KXNG Crooked Puts His LBC Roots On Display & Tells The Story Of His Come-Up

KXNG Crooked is in the midst of reviving his “Hip-Hop Weekly” series. It is happening more than a decade after the online series was an inflection point in Crook’s independent career. While many people associate the MC with Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, and Royce 5’9, the artist formerly known as Crooked I came up around some of the same people as Snoop Dogg. Long Beach artists and industry figures like Big C-Style Daz Dillinger, and Bad Azz were very close to Crook’ in the late 1990s, as was Tha Dogg Pound’s Kurupt. After Snoop and much of the Pound clique had vacated the label (and Crooked participated on the Escape From Death Row compilation), Suge Knight made the Long Beach, California MC a focal point at Death Row for a time. That partnership did not go as many expected or planned for the gifted West Coast lyricist. Despite a few appearances and singles, the MC never got an album release while still signed to the notorious imprint.

The latest weekly drop, “Once Upon A Time In The LBC” finds KXNG Crooked returning to the early days career. He uses a beat modeled after Snoop Dogg’s Dr. Dre-produced “Shiznit.” In the song, the former member of the 19th Street crew spits, “Stalkin’, walkin’, smart as Stephen Hawking / Ballin’ like Napolean Bonaparte even Kaufman / I been puttin’ beats in a coffin since the Walkman / H*es all over my johnny, Mr. Cochran / Every time I write for the Doctor it’s the doctrine / Dippin’ on the north side, borderline of Compton.” The delivery mimics Snoop’s 1993 Doggystyle-making freestyle over one of Dre’s finest beats. Kxng Crooked reveals in the verse that he’s behind some of Dre’s better raps. The energy of the song recaptures the hunger of Crooked I watching a hometown hero do big things, and want to be next.

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Moments later in the song, Crook’ talks about getting down with Tha Dogg Pound. “Back then, wack rappers we would assassinate / Pullin’ up to the studio session, you couldn’t get past the gate / No Auto-Tune can save you, we can’t collaborate / Treat your wet dreams like steam, watch ’em evaporate.

A few bars deeper, Crooked I recalls a perilous time in his career. “I guess it’s just the same song everywhere / I used to wear a Death Row chain n’ the electric chair / I used to keep a Tec in my lap, ’cause sh*t was hectic there / And all my unreleased material is still legendary.” While Crooked I stresses the “unreleased” part, Heads who are curious can check out 2010’s Hood Star as a showcase of the music he made there that fans heard after the fact.