Sir Jinx Reveals That His & Ice Cube’s First Song Plays In Michael Jackson’s “Bad” Video
N.W.A. was not Ice Cube’s first Rap group. Years before O’Shea Jackson helped lead an independent Gangsta Rap charge in music, he and longtime producer/DJ Sir Jinx were already major label acts. Although Cube, Jinx, and K-Dee had C.I.A. (Criminals In Action) during the mid-1980s (a trio that worked with Jinx’s cousin, Dr. Dre). However, the outfit began under another moniker: The Stereo Crew, also with Jinx. That outfit was signed by Epic Records, who had also become home to Dr. Dre and DJ Yella’s World Class Wreckin’ Cru. At the time, both Cube and Jinx were under the age of 18 and in high school.
In June of this year, Cube recalled the group and its lone single with the A-Side, “She’s A Skag” while speaking to The Associated Press‘ Jeff Eisenberg. “We cut the song, and we think, ‘Oh man, we’re on Epic Records. We’re about to be rich.’ Then we never hear the song on the radio. I’m like, ‘Damn, what’s going on?’ This was my education to the music business. Just because you did a song doesn’t mean that everyone is going to run out and buy it. Weeks go by, months go by, and one day I was with [Dr.] Dre at the swap meet. That was where Dre started doing his mixtapes from, and I started talking about what was going on in the hood, and it really honed in the style that we needed to do. So we’re leaving the swap meet, we just bought a fistful of records to sample and do all that stuff, and they played ‘She’s A Skag’ on the radio. I almost lost my mind. I’m like, ‘Turn it up!’ I thought every car on the street was listening to it. It was one of those moments where I felt like, ‘Damn, we got over the hump.’ The song never picked up any traction. I probably heard it on the radio like three more times, but it was still the coolest thing.”
Within a year, Cube and Dre’s fortunes would be tied together in N.W.A. They appeared with DJ Yella, Eazy-E, MC Ren, and Arabian Prince on N.W.A. & The Posse. That 1987 Macola Records compilation featured The D.O.C.’s Fila Fresh Crew, and alleged songwriting from Freestyle Fellowship co-founder Myka 9, and Krazy Dee.
While “She’s A Skag” was not a radio hit for Cube, Jinx, or Epic Records, there is something else noteworthy about the 1986 single. It appeared in Michael Jackson’s 1987 music video to “Bad.”
Asked about the early days of C.I.A., Sir Jinx told DubCNN‘s Chad Kiser this month, “We had another name at first called The Stereo Crew, and we had landed a single deal with Epic Records when I was like 15 years old. We dropped a song called ‘She’s A Skag.’ The funny thing is, and not many people know, that the song was featured in the Michael Jackson video to ‘Bad.'” Jinx, who would work extensively with Cube on his first several solo albums in the 1990s explained the name-change. “We were really excited about that! We wanted to do more music, so we went back to Kru Cut Records with Dr. Dre, but he didn’t like the name Stereo Crew for our group. Dr. Dre changed the name to C.I.A which was kind of like the beginning of the acronyms, so we could change it depending on the type of shows we were doing. It was ‘Criminals In Action,’ but it was also ‘Caught In Action.'” On 12″ labels, the acronym also stood for “Cru In Action.”
In The King Of Pop’s 1987 Martin Scorsese-directed visual, the song’s instrumental plays in the background ahead of a memorable exchange between Jackson and actor Wesley Snipes around the 6:00 mark. Jinx tells Kiser how a song by some teenagers from Los Angeles, California landed on the set of gangland Brooklyn. “Epic Records didn’t have an Urban Department, and they didn’t want to go fishing for score music, so they just picked that record. In the video, when Wesley Snipes chastises Michael Jackson a little bit, and he goes inside, the camera pans past a clock. It was crazy because back in the day Michael Jackson used to have those crazy premieres when his videos were going to drop. Everybody was sitting in front of their TVs and had their VCRs waiting. When I was watching the video, I thought somebody had drove past playing it in their car. It didn’t really hit me until I saw the video again, and then it was like, ‘Oh, our song is in the video!’ I don’t even think Michael Jackson knew he had an Ice Cube song in his video.”