Andre Louis Hicks (5 July 1970 - 1 November 2004), better known by his stage name Mac Dre, was an American rapper and record producer from Vallejo, Calfornia. He was the founder of Thizz Entertainment and the now-defunct Romp Records. Hicks is credited for playing a major role in developing the Bay Area hip hop scene, specifically for pioneering the hyphy movement, while releasing dozens of albums and developing local talent during his 15-year music career.
Hicks released several EPs from 1989 to 1992, before being sentenced to five years in jail in 1992 for conspiracy to commit robbery. His debut studio album, Young Black Brotha: The Album, was released during his time in prison. After his release from jail in 1996, he released ten studio albums over an eight-year span. On 1 November 2004, Hicks was shot and killed by an unknown assailant after a performance in Kansas City, Missouri.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Legal issues
- 5 Death
- 6 Discography
- 7 References
Early life[edit | edit source]
Andre Louis Hicks was born on 5 July 1970 in Oakland, California. He moved to Vallejo at a young age, growing up in the Country Club Crest neighborhood, known as The Crest, and attended Hogan High School.
Hicks adopted his first stage name, MC Dre, in 1984, but changed it to Mac Dre the following year because he considered the name sounded "too East Coast-ish".
Career[edit | edit source]
1989-1992: Early career[edit | edit source]
Hicks signed with Khayree's record label Strictly Business Records in 1989. His debut release was the EP Young Black Brotha in 1989. Hicks released an additional two EPs on Strictly Business in the following years: California Livin' in 1991 and What's Really Going On? in 1992.
1992-1996: Imprisonment[edit | edit source]
In 1992, Hicks was imprisoned following the release of What's Really Going On?. During his time in prison, Hicks recorded new music over the phone, most notably for the 1992 EP Back n da Hood, which is subtitled "Recorded Live from Fresno County Jail (Over the Phone)". Hicks was later moved to FCI Lompoc where he served the rest of his sentence.
Hicks' debut studio album, Young Black Brotha, was released in 1993. The album was technically a compilation album of unreleased and pre-released songs mixed with new material recorded over the phone. Hicks featured on Mac Mall's Illegal Business? in 1993 with a verse recorded over the phone.
1996-1998: Romp Records[edit | edit source]
Hicks founded the record label Romp Records following his release from prison in 1996. His first release was the compilation The Rompalation that same year, which featured appearances from his affiliates including Mac Mall, Coolio da Unda Dogg, Dubee aka Sugawolf, JT the Bigga Figga, Young Lay, San Quinn, and Messy Marv.
In 1998, Hicks released his second studio album, Stupid Doo Doo Dumb, which began being recorded a short time after he was released from prison. The following year, he released his third studio album, Rapper Gone Bad, which featured production work by Warren G and Tone Capone.
1999-2004: Thizz Entertainment[edit | edit source]
In 1999, Hicks changed the name of his record label Romp Records to Thizz Entertainment. He wanted to avoid implying a connection to the Romper Room Gang and believed that Thizz expressed how one felt when high on ecstasy, which was becoming a popular drug in the Bay Area hip hop scene.
Upon establishing Thizz, Hicks embarked on his most prolific years, releasing seven albums over the following three years, including three in 2004.
Personal life[edit | edit source]
Hicks had one daughter, Andrea.
Hicks moved to Sacramento in 1998, wanting to distance himself from his home neighborhood in Vallejo.
Legal issues[edit | edit source]
Conspiracy to commit robbery[edit | edit source]
In the early-1990s, several pizza shops and banks in the Vallejo area were the targets of robberies. One particular group known to police were The Romper Room Gang. Hicks was not a part of the group but he was an associate to some of its members. Hicks addressed the situation on the song "Punk Police" from his 1992 album What's Really Going On? mocking the police for their inability to solve the crimes.
In 1992, Hicks and a friend were trailed by the FBI from the Bay Area to Fresno. Hicks' friend was wearing a wire and recorded a conversation between the two in which Hicks detailed robbing a bank, although he later claimed they were talking in jest. The pair allegedly drove past a bank once arriving in Fresno but left when they saw a television crew in the parking lot. Hicks was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and was sentenced to five years in federal prison after he refused a deal which included informing law enforcement about his partners.
While in prison, Hicks obtained his G.E.D. He was released from prison early, on 2 August 1996, for good behavior.
Death[edit | edit source]
Hicks was scheduled to do a show with members of Thizz Entertainment in Kansas City on 31 October 2004, but there was a payment dispute with the club owner. Hicks left the show after the dispute and left to go back to his hotel room. In the early morning hours of 1 November 2004, unknown assailants in a stolen Infiniti G35 began shooting at the white van in which Hicks was a passenger. 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 to the neck. There have been no leads as to who the perpetrator was, and the case remains unsolved.
Hicks is buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland. In 2006, his 50-pound granite tombstone was stolen and is yet to be found. It was replaced with a simpler tombstone which still remains.
Discography[edit | edit source]
Studio albums[edit | edit source]
- 1993: Young Black Brotha: The Album
- 1998: Stupid Doo Doo Dumb
- 1999: Rapper Gone Bad
- 2000: Heart of Gangsta, Mind of a Hustla, Tongue of a Pimp
- 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
Posthumous studio albums[edit | edit source]
- 2007: Pill Clinton
Posthumous collaborative albums[edit | edit source]
- 2005: Da U.S. Open (with Mac Mall)
- 2006: Tales of II Andre's (with Andre Nickatina)
- 2007: Me & My Cuddie (with J Diggs)