The left coast has always been somewhat of a step-child to the East Coast. From the beginning when Hip Hop migrated to the West, the west has always been in the shadows of “Big Brother”. In the early days, west coast artists spent their time trying to copy their east coast conter-parts. Listen to Ice T’s “Dog N’ The Wax” for a prime example of just how closely the west was to the east.
Over the mid 80′s, while the east coast artists still got love in the west, the west side started forging their own sound. Electro, which can be closely attributed to the Miami Bass sound, became an “in thing” as Uncle Jam’s Army and the World Class Wreckin’ Cru began taking over the scene. Pop Lockin’ and breakin’ became a lifestyle for on the Cali coast.
It wasn’t until Ice T started doing songs like “6 in The Morning”, which was a b-side to “Dog N’ The Wax” and dropping Rhyme Pays that the west started carving out it’s own niche. N.W.A. and Eazy-E would take it to a whole other level with their crime tales and funk samples.
From then on, the west would be just important in the history of Hip-Hop as the east. Yet, some west coast albums still don’t get the credit they deserve. The next few posts will deal with such albums. We’ll cover some albums from the west that could be just important in the grand scheme of hip hop as some of the preverbal east coast classics.
First up is one of my personal favorite west coast artists, King Tee. Hailing from Compton, California, Tee took the aspects of some of his favorite east coast music and applied them to his own brand of west coast funk. His early attempts were produced by DJ Unknown, who did a lot of Ice T’s early stuff, and a young DJ Pooh, who would go on to become a legend in west coast circles. King Tee’s first album, “Act A Fool” is a west coast classic in its own right. With tracks like “Bass (remix)” and “Payback’s a Mutha”, Tee perfected a “crazy drunken style” waaaay before ODB or any others. The video for “Bass” was an staple on early “Yo! MTV Raps” and featured many early west coast artists and exposed the nation to the art of hydralics and “hittin’ switches” way before it caught on in the early 90′s.
In 1990, King Tee would drop his sophomore LP, “At Your Own Risk”, which would futher cement him into the West heirarchy. It was that LP’s remix of the title track that was produced by Marley Marl that would mark one of the first times the East and West colaborated in such a way. In 1993, Tee would jump back in the scene with his crew, The Likwit Crew, which would would introduce the world to the “Alkaholiks”, consisting of J-Ro, E-Swift (who DJ’d on Tee’s second album) and Tash, who was absent on “Tha Trifflin’ Album”, for serving a bie after a DUI arrest.
“Tha Trifflin’ Album” features classical west coast production from legendary west coast producers such as DJ Pooh, DJ Alladin, and a relatively new comer at the time, Broadway. King Tee’s subject matter on this, as well as his other efforts, is what sets him apart from the traditional “Gangsta” artist. Tee dedicates a lot of his lyrics to the art of drinking, not drive-by’s and and traditional west coast fare. The album does contain a lot of the funk samples that were found during the times, but Tee somehow makes it all sound fresh. “Got It Bad Y’all” is our first introduction to J-Ro & E-Swift that leaves the listener singing a long with the fly hook. Sex rhymes are also common subject matter, with the WYDU favorites “Bus Dat Ass”, “Blow My Sox Off”, and “Where’sa Hoe Sat I & II” dealing with jocking the females. Another sorely overlooked Cali MC, Threat (credited as Deadly Threat on this LP) shows up on another classic, “A Hoe B-4 Tha Homie” telling that pussy whipped homeboy to pull his head out of his ass and realize his bitch is a skeezer.
This album has always been one of my favorite west coast LP’s that doesn’t nearly get the credit it should. King Tee has always been a fun listen that doesn’t get to serious and just throws that classic west coast funk at your ears. This album is one of my prized collections. It’s one of the few CD’s that I haven’t lost since originally buying it when it dropped. I don’t see it much anymore in the stores, but it can still be found on some of the used music dealers online. While it’s not as spendy as “Act A Fool”, which is going for over $100, still expect to pay between $20-60 bucks for it. I don’t generally condone spending that kind of money on any used CD, but if you can track one down on the low end, it’s well worth the price.
King Tee- Tha Triflin’ Album (Capital, 1993) http://www.zshare.net/download/king-tee-rar.html
1. Drunk Tekneek
2. I Gotta Call Earl
3. Got It Bad Y’All – King Tee featuring The Alkaholiks
4. On Tha Rox
5. Just Flauntin’
6. At Your Own Risk (Budha Mix)
7. King Tee’s Beer Stand
8. We Got Tha Fat Joint – King Tee featuring Nefretitti And Mad Kap
9. Where’sa Hoe Sat
10. A Hoe B-4 Tha Homie – King Tee featuring Deadly Threat And Ice Cube
11. Blow My Sox Off
12. Where’sa Hoe Sat (Cont.)
13. Triflin’ Nigga
14. Black Togetha Again
15. Bus Dat Ass – King Tee featuring The Alkaholiks
16. Tha Great
King Tee Myspace (photos from his site) http://www.myspace.com/kingtila