Flint, Michigan-bred hip-hop performer MC Breed has died. Just this past weekend, public statements confirmed his death in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
In the summer of 1991, “Ain’t No Future In Yo’ Frontin’” became a regional, then national, hip-hop hit, especially in clubs and for underground rap enthusiasts. The song remixed Zapp’s “More Bounce to the Ounce” and the Ohio Players “Funky Worm” for its rhythm track. The original music-video shot for the single included a now-prescient hanging of a Saddam Hussein stand-in (the 1990-91 Gulf War had only recently ended; a second video was filmed once the single went national). Detroit figured greatly in the promotion of the single, as urban station WJLB and a few others added the song to playlists. Breed soon found himself in the company of hip-hop’s major stars of the 1990s before his career cooled off toward the end of the decade.
Lyrically, Breed’s style earned him respect from East coast, Southern and West coast fans alike. He spent most of his recording career on Atlanta-based independent label Ichiban Recordings, and relocated to Atlanta’s growing hip-hop scene not long after “No Future” became an established hit.
Breed’s success helped to increase hip-hop’s geographic diversity, helping Midwestern rappers to have a national platform. His backing crew, the DFC, was spun-off and recorded two albums of their own. His Atlanta sojourn found him aligned with local producers including future standout Jazze Pha. Other collaborators would include Warren G. and Too Short, who had also adopted Atlanta as his home base. Outside of “No Future”, Breed’s most enduring hit was 1993’s “Gotta Get Mine”, featuring Tupac Shakur.
In recent years, Breed’s fortunes began to wane. He separated from Ichiban in the late 90’s but subsequent albums failed to get much attention. He ended up moving from Atlanta back to Flint, and as recently as early 2008 was arrested for child support arrears. In October of 2008 he was reportedly playing a game of pick-up basketball when he collapsed. A physician’s diagnosis identified kidney instability as a factor. As recently as November 3, 2008 he did a radio interview with Detroit’s WJLB, and announced plans of a comeback album, planning to collaborate with Scarface, Jazze Pha and the D.O.C. among others.