Ice Cube Wrote For Great MCs, But King T Says He Had Some Help Too (Video)
As depicted in 2015’s Straight Outta Compton film, Hip-Hop Heads know that Ice Cube was a prominent writer within the N.W.A. group. The youngest member of the Ruthless Records multi-platinum group penned rhymes such as “Boyz N’ The Hood” for Eazy-E, with some reported penmanship for Dr. Dre as well. After Cube’s exit, The D.O.C. and MC Ren would reportedly assume this responsibility.
Last year, during the film (which he co-produced) promotion, Cube spoke about his opinion of MCs using other writers. Amidst a summer driven by Meek Mill calling out friend-turned-foe Drake over Quentin Miller’s alleged contributions to If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Cube weighed in. “I don’t think it ever mattered, in record-making. When you talk about making a record, I don’t think people ever cared what it takes to make a good record, just make sure it’s good. I think making a record is like building a house: people don’t really expect one person to just do it. It’s a team effort.” He continued in the video interview with Watch Loud: “As far as being a B-Boy, as far as being a Hip-Hop Head, far as respecting the essence and the nature [of MC’ing], to me, you get extra points if you write your own lyrics.”
In a new interview with Vlad TV, one of Cube’s longtime collaborators and friends sheds some light on the chart-topping MC/actors own use of other writers. King T (f/k/a King Tee) was present during the recording of N.W.A. & The Posse and Straight Outta Compton, and opened up shows for N.W.A. When he and Ice Cube both had solo careers, they would work on several of each others’ albums, including Cube’s Death Certificate and Tipsy’s At Your Own Risk. One of the West Coast’s first major label artists explains that Cube frequently called on others for rhymes in the 1990s.
DJ Vlad asked King T about 1990s Los Angeles, California MC Threat (a/k/a Deadly Threat). The lower-profile artist, who was discovered by DJ Pooh, notably appeared on the Friday soundtrack. Two years prior, Threat released his sole album Sickinnahead on The Bomb/Polygram Records—and was an affiliate to T, Pooh, Cube, and Kam. “[Threat] grew up with [DJ] Pooh—[he is] one of my best friends,” admits Tila at the 4:05 answer. King T produced elements of the ’93 Threat LP. “He’s written for a lot of people. Cube is one of ’em. I don’t know how much he’s written for Cube, but he has wrote songs for Cube. He wrote the song for me, ‘Don’t Put A Hoe Before The Homie’ [and] ‘On Tha Rox,” he says of two Tha Triflin’ Album inclusions—the first of which featured Ice Cube. Tipsy adds that Threat would also pen verses for two Ice Cube affiliates in Yo-Yo and Da Lench Mob. As Vlad states that he understood Cube needed no assistance. “I beg to differ,” chuckles King T. Vlad then points out speculation that Cube’s cousin, Del The Funky Homosapien also reportedly helped his platinum relative. King T confirms that Del would write 1990 AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted cut “A Gangsta’s Fairytale.” A year and a half later, Del would release his own major label debut, I Wish My Brother George Was Here, featuring Cube production.
Cube and King would reprise their working relationship on 1993’s Triflin’ Album. Orchestrated by Tipsy-turned-Cube producer Pooh, the album would also be a landmark debut for Tha Alkaholiks. Eight months later, the collective of E-Swift, Tash, and J-Ro would release their debut, 21 & Over—featuring King T. At the 7:00 mark, Tila tells Vlad that Tha Liks’ helped convince Steve Rifkind and Loud to take a chance on another ’93 success story. “E-Swift, from what I’m hearin’, had a lot to do with Wu-Tang [Clan] getting that deal with Loud [Records] and things like that. [We were all] very good friends; we were all there at that time. [RZA] and [GZA]…it was classic times back then.” Ol’ Dirty Bastard would work with Tha Alkaholiks on 1995’s “Hip-Hop Drunkies,” while Tash and Raekwon would team up for video single “Rap Life.” Wu-Tang and Rifkind are still working together 23 years after Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).
King T would be the elder statesman within the Likwit Cru. This collective included himself, Tha Alkaholiks, Lootpack, Phil Da Agony, and Xzibit, whom T would sign to an MCA/Universal Records production deal. With alcohol and partying at center, King T reveals how the style was a deliberate counter to the imagery of platinum Cali acts like Cube, Dr. Dre, and Eazy-E. “We were runnin’ away from the Gangsta [image], ’cause N.W.A., Cube, they already had it sewed up. That’s not what my crew was about, really. We were trying to shy away from it. We were trying to do shows and get drunk, and have the girls pull they titties out and pour beer on ’em from the stage. That’s what we really were about.”
King T last released Still Triflin’ Mixtape in 2012. J-Ro included a lineup that also featured Sean Price Xzibit, and Ras Kass.
Elsewhere in the interview, King T discusses his use of album artwork, discovering Xzibit, his un-credited productions on Ice Cube’s Death Certificate, and Sir Jinx and DJ Pooh sharing production equipment for N.W.A. and Act A Fool sessions.