Mac Dre Vol. 3
2008: The Best of Mac Dre Vol. 4
2010: The Best of Mac Dre Vol. 5
2001: Turf Buccaneers (with Cutthroat Committee)
2005: Money iz Motive (with Cutthroat Committee)
2005: Da U.S. Open (with Mac Mall)
2005: 15 Years Deep (with Da’unda’dogg)
2007: DreDiggs: Me & My Cuddie (with J-Diggs)
2007: Everybody Ain’t Able (with Jay Tee)
2008: A Tale of Two Andres (with
2009: Maccin’ & Doggin’ (with Da’unda’dogg)
2010: Tha Furly Ghost Vol. 2 (with Dubee)
2010: Tha Furly Ghost Vol. 3 (with Husalah)
Red Everything Movement