Do Remember When King T Toasted Tha Alkaholiks & Spilled Great Lyricism (Video)
When West Coast vets are being discussed, King T’s name does not come up nearly enough. The Compton, California native released a robust major label debut, Act A Fool, in late 1988. This puts him in scarce company indeed, as Ice-T’s essential first album Rhyme Pays had dropped only a year prior and N.W.A.’s seminal Straight Outta Compton arrived just a few months before A.A.F. Although he only gave fans another four studio albums after his initial offering, he is recognized as one of the Left Coast’s most influential Hip-Hop artists. That is largely due to introducing and mentoring a slew of young MCs.
Like any L.A. O.G. worth his weight in loc’s, Dayton’s, and Dickies, Teela (as friends and fans know him) had started a Rap crew in the early 1990s. On his third LP, 1993’s Tha Triflin’ Album, King Tipsy officially presented his protégés, Tha Alkaholiks. They guested on a track titled “Bus Dat Ass,” as well as the album’s lead single, “Got It Bad Y’all.” When the video hit, fans got their first look at the lively trio of E-Swift, J-Ro, and Tash (fka Katashrophe), and even then it was clear their future was bright. Their playful verses on this cut gave listeners a glimpse of what this beloved act would become known for. Also, we would be remiss not to mention DJ Pooh, who makes a couple of comedic cameos just two years ahead of co-writing Friday with Ice Cube (another album guest).
King T (who has also stylized his name as “King Tee” in the past) named his Hip-Hop collective the Likwit Crew, and the posse grew to include Xzibit, Defari, Phil the Agony, Madlib, the Barbershop MCs, and many more. By the end of ’93, the trio signed with Loud Records and released celebrated (and intoxicated) debut 21 & Over—which featured a strong leading hand from King T. Three years earlier, King T had quietly welcomed Liks’ producer/DJ to the fold of his sophomore, At Your Own Risk. Look no further than DJ cut, “E Get The Swift.”
Back in 2010, Ice-T broke down how King T and The Liks drank it like they rapped it: “[King T and I] lived in the same apartment building. That ni**a was doing St. Ide’s commercials. I had an apartment full of furniture and a girl, my sh*t was laid [out]. Teela’s house had nothin’ but a refrigerator full of St. Ide’s. And Xzibit, the whole Alkaholiks—Tash, Phil Da Agony, all of ’em, they’d be laid out on the floor of his house. That’s where The Alkaholiks were born, right there. ‘Cause E. Swift was doin’ all the DJ’ing for King T, and sh*t was like a flop-house,” he told HipHopDX.
In the mid-1990s, after his tenures at Capitol and MCA Records ended, King T was among the first acts on Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment. Although promo vinyl (and a later bootleg) exists, his Thy Kingdom Come album never dropped on the label. However, six years ago, the O.G. dropped his Still Trifflin’ Mixtape, featuring Tha Liks’ J-Ro. So, next time somebody is talking about forefathers of West Coast Hip-Hop, throw King T’s name out.
#BonusBeat: Back in 2012, King T, Tha Alkaholiks, and mutual affiliate Xzibit linked for “King Louis XIII,” produced by none other than Dr. Dre: