Mac Minister Interview: The Minister Of Defense

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by Alex Shtaerman

After evading authorities for months and at one point eluding police in a high speed chase across the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Area rapper Mac Minister was apprehended by the FBI in March of 2006 shortly after being profiled on the long-running Fox television series America’s Most Wanted. Charged with two murders that police believe to be retaliation killings in connection with the 2004 slaying of Bay Area rap legend Mac Dre, Mac Minister has been extradited to Las Vegas where he is set to stand trial in the shooting deaths of Kansas City rapper Anthony “Fat Tone” Watkins and his friend Jermaine “Cowboy” Atkins. Prior to his death Fat Tone was a person of interest in the murder of Mac Dre, however due to a lack of evidence police weren’t able to make an arrest in the case.

With his trial right around the corner, Mac Minister’s new album, The Minister Of Defense, hits stores September 26th. Featuring an all star supporting cast including guest appearances from Snoop Dogg, Too $hort, B-Legit and the late Mac Dre as well as production from Mannie Fresh and L T Hutton, Mac Minister hopes his album will offer Hip-Hop fans a more thorough effort than they’ve typically come to expect. “They gonna be surprised through the entire album because a lot of people is not putting out a complete album; you might get one or two songs that’s good. I hit ‘em with a good record, solid all the way through from Track 1 to 20. You can listen to every song”, explains the rapper in an interview conducted from a Las Vegas jail where he is currently being held.

RIOTSOUND.COM: You are presently incarcerated and set to go on trial in less than two weeks for two 2005 murders in connection with the murder of Mac Dre. What’s the number one thing you want the fans to understand about your situation?

MAC MINISTER: Just that I’m innocent and they fucking with Hip-Hop; they trying to use it as an excuse [to go after me] and to make Hip-Hop look like it ain’t good.

RIOTSOUND.COM: Prior to his tragic passing, what kind of relationship did you have with Mac Dre?

MAC MINISTER: I really didn’t have a relationship with him. He’s from Vallejo. I had got jumped at the 2000 Source Awards so I really didn’t have no relationship with [Mac Dre] as they trying to make us seem like we had a relationship.

RIOTSOUND.COM: At one point you were a fugitive for a period of ten months and during that time you appeared on America’s Most Wanted; what were those ten months like for you?

MAC MINISTER: Stressful. Really stressful. ‘Cause like I said, I wasn’t really running, I heard about certain things. But it was stressful for me because I was trying to get the album done and then I wasn’t sure if they was really wanting me to incarcerate me or to question me. So it was just stressful, that’s all.

RIOTSOUND.COM: You got an abundance of quality guest spots on your new album, The Minister Of Defense. Snoop Dogg, Too $hort, the late Mac Dre and Mannie Fresh, all contribute to the project. How did some of those collaborations come about?

MAC MINISTER: I’ve been fucking with Snoop since he left Death Row, from day one. Too $hort, the boss of the Bay – he the boss of the bay but I’m the boss when he ain’t in town – [Too $hort] has always been there [for me]. Also one of the producers that I worked with, Davey D, he did a track with Mac Dre that he already had; so I just dropped some vocals on that. And the rest is history.

RIOTSOUND.COM: Do you feel that the Hip-Hop community has supported you through your ordeal?

MAC MINISTER: Well, Too $hort had actually did his verse [for my album] while I was in jail. So for him [to do that], being the Bay Area boss, that was big to me. I respect that. I’ve been getting fan mail, people have been writing me, showing me some support in that aspect.

RIOTSOUND.COM: You originally made a name for yourself by giving “game sermons” on albums by Snoop Dogg, E-40, Yukmouth as well as others; can you talk about how you first got into the rap game and also where the name Mac Minister came from?

MAC MINISTER: Every time when I talked I had a minister’s way of talking and communicating. People used to be like – man, you like a minister, but you know you got some game and you also macking a little bit. So that’s how [the name] kinda came about. I originally started off doing comedy. So I used to always go to the comedy club and it was like me preaching some game. A lot of people that was in the rap game, they heard of me and knew what I was doing, so they was like – man, why don’t you do some of that stuff on my album. That’s how I started off with E-40. I seen him at this photographer’s house I knew and [E-40] was like – man, I like that shit you be saying, can you put something on my album? And he was like – well before I say that, whatcha gonna charge me? I was like, shit, I ain’t gonna charge you nothing just introduce me to 2Pac. So he said he’d do that. But once I did stuff for his album he never took me to Pac. A lot of people heard me on E-40’s album; like Snoop and them, they used to get at [E-40] like – man, what’s up with that dude Mac Minister? But you know he never was gonna tell me about none of that so I had to run into Snoop on my own. Rappin’ 4-Tay actually took me to Snoop, so that’s how I got with the Doggfather.

RIOTSOUND.COM: From doing comedy to rapping, was that an easy transition to make?

MAC MINISTER: It’s in my nature to rap because my natural conversation is rap, you know what I mean? I automatically talk in rhyme, that’s just part of my oratorical ability that god blessed me with. So [rapping] wasn’t nothing hard for me to do. It was quite natural for me.

RIOTSOUND.COM: Your new album tries to explain what life on the streets entails as well as some of the consequences that come with that certain lifestyle. In the Bay Area in particular, how has the street lifestyle changed and evolved from the time you were an adolescent to the way it is today?

MAC MINISTER: When I was coming up I used to always have a lot of fights, all the time. I was always a fighter; I was good with my hands. When we [used to] have confrontations, we would meet up and there used to be a fight. Nowadays these youngsters are just getting guns and it’s ridiculous. I don’t even know where they getting these guns from but they getting the guns and they killing each other. They ain’t even giving each other a chance to see another day. When you fight, at least tomorrow you gonna see that person again, win, lose or draw. You don’t win when a gun is involved, it’s nothing but a lose, lose situation.

RIOTSOUND.COM: Over the years the Bay Area has made many profound contributions to Hip-Hop, yet some people still continue to sleep on the Bay’s influence. In your view, what does the Bay need to be recognized for?

MAC MINISTER: The dialog. I’ma tell you like this, rappers from everywhere, they already know. From the east, from the south, they already know that there’s a lot of shit that they say that they get from the Bay. They just don’t give the Bay credit. Some of them don’t even have the courage to stand up and say, yea, the Bay Area is this, that and the other. Everybody wanna be the man, you know what I mean, but the glory goes to god.

RIOTSOUND.COM: Outside of the controversy and your trial and all that, what do you want people to know about Mac Minister?

MAC MINISTER: That I got a lot of knowledge, wisdom and understanding. I’m sharp like a mosquito’s needle in a lot of aspects when it comes to this Hip-Hop. I really drive home with a lot of shit that other rappers, they ain’t even on the level to be able to do that. I’m versatile, I can rap and then I could go right into a ministry.

RIOTSOUND.COM: When it’s all said and done, do you feel like you will be vindicated?

MAC MINISTER: Oh yea, definitely.

RIOTSOUND.COM: As your trial approaches, how optimistic are you as far as what’s to come?

MAC MINISTER: Very optimistic but at the same time I got the number one lawyer in the country, Stuart Hanlon. I mean, there’s some bullshit, I can’t really elaborate on it but there is some bullshit [going on] and we’re going to shift through the shenanigans.

RIOTSOUND.COM: When fans go out and buy your new album, what do you think is going to be the most unexpected thing for them when they actually listen to the record?

MAC MINISTER: The whole album is going to be something that they are not expecting because it’s some original shit that they just don’t get from everybody. The whole album, there’s some good work in there. They gonna be surprised through the entire album because a lot of people is not putting out a complete album; you might get one or two songs that’s good. I hit ‘em with a good record, solid all the way through from Track 1 to 20. You can listen to every song and that’s what they really ain’t gonna expect, that the whole album is complete like that.

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