Despite the fact he doesn’t glorify the gang-banging lifestyle he once led, rejecting the common archetype of hardcore West Coast rappers, Watts/L.A. native Glasses Malone’s explosive mixtape run placed him far ahead of the crop of “New West” MCs that emerged in the mid- to late 2000s.


Malone actually grew up between both Watts and Compton neighborhoods in Los Angeles. His whole family was very deep in the illegal drug trade (his mother was convicted and sentenced to prison for 25 years). He eventually abandoned hustling drugs and gang-banging to pursue music fully. He immediately made a big impact with street albums The Crack Mixtape (2003) and White Lightning (2005) which together sold in the tens of thousands and provided a number of hits for L.A. radio. The buzz he created from those two mixtapes alone stirred up a high-end, major-label bidding war that included Def Jam, Atlantic, and Aftermath as suitors.



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