Lorenzo Patterson, or better known as M.C. Ren, was born on June 14, 1969, and grew up in Compton, California. When 17, he was introduced to rapper Eazy-E, a convicted drug dealer who, along with Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and DJ Yella, was forming a group by the name of N.W.A. (Niggaz With Attitude). The group became famous for its controversial lyrics which included songs such as "Fuck Tha Police."
Along with Ice Cube, M.C. Ren became the main writer and lyricist for N.W.A. With his unique style, Ren became known as "The Villain" in the world of gangsta rap. The groups first album, after incorporating M.C. Ren (Ren had joined after N.W.A. had released their debut record, N.W.A. and the Posse) was Straight Outta Compton (1988). Despite the fact that it was sold with little or no radio or television exposure, the album still sent double platinum in two months. The controversial record went on to be hated by law enforcement and government officials due to its lyrics.
After the success of Straight Outta Compton, the group faced trouble as one of the main components of the group, Ice Cube, left because of issues with money and trouble with Jerry Heller, the groups manager. With Ice Cubes departure, M.C. Ren became the main lyricist for N.W.A., and the group released the EP, 100 Miles and Runnin', where they subtly dissed Ice Cube.
Next up for M.C. Ren and N.W.A. was Efil4Zaggin which, with its ever growing controversial lyrics, was the target of the U.S. and U.K. governments in an attempt to prevent the availability of the record. The U.K. government actually raided company offices and seized all copies of the album to prevent distribution. The album was put on trial, but was found not guilty. Regardless, the album went platinum in two weeks, without ever releasing a single, or a video, and without its Ice Cube.
Now, Dr. Dre had joined the likes of Ice Cube by leaving N.W.A. Dr. Dre left to Suge Knight's Death Row Records, while both M.C. Ren and DJ Yella stayed with Eazy-E and his Ruthless Records.
At this moment, it was pretty obvious that N.W.A. would not be as successful, so Ruthless Records decided to promote some solo work. M.C. Ren began it with his debut solo album, Kizz My Black Azz EP in 1992. By late 1993, the album had gone platinum. The album had peaked at number 12 on the charts despite the fact it was "thoroughly unplayable on even the most underground radio station."
M.C. Ren then decided to release his second album in 1993, Shock Of The Hour. The album's original name was to be Life Sentence, but along with changing the content of some of the tracks, the title itself was changed. Why? It is believed to be the influence when M.C. Ren, like Ice Cube, joined the Nation of Islam. M.C. Ren was a fully registered member and known as "Brother Lorenzo X." Ren and Cube resolved their differences.
The album briefly topped the pop charts, but didn't last that long. It soon vanished from the charts altogether. The main reason for the limited success was the emergence of the Death Row Era with Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg. On Dr. Dre's album, Dre dissed Eazy-E and his record label. M.C. Ren, probably due to his new peaceful attitude (attributed to the Nation of Islam), did not take part in any of the beef. On Dr. Dre's opening track on The Chronic, Snoop even invited M.C. Ren to join Death Row, although he declined to leave Eazy-E. "What up Ren? / Yeah, dropping Chronic flakes on your ass biatch / Westcoast flavor niggaz who talk shit get dealt with real quick / So if you wanna take a trip to the Row / Let a nigga like Snoop Doggy Dogg know."
A few years later, Eazy-E was diagnosed with AIDS. Although M.C. Ren and Eazy-E had barely talked for the past two years, after hearing of this tragedy, M.C. Ren went to visit Eazy-E at the hospital. A few days later, on March 26, 1995, Eazy-E died, leaving the original N.W.A. members in complete shock.
Ren, still signed with Ruthless Records, went on to finish recording his third album, The Villain In Black (1996). It marked the first time Ren worked with his long time friend and producer DJ Train on a solo album. The album, like Ren's previous albums, disappeared quickly from the charts.
M.C. Ren was not heard from for about the next two years. He released no new material and had no new guest appearances on any album. Then, suddenly, in 1998, M.C. Ren released Ruthless For Life, which featured both Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube, earning Ren a lot of recognition. Soon after, M.C. Ren left Ruthless (pretty ironic considering the name of his previous record) because he did not like the way Tomika Wright was running the company. On a song named "Set It Off" from Snoop's album, he said: "You out actin' like your shit be tight / Get some shit, fuck it off like Tomika Wright / Get the fuck out of my sight". Ren has remained without a label for the past few years.
Then, in 2000, "Chin Check," an N.W.A. reunion track was released on the Next Friday soundtrack. It featured Dr. Dre on the production, with Ice Cube, M.C. Ren, and Snoop Dogg taking Eazy-E's place. Later that same year, on Ice Cube's War & Peace: Volume 2 (Peace Disk), a song named "Hello" had Dr. Dre producing, and featured M.C. Ren as well. With the release of these two tracks, an N.W.A. reunion was much anticipated.
But the N.W.A. reunion will have to wait. Both Dr. Dre and Ice Cube have had press-releases expressing how nothing is concrete at the moment. Dr. Dre has commitments to his artists, Ice Cube has movie commitments, and Snoop Dogg is busy recording and promoting Dogghouse Records.
At the moment, M.C. Ren is still making guest appearances and it is rumored that he has joined Universal Records and is set to start recording a new album. None of this has been confirmed though.