HHCF EXCLUSIVE: 1996 Interview with Bay Area Legend Mac Mall
By: Adisa Banjoko, The Bishop of Hip-Hop
In 1996, Mac Mall was just getting ready to drop his Classic LP, Untouchable. His friend Young Lay had recently been shot, his early mentor DJ Cease was killed in an unrelated incident. Life was tough. But Mall, at 19 years old spoke like an OG about leaving Young Black Brother, about how stressful the streets can be and how the east/west beef ain't that real.
AB: First of all, why did you leave Young Black Brother Records?
Mac Mall: [chuckles] Whooo. You jump right into it, huh? Man...I thought it was time for me to be in control of my own destiny as far as music goes. Its already shady. I wanted to take control.
AB: How has it helped you, and how has urt you? What's the difference?
Mac Mall: It hasn't really hurt me. But the ways it helped me is- I have more options. I've got different people to help me in different markets. Its just bigger. I got more tools. I'm in communication with all of them.
AB: Who produced this album?
Mac Mall: Khayree, Mike Mosley, Ant Banks, 187 from Above the Law and Kokane, Harm, Winetime in Seattle.
AB: Where were you when you learned about the shooting of Young Lay.
Mac Mall: I was in LA when Lay got shot. I was recording with Hutch (187). I felt like "My potnah got shot!". I felt like anybody would feel. We grew up rappin' out the same camp. I called KMEL and told everybody to pray for him. Now he's in the new video "Get Right". Back! He made it 100%. He had a lot of people praying for him.
AB: Do you know anything about who did it?
Mac Mall: I don't think anybody knows who did but him, and whoever did it.
AB: Whats up with Ray Luv's DJ (DJ Cease) ? 'Cause he goes way back- like a vet.
Mac Mall: Thats my folks! Much love to him. If it wasn't for him I would not be here right now. Much love to Ray Luv. The Mac, may he rest in peace, Michael Robinson. Cease was DJ'ing back in 1981!! Thats MY folks...Mac Dres DJ. He gave me the first microphone that I EVER touched. He got killed. Its shocking. Times is crazy.
AB: How does all this affect your mind though. RBL's Mr. Cee just got shot. A lot of people up your way have been shot. How does this affect Mac Mall directly?
Mac Mall: If anything, it makes me colder. It makes me tighten up my game. I check with my folks to make sure we all on the same team. So we can all move though this. It makes me notice a lot and peep everything?
AB: Do you own a gun?
Mac Mall: Nope [chuckles].
AB: Do you vote?
Mac Mall: Nope.
AB: Do you not believe in the democratic system- or whats the deal?
Mac Mall: Nope. First of all, democrats and republicans- they don't give a f*** about us. We ain't even in that. The only things I would vote for are the smaller local laws they try to pass. But I got too much other s!@# on my mind to be thinking about that. They ain't thinkin' about me know way.
AB: How do you feel about all the east coast/west coast set trippin'.
Mac Mall: It seems like about 10% of it be like real funk. 90% of it seems like fools fighting over crumbs. What are we trippin' off? Lets flash on record companies or something. If you from the east, how you gonna diss a rapper from the west? If you from the west, how you gonna diss a rapper from the east? When its the fools behind the desks thats doin ya REAL bad- if you ain't got ya paperwork right. They doin' you real bad. Thats not me. I'm trying to get my paper right. It don;t matter where you from.
AB: What's the biggest assumption about you that people make about you thats not true.
Mac Mall: Mostly people be like "I thought you was gonna be all big headed and flashy" you know- stuck on myself.
AB: What are your three favorite movies?
Mac Mall: First, its a tie, between Supafly and The Mack. 'Cause its like Supafly DID It...He did his thing. His Caddy was an El Dorado drop, could have been a 75 with a Rolls Royce it on it. He had the Rolls Royce kit on the front! Thats why it was lookin' like that. Plus, he was in the game. They showed you how the police was was tryin' to get him 'cause he as poppin'. So he tried to get out. He had his lil freak. His lil sista, "Baby we finna get up outta here"! Fat bath tubs, condos, TV's!!
The Mack, 'cause thats The Bay. He said "I'm finna come outta jail and straight bubble! So, I Can relate with both of those movies. Second, Scarface! And King of New York!
AB: What? No Reservoir Dogs?
Mac Mall: I saw Reservoir Dogs. It was dope...But Point Break was hot.
AB: Your three top records?
Mac Mall: My first would be Pato Banton Mad Professor Catches Pato Banton, The Curtis Mayfield album with Runnin' Child, Mac Dre's Young Black Brotha...Oh and anything from Prince. Man, thats that song? Starfish and Coffee!
AB: What about books?
Mac Mall: Black Girl Lost by Donald Goines.
AB: I never read any of his books.
Mac Mall: Man you missin'! I'm serious. What else...The Great Gatsby. There is another one, by this Black dude, Nathaniel something- wrote for the Washington Post to something...I gotta remember that.
AB: Louis Farrakahan said he wanted to go to Africa to collect a billion dollars. He wants to circulate more money within the Black community. If you had a billion dollars to spend in the Black community- how would you spend it?
Mac Mall: Hospitals. A Black staff, Latinos, Asians...Then I'd probably create a TV company or a car company. Then education. Id' set up elementary schools. 'Cause its important when you start. I;d set up schools from kindergarten to seventh grade. Our kids would be doing algebra before they got to high school. I'd also figure how to make something besides welfare for my folks. East At. Louis, Detroit, Louisiana- set up something for my folks?
AB: do you believe in God? I'm curious.
Mac Mall: [ looks at me like he's offended] I had a guy in my video playing God. Dude told me that he didn't believe in God. I'm like "You breathing. I'm breathing. Theres a moon out there. You just happened to come and exist?" You can't go through all this stuff and not know its something else [controlling the universe]. I was raised Christian, when I got older I learned a bit about Islam. But I have my own belief and I know whats real. MY folks, my mother and my Grandmother taught me whats real.
AB: So back when you was young, what did your favorite saturday morning cartoons and cerals used to be?
Mac Mall: I'll say Tom and Jerry, He Man, Thundercats...
AB: What about Transformers?
Mac Mall : They wasn't harder than Thunder Cats! They had a Black dude with the nunchucks. You know that dude was Black [laughs]. My favorite cereals were Apple Jacks, Cookie Crisp.
AB: I never had Cookie Crisp.
Mac Mall: 'Cause it was like five dollas a box. Gettin that was like Christmas [laughs]. Man you'd be GOOD for some Cookie Crisp. Thats real. I gotta box of that at the house right now. Everybody listen about the album though. I got a fat cover, with a aligator - its called Untouchable. With all the s!@# being around me, its telling you I can't be touched. If I can handle a gator on the cover, I deal with this. Theres a lot of little haters out there. Y'all keep shootin' at the sky and a bomb is gonna drop on you. I'm not talkin' about the word Playa hatin what everybody in the industry uses. I'm talking about that old Filhy Phil playa hatin'. 'Cause Filthy Phil was the first person to say playa hatin!! I'm taking about all these fools that claim they a playa- but they hatin'. I'm trying to get my crew tight, my family tight. The industry people that hate one me, that hated on my 'cause I'm 19. But I wanna thank my manager Leila, 'cause she stuck with me. Mike Mosley....
AB: I heard Fat Joe got love for you. I'm lovin' that Firewater track!
Mac Mall: Fa sho. We goes around and kicks it. I dunno though. Maybe I don't be around the right people. I never had no problems out there. When go out there, I be we Joe. Me and Mike Mosely we be out there and we never have problems. Joe! Joey crack. He real. Game recognize game no matter where you at. With any real person, if you trip with them you got problems...If you don't you don't. I'm not gonna be like "Awww I'm finna go to the east coast" hella mad, when all of my enemies are in California. It be love. Everybody real seem to get along. But it be weak rappers, and fools trippin' off they money thats east coast west coast.