Andre Hicks (July 5, 1970 — November 1, 2004), better known by his stage name, Mac Dre, was a Vallejo -Bay Area-based gangsta rapper. He is considered one of the innovators of the hyphy music movement, and the undisputed creater and figurehead of the Thizz music movement and style. During his career in the rap world, he worked with artists such as Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre’s step brother Warren G, Mistah F.A.B., MC Hammer, Mac Mall, San Quinn, E-40, B-Legit, Richie Rich, Daz Dillinger, Bad Azz, Tupac Shakur, Luni Coleone, Brotha Lynch Hung, JT the Bigga Figga, Baby Bash, Kokane, Spice 1, Keak da Sneak, C-Bo,Andre Nickatina, Rappin‘ 4-Tay, Suga Free, Ray Luv, Mob Figaz, Yukmouth Dre „Baller Dad To The Sikness“ Lewis“, and Too Short. He also provided an uncredited hook to the track „Gotta Survive“ off of Young Lay’s Black N‘ Dangerous album, a track which featured Tupac Shakur.
Mac Dre was born in Oakland, California. As a child, Hicks was moved to and raised in Vallejo, California by his mother to remove them from the dangers of Oakland . His lyrics were largely based on his neighborhood known by those around him as „The Crest“, short for Country Club Crest. His music gained popularity in the early to mid 1990s throughout the Bay Area, eventually receiving national recognition through his independent record labels Romp and Thizz Entertainment. During his music career, he released many hit singles, such as „Too Hard for the Fuckin‘ Radio“, and more recently „Feelin‘ Myself“. His music continues to be released posthumously. He was the creator of the „Thizzle Dance“, a popular dance which holds no specific standard. Hardship and controversy were staples of Mac Dre’s career. After recording his first three albums between 1989 and 1991, Mac Dre was charged with conspiracy to commit bank robbery. His record label, Romp Productions, and his many references to „Romper Room“ in his songs, coincided with a Vallejo robbery gang of the time calling themselves the „Romper Room Gang“ and responsible for the robberies of many area banks and pizza parlors. The Robberies even had small segment on the television show Unsolved Mysteries. Hicks was alleged to be a member of the gang which also included Bay Rapper J-Diggs and Da’unda’dogg. Hicks was sentenced to five years in prison in 1992.
In prison, Hicks gained some notoriety by recording the lyrics to songs directly over the Fresno County jail inmate telephone. His album, Young Black Brotha, was a result of such efforts, as well as guest appearances on fellow artists‘ songs, all while Hicks was still imprisoned. A later album, Back ‚N Da Hood, was also made up of these prison-recorded songs. While recording in prison, Mac Dre gained respect.
After his release from prison in 1996, Mac Dre began releasing albums steadily, building pace in the early 21st century. Mac Dre’s audience was growing, and mainstream hip-hop stations were beginning to give Hicks‘ music more airtime. Hicks relocated to Sacramento, California in 2001, where he began a label, Thizz Entertainment. A notorious ecstasy enthusiast, he is credited with coining the slang verb to thizz, which refers to the state of being high on the drug. He is the foremost precursor of the current Hyphy movement, a hip hop subculture based around being rambunctuous. He is also recognized as part of the Thizz Movement, which is very similar to the Hyphy movement.
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