King T (previously known as King Tee; a.k.a. Tila, a.k.a. Roger McBride) is a pioneering Hip Hop artist from Compton, California who studied under the tutelage of Mixmaster Spade. He has influenced countless artists from all coasts, from the Notorious B.I.G. to Rick Ross. His rhyme style is crispy, and his delivery is smooth. Tila is also a car aficionado which is clearly exemplified on all his album covers, where he is either in or next to a classic automobile, and he’s sung a number of car-related songs as well. In addition, he is a liquor connoisseur and did commercials for St. Ides where he would drop verses about the beverage.
King T’s debut album, Act A Fool, was released on Capitol Records in 1988. The production was handled by the legendary DJ Pooh and Tila himself. Standout tracks include “Bass (Remix),” “Payback’s A Mutha,” “The Coolest” and “Just Clownin’” ft. MC Breeze and Mixmaster Spade. The jams continued to pop on his next project entitled At Your Own Risk released in 1990. Classic joints included the title track, “Skanless,” “Ruff Rhyme (Back Again)” and “Played Like A Piano” ft. Breeze and Hip Hop Icon, Ice Cube. As on the first record, DJ Pooh did the majority of the beats. King T also worked with DJ Aladdin from the group Low Profile and Ice T’s Rhyme Syndicate, DJ E Swift from Tha Alkaholiks, and well known producer Bilal Bahsir who was also a member of The Rhyme Syndicate. It was during this time that King T began working with Juice Crew Allstar DJ Marley Marl who remixed “At Your Own Risk,” and in turn, King T appeared on Marley Marl’s In Control, Vol. II: For Your Steering Pleasure on the track “Keep Control” along with producer and MC Def Jef, The One Chubb Rock, Brand Nubian’s Grand Puba and Tragedy. In addition, he contributed the first verse as part of The West Coast Rap All-Stars for the song “We’re All In The Same Gang,” for which the mission was to stop gang violence in urban communities and curtail black on black crime as a whole. In 1993, King T put out his third and final release for Capital Records, Tha Triflin’ Album. DJ Pooh, King T, DJ Aladdin, E-Swift and DJ Marley Marl handled the production for this classic gem, which introduced the world to Tha Alkaholiks aka Tha Liks who King T mentored and who appeared on tracks “Got It Bad Y’all” and “Bus Dat Ass.” Other hits from the Tha Triflin Album included “Who Got That Fat Joint” ft. Mad Kap and Nefretitti, “King Tee’s Beer Stand” ft. Ice Cube, “Black Togetha Again” and “The Great.”
King T moved over to MCA in 1995 where he put out IV Life. DJ Broadway was behind the boards for most of the record. One of King T’s most revered tracks “Dippin,” is from this album, and shows Tila cruising in his car while enjoying the sights of the West Coast. In addition, he introduced MC Xzibit who appears along with the Alkaholiks and MC Breeze on “Free Style Ghetto.” Most notably, while recording this album, King T formed the legendary collective The Likwit Crew, well known for their rhyme style and whose members include The Alkaholiks, Xzibit, Defari, The Lootpack, Phil Da Agony, J. Wells, Styliztik Jones, Declaime, Montage One and The Barbershop MC’s. After MCA, for much of the late ’90s to the early 2000s, King T worked with MC, producer and DJ extraordinaire Dr. Dre, who was formulating his Aftermath imprint under Interscope. Tila put out “Str-8 Gone” and “Fame” which appear on Dr. Dre’s compilation, Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath, and “Some L.A. N**gaz” off of the album 2001, the sequel to Dre’s The Chronic. He was supposed to put out his Aftermath debut Thy Kingdom Come featuring the jam “Got It Locked,” but decided that he wanted to be released from his obligations from Aftermath so the album did not come out through the label.
Since that time, King T has been on many projects whether it be his own mixtapes, contributing verses on other artists’ records such as Nas’s “Where Are They Now (West Coast Remix)” and developing new artists like Young Maylay. One of these projects, entitled Still Triflin’, is digitally distributed by The Orchard on behalf of Select-O-Hits. On it, King T continues his mastery of the microphone assisted by an all-star cast of West Coast acts both established and new, sprinkled with some East Coast flavor and produced by some up and coming beatsmiths. He immediately stakes his claim to the throne on “Tha Return” and collaborates with Compton’s Most Wanted’s MC Eiht, Big 2da Boy and Yung Gold on “Do You Rememba Me?,” reminding those who may have forgotten that Tila and his Compton comrades are still top notch when it comes to Hip Hop. King T carries the West Coast flag proudly with Mac Lucci and Brevi on “LA Kingz” and on “Soul Plate” ft. Deadly Threat and Tha Chill of Compton’s Most Wanted. Tila also gets funky with Likwit Crew brethren J-Ro from Tha Liks on “Step 2 Da’ Left” and brings the heat on “Champions,” produced by Illmind ft. Boot Camp Click and Heltah Skeltah member Sean Price and Stones Throw’s Oh No. He unleashes the troops on “Sharkz (SuWoopMix)” which he co-produced with Professor X featuring Mr. Short Khop, San Diego’s own and Strong Arm Steady alumnus Mitchy Slick and Tha Relativez. Alongside Flipmode Squad member Rampage, King T delves into the difficulties of the industry as well as the negativity from the pundits, and despite it all, both he and Rampage remain supreme. A very poignant track is “My Angel” ft. Staycee Adamz and Rapheal Saddiq where King T expresses his pain over the loss of his daughter Heaven. This personal introspection and reflection continues on “Nature” ft. C-Bo and Mathew Aaron Gadson, where C-Bo speaks on the passing of his brother, and on “A Letter 2 My Homeboyz” ft. Dresta The Gangsta, which closes out the release and where Dresta gives his thoughts on fallen Hip Hop soldiers, including his mentor, Eazy-E, Tupac Shakur and Mausberg who was affiliated with DJ Quik.
King T continues to display his lyrical dexterity today and has plans for another album soon. Make sure you prepare by listening to Still Triflin’ and the rest of his catalogue. Still Triflin’ is available for download on iTunes, Amazon, eMusic and Rhapsody, and for streaming on Rdio and Spotify.
This article is dedicated to Roger “King T” McBride and to the memory of Heaven McBride.