King Tee – The West Coast’s Most Under Appreciated, Ya Heard? – I love King T, have for long time. I may not have been listening to the Compton rapper from the beginning, but he quickly became a favorite of mine. His style and deep vocals are very much the features I like most in an MC. Now King T may not be the most underrated or underappreciated West Coast rapper, but considering his history, he’s pretty damn close. So on the eve of Roger McBride’s 47th birthday I thought it worthy a short blog to point out the man’s lasting influence that stretched from the West Coast to the East.
King Tee got his start in the LA rap scene scene in the mid 80’s along side future legends like Ice T, releasing his debut album “Act A Fool” in 1988. The album was not a commercial success by any means, but for those who were fans of the burgeoning rap scene, the album delivered. The DJ Pooh produced “Act A Fool” was the cocky, aggressive, and witty rap we see often today but for 1988 was new and inventive. The style and flow that King Tee rapped with would be honed to a perfection over the course of the next three albums. The deep voice and articulate flow were mixed with lyrics that stayed in perfect resonance somewhere between witty and profound. This is the reason I am such a fan, the delivery is so smooth whether the situation is crass or dead serious. King T always remains as cool as the other side of the pillow. Maybe that’s why we see so much of this coolness in an artist like the Notorious BIG. Ice T confirmed in an interview that Biggie was greatly influenced by the West Coast rapper even drawing inspiration for his flow from King T.
It’s too bad that more people were not impacted by the early career of King Tee. Had it not been for poor distribution of his early albums by Capitol Records, King T may have been a household name, along with the likes of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Too Short. By the mid 90’s, King Tee’s albums were either out of print or extremely hard to find. If you didn’t know someone with a copy of the album, it’s unlikely you were going to become a fan through word of mouth alone. However King T’s influence stretched further than his flow and the artists he chose to work would go on to their own success and notoriety.
This is where many newer hip hop fans may be familiar with King T’s mark on rap than with his style and work. King T was one of the first artists to work with producer DJ Pooh. While not widely known, DJ Pooh has had a very respectful career working with Snoop Dogg (Tha DoggFather), 2Pac, Del The Funky Homosapien, Tha Dogg Pound and LL Cool J. Tha Alkaholiks were a young fledgling rap group looking for direction when King Tee took them under his wing and mentored them . First working with the young producer/MC of the group E-Swift, King Tee featured the track “E Get Swift” on the album “At Your Own Risk”. King T then debuted the trio on the tracks “Got It Bad Y’All” and “Bust Dat Ass” off “Tha Triflin’ Album”. King T worked closely with them through their signing to Loud Records and subsequent release of their debut album “21 & Over”. This was the beginning of the Likwit Crew, which began with King T, and later Tha Alkaholiks and soon another up in coming artist, Xzibit was added to the crew. The relationship with Xzibit benefited both artists as Xzibit was also mentored in by King T as well as Xzibit introducing King Tee to fellow Comptonite Dr. Dre.
Many of you reading this already know most if not all of these facts; for those of you that are not as familiar with King Tee, hopefully this has given you the desire to find out more about his music. There are many legends in this game, some are more appreciated than others. Well as we here at Back In The Day Buffet send a Happy Born Day to Roger McBride aka King Tee aka King T, hopefully we all may make it a point to give the man his due as the true legendary artist and mentor that he is.