For Ice Cube, It Was A Big Step In Small Time From C.I.A. To N.W.A. (Audio)
Straight Outta Compton viewers had a glimpse of what Ice Cube did in his days after school in circa 1987. Before it was Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, MC Ren, and DJ Yella he surrounded himself with, it was Sir Jinx and K-Dee (a/k/a Kid Disaster) that O’Shea Jackson favored. They were the group known as The C.I.A.
As portrayed in the film he co-produced, a teenage Cube brought his book of rhymes around Los Angeles, California. Jinx, K-Dee, and Cube were infatuated with the mid-1980s sounds coming out of New York City, commercial Rap’s epicenter to that point. In their three-song single, “My Posse” is emblematic of both the group’s brewing originality, as well as their influence.
With all three members kickin’ rhymes, “My Posse” shows its nod to another trio: Beastie Boys. The whole Def Jam Records sound influenced this crew of South Central musicians who wanted to present hard rhymes over scratching and boom-bap 808’s. Conversely, the rhymes are defiantly local. Unlike Ad-Rock, MCA, and Mike D’s mainstream-aimed attitude and decentralized images on Licensed To Ill, The C.I.A. was talking about Crenshaw, jheri curls, and nearby venue The Fox in their rhymes. Local figures (including Eazy-E and engineer Dr. Dre) get shouts too. These were guys trying to get up just as much as get on.
Upon Ice Cube’s split from N.W.A., Sir Jinx and K-Dee were among the first he called upon. Although Jinx’s career had adapted to a tour-hand for Niggaz Wit’ Attitude, he quickly returned to his production chops for AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted. In the last 25 years, beyond an impressive (and still active) catalog with Don Mega, Jinx produced jams for Xzibit, Too Short, and Kool G Rap & DJ Polo. K-Dee would anchor Da Lench Mob as a crew (not the group), and stayed active in Cube, Westside Connection, and early Devin The Dude works. The same vocalist from N.W.A. breakthrough vehicle “Panic Zone” is still nice with his rhymes. For all three members, their activity in the boom-bap era made them supreme creators in their community, respected by East Coast purists simply for showing-and-proving in the old days.
As acts like King T, Comptons Most Wanted, and WC/Low Profile flourished beyond the Eazy-E umbrella, do you think The C.I.A. could have endured, without N.W.A.? Is Sir Jinx one of Hip-Hop’s most slept-on 30-year producers?
#BonusBeat: The two other songs from The C.I.A. on that initial 1987 12″: