— by Farrah Weinstein
You don't want to mess with Glasses Malone.
The heavy-set, deep-voiced rapper grew up in the crime-infested projects of Watts, California. He was tied to the L.A. gang scene for much of his younger years as a member of the Crips, hustling on a daily basis.
A few years ago, Malone realized he had rapping skills and, like many MCs and decided to draw on his crime life for creative inspiration, moving from the streets to the recording studio.
"Me and my bro, we started a plan immediately," Malone told MTV News. "We started graphing out how we were going to win."
Glasses — sometimes called G-Malone for short — tracked down Dr. Dre.
"We asked, what would it take for him to work for us? And he told us if we brought him a hit record, he would do it," said Malone, who got his nickname because he could never see properly and didn't own eyeglasses. "I was like, 'All right, word.' And I stopped hustling, quit my job, everything, and started doing music."
Malone hit the mixtape circuit, releasing The Crack Mixtape and White Lightnin' ... (Sticks), which produced the breakout hit "Two Hunned." White Lightnin' independently sold 30,000 copies, putting Malone on the map.
" 'Two Hunned' was the record that got everything going," Malone said. "That really united Los Angeles."
After the mixtape's breakout success, most of the major record labels were trying to get the SoCal rapper on the phone.
"Jay–Z was like, 'Yo, I'll fly you down to New York,' " Malone said. "We had an offer from the Game, and we had a lot going on at the time. Then we got this one offer, and my attorney came to me and he was like, 'We have an offer you can't turn down.' "
That offer was from Sony, which is releasing Malone's first album, Beach Cruiser, in early 2007.
"It represents the West Coast — slow, steady classic-ness," Malone said of Beach Cruiser bikes. "That's how I want my music to be: just as timeless as a Beach Cruiser."
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