Review Summary: One may find it ironic that after how trivially he took gangsta rap and the lifestyle that accompanied it on Thizzelle Washington, his involvement in the genre led to his demise. R.I.P. Andre "Mac Dre" Hicks (July 5th, 1970 - November 1st, 2004)
In a genre that’s riddled with misogynistic, masculine posturing, criminal entrepreneurialism, and illustrious, materialistic swanking, it’s rather rare to encounter an artist who runs against the current in the trio of the aforementioned categories. Enter Andre Hicks, Bay Area hip-hop legend. Hailing from Oakland, Mac Dre’s atypical, jocular approach to gangsta rap made him a star. Widely considered to be the apex of his career, Thizzelle Washington
was released a little over two years before his untimely death in 2004.
Although he doesn’t necessarily stray from gangsterisms, the tone and attitude Mac Dre implements in the execution of such tint the entire album with a certain degree of happy-go-lucky humor. His chilled, layered voice and his relaxed flow are both strong indicators of a nonchalant approach to the style. On top of that, a dance song (“Thizzelle Dance”) and quirky lyrics even further uncover his blasé, jokey outlook on gangsta rap.
“I know, doe ray me/But no I'm not a R&B sanga/I'm a gangta rappa, throwin' the middle fanga/To them square Rubix cubes/Who don't smoke and us, I'm a cutthoat boy and I got a short fuse/I get kind of hyphy when I'm gone off a little Gin/You don't like it, say hello to my little friend/Rat-ta-tat-tatta/It really don't matta/I push a hard line cross it, niggas gon' scatta/I'm not the mad rappa, I'm the rappa gone bad/Recordin' on Pro-Tools at the pad/I give the game a bath, boy I'm a sav/Come through the sideshow yokin' the Cad
Accompanying his lighthearted – almost satirical – approach to gangsta rap, are the happy-go-lucky beats. Infused with subtle funk and bouncy electronic elements, the heavily percussion-oriented beats of Thizzelle Washington
supplement his casual take on hardcore rap. Not without its flaws, Thizzelle Washington
is void of any lyrical adroitness, as it dumps all of its eggs into the humor basket. In addition, it contains some partial, scattered filler (“Intro,” “Dam I Used To Know That,” “Soom Lama.”) The featured artists list also poses several problems. Some guests are too serious about the subject content, at times superseding on Mac Dre’s relaxed approach, and only 5 out of 16 tracks exclusively involve Dre.
One may find it ironic that after how trivially he took gangsta rap and the lifestyle that accompanied it on Thizzelle Washington
, his involvement in the genre led to his demise. Thizzelle Washington
is quite the testament to a waste of talent. Mac Dre became a legend perhaps not through his great music, or his premature death alone, but rather, a combination of the two.
R.I.P. Andre “Mac Dre” Hicks (July 5th, 1970 – November 1st, 2004)