MC Breed was a rapper who could be considered the Vincent Van Gogh of hip hop – underrated in life, universally beloved in death, and unique quality and talent all the way through his work. Those who knew him while he was active always took his life-changing work with them, and those who discovered him after the fact all recognise him for the prodigy he was – a starter of careers, an incredible musician, and one of the old greats of a golden era of hip hop. As an introduction, let’s take a moment to appreciate his body of work and place in the various rap scenes of the Flint, Michigan born artist.
MC Breed’s (birth name Eric Breed) debut to the music scene was on the album MC Breed & DFC. In 1991, he signed to SDEG Records and released a collab album with DFC, a duo made of Alpha “Al” Breed and Bobby “T-Dub” Thompson, Al being MC Breed’s cousin and both Al and T-Dub being Flint locals and friends of MC Breed’s at the time. The album charted at #142 on the Billboard 200 and featured the single “Ain’t No Future in Yo’ Frontin’”, which was DFC’s most successful single.
MC Breed would go on to have an extensive career and discography, with 9 solo albums, 1 collaboration album, as well as appearing in various compilations, guest appearances, and features between 1991 and 2007. As one of the first successful artists in the genre to come out of the Midwest, Breed’s alignment was initially independent, though he would later align himself with the West Coast after befriending West Coast rapper Too Short.
In 1992, MC Breed released his solo debut, 20 Below, to moderate success, signing with Wrap Records, and releasing The New Breed soon after in 1993, which features his current most popular track on Spotify, “Gotta Get Mine”.
He’s been making huge waves with his number one track lately, too! The track has existed for decades, but was only uploaded to Spotify in the 2010s – and it already has over 19 million plays on there alone!
1994 saw the release of his most successful album overall “Funkafied”, which charted at #106 on the Billboard 200. 1995 he released Big Baller, which featured a variety of other Midwest and Southern Hip Hop artists and returning to his roots to align himself with his home in the Midwest and Dirty South. He released two more albums with Wrap Records, 1996’s To Da Beat Ch’all and 1997’s Flatline, fulfilling his contract with the label and allowing him to move on to sign with Power Records in 1998. With Power Records, he released It’s All Good in 1999, and later that year he released 2 for the Show, a compilation showcasing his famous collaborations with Too Short and legend of the genre, Tupac. This was a nice piece of foreshadowing for the collaborations to come – MC Breed would eventually collaborate with the iconic Eastside Boyz on the banger known as “Pull Up”! The future only got brighter and brighter for MC Breed eventually.
In 2000, MC Breed expanded his body of work into film, with “Dollar”, a little-known film starring MC Breed, Shannon Greer, and MC Breed’s cousin Al Breed. The film has seen a small cult following among fans of MC Breed, but did not see success elsewhere and was limited to a release on VHS. Breed composed and released the soundtrack for the film that year, which featured the 1991 hit “Ain’t No Future In Yo Frontin’”. Later that year Breed also released a compilation that would be his last release with Power Records, The Thugz, Vol.1. The compilation featured Too Short, Richie Rich, Bootleg of the Dayton Family and more.
In 2001, Breed’s 13th album was released, The Fharmacist, through Fharmacy Records, a new independent label based in Detroit. Bootleg of the Dayton Family returned to feature on this album, which also featured “Let’s Go To The Club”, a hit produced by Jazze Pha, an Atlanta based producer who has worked with other great names such as Tupac, Snoop Dogg, OutKast, and Brockhampton. It still remains the most popular track on the album on Spotify to this day, with over 194k plays!
In 2004, Breed returned with his final solo album, The New Prescription, with a deal through Urban Music Zone Entertainment, a subsidiary of Psychopathic Records. The album received national distribution through Sony/RED Distribution and featured Esham, another artist signed under Psychopathic Records in 2004. While the album didn’t receive much promotion, a music video was made for the single “Rap Game” from the album.
After this point things started to take a turn for the worse. After two years of absence from the music scene, April 3rd, 2006 Breed was arrested in Flint Michigan after an in-store autograph signing, based on warrants for an outstanding $220,000 in unpaid child support. May 11th, 2006 he was sentenced to 1 year in prison for violating probation and failing to pay the $220,000. Breed quietly served his sentence then moved on with his life, or what little was left of it.
September 5, 2008, MC Breed collapsed playing basketball with friends, and was rushed to hospital. Put on life support and later released, Breed was reportedly hospitalised a subsequent 2 more times in September. His collapse was due to severe kidney failure, the 37-year-old rapper’s kidneys were reduced to barely 30% functionality – as a consequence, MC Breed was placed on life support. Little information has been made public about his health, or what the cause of his extremely decreased kidney function, but he died quietly in his sleep a month later, November 11th, 2008 while staying with a friend in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
His passing came as Breed was planning his comeback, with a biographical film in the works documenting his life titled Where is MC Breed?, along with a new album titled The Original Breed: Swag Heavy. This album was intended to be released through Ichiban Records, the label for which Wrap Records was a subsidiary of. Breed had reached out to many of his friends and past colleagues to work with him on the album, such as producers Erotic D, Ant Banks, Jazze Pha, Sonji Mickey, and Colin Wolfe, and rappers such as the D.O.C., Spice 1, and Too Short. In September 2008, the album was said to be half finished, and at that time Breed had just been released from hospital, having been on life support for two days. Breed recorded his last song, “Everyday I Wait” featuring Outlawz, two days before his death.
Breed’s friends and family mourned his passing privately, but a few made statements about him to the press. The consensus was that Breed was responsible for launching a plethora of careers. During his lifetime he was greatly appreciated in the Rap scene as a collaborator. Too Short said in an interview, “If you took Breed out of the equation, there are many careers that would never have happened”. MC Breed was a widely influential artist, and while much of his work was under appreciated, his legacy stands in his work, his dedicated fans, and the memories of his friends and loved ones. He will not be forgotten, and will live on through the influences he had.
Throughout the years, he’s been posthumously throwing down on Spotify, and hundreds of thousands of people are tuning in to listen! His influence is forever felt thanks to the preservation that the internet is so good at.
When you listen to this hard hitting flow, you can tell MC Breed ain’t afraid to pull punches. The album dropped just a couple years ago and it’s already grabbing massive clout on Spotify! Check out those numbers! They’re but another sign of the respect MC Breed commands. We in particular enjoy “Pull Up”, his collaboration with The Eastside Boyz as a standout track that defines his musical skill and aesthetic… but what about you?
Whether you knew MC Breed from his slapper of a career, from the careers of those he kickstarted, or simply as an individual person, he’s a memorable figure, and we’ll be playing his bangers for many years to come!
Below you can find links to his music on Spotify and Apple Music.