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Da U.S. Open

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Album Review

Young Bay Area rapper Andre Macassi was murdered on November 1, 2004. A collaboration with fellow Vallejo native Mac Mall, Da U.S. Open was the album Mac Dre was finishing at the time of his death, and as such, it stands, a mite unsteadily, as his last will and testament. Mac Dre's oddball, laid-back delivery (think Snoop Dogg back before he slipped into easy self-parody, but weirder, with deliberately odd inflections and heavy doses of seemingly made-up slang) is the most unique thing about this album; Mac Mall is a more straightforward rapper, and the beats are tough and minimalist without being particularly innovative. The highlight tracks are the two most idiosyncratic: "Willingly," which features a long freestyle rap by Mac Dre over a hypnotic acoustic guitar loop, and the album closing "Dreido," a thoroughly modern updating of the classic 1983 12" "Radioactivity (Let's Jam)" by Royalcash, featuring guest raps from E-40. The latter is the best song on the album by some distance, an instant-classic hip-hop single that pays tribute to the golden age while updating it. It's a fitting sendoff.


Born: 05 July 1970 in Oakland, CA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Andre Hicks, aka Mac Dre, soared through his brief life with a focused playfulness ever hinting at the violence in the background. Considered one of the pioneers of the region's hyphy movement, Mac Dre constantly hyped the Bay Area. The Vallejo, California, native built a sprawling empire called Thizz Nation, which released comedy videos and bobblehead dolls in addition to a seemingly bottomless pit of records by Dre himself and his many signees. Although every indication is that he had abandoned...
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Da U.S. Open, Mac Dre
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