Where Are They Now?: King T

Longevity. It’s a word that seems to have fallen by the wayside in today’s music scene, where ringtone sales equate relevance and the success of a single depends on a catchy dance step to accompany it.Roger “King T” McBride has been around long enough to see a whole lot change in Hip-Hop, and has learned enough to realize that good music will always stand the test of time. With 2008 marking the two decades since the delivery of his timeless debut album Act A Fool, it’s remarkable that the Compton native plans to keep the legacy alive with a new solo album in the near future.So the question is, can one of the godfathers of West Coast gangsta rap still drop a record and capture the ears of the next generation? With a new production team lined up and the help of some old friends, King T certainly thinks so. In the middle of shaping up to hit the road with his Likwit family and clocking hours in the lab to ready his new project, the Old English OG kicked back to reminisce on days of old and air out whoever profited off some of his more recent material.AllHipHop.com: What’s good with the “Alkaholik Don” these days? It’s been a few years since we heard from you. Are you feeling rejuvenated for any particular reason?King T: A little bit. I got excited for a minute because I thought we was getting ready to work on this Likwit Crew album, but that kind of got put on hold for right now. There’s a lot of things going on. Tha Alkaholiks is getting ready to go on tour, and I might go out on a couple of dates with them. Xzibit is shooting a couple of movies, so everything with the album kind of got put on hold. But it did get me enthused to get in the studio and start working on a new project for myself so that’s a good thing.AllHipHop.com: A lot of people got excited when E-Swift recently said a Likwit Crew album was in the works. There were issues with people needing to clear it with labels and make sure they were getting paid. Is all that red tape out of the way now?King T: As far as that, yeah. Right now it’s like everybody is on their own thing, but it’s gonna go down. I’ve got a good feeling that it’s going down, but we really want to get Xzibit on the project and he’s real busy right now. I guess I’m still a little unsure about it, but I really hope it goes down.AllHipHop.com: Now that you’re back in the studio, how’s everything sounding and what’s the vibe like on this new material?King T: It took me a couple of years, but I finally put together a real cool production team, including myself. I’ve been working on my production skills and I’ve got a few brothers of mine coming into the fold, and we’re gonna just put it together and do it all ourselves. It might have a DJ Kool track, or a Battlecat or Fredwreck track, but most of the album is going to be in-house production.AllHipHop.com: So you’re hoping to rock a few dates on Tha Liks new tour. When was the last time you actually got on stage and did your thing?King T: Wow, it’s been a minute. But you know, I’m hitting the gym now and getting in shape. I’m feeling good, ready to bring the bar on stage and be the bartender (Laughs). Back in the day it was like an everyday thing, we’d be drinking and smoking, and I’d have something to do the next day all blown out. But now, I’m getting old man, you know? (Laughs)AllHipHop.com: On that note, you’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of Act A Fool at the end of this year. That’s quite an achievement in itself for any artist who’s still relevant and making music. Any plans for commemorating that pinnacle in your career?King T: That’s been a part of my enthusiasm of coming back. I wanted to bring that back to some of these young cats ears, cause what we was doing like 20 years ago was kind of on the same tip of what’s going on now. But a lot of these young cats don’t know about it. Plus I wanted to show my skills and that I’ve still got it, that I can take some of these new cats and ball ‘em up. I don’t want to sound like my ego’s all big, but I want to get back out there with just more albums. We might even call it Act A Fool Part 2 or something like that. 20 Years in the Making.AllHipHop.com: Since it’s release there’ve been a lot of artists who have paid homage in one way or another, whether it was adopting the slang or reusing some of the breaks. Has that been something you paid attention to?King T: I definitely paid attention. Let me say that me and [DJ] Pooh, we’ve been real lucky. We showed that we really had a love for Hip-Hop, because when we did Act A Fool, we was on some gangsta s**t, but also Hip-Hop s**t. We tried to do some boom-bap type s**t instead of the regular that was going on. Instead of doing what Eazy-E and N.W.A and all them was doing, we tried to do something different and keep it a little more on the Hip-Hop tip. And people recognized that, telling me all the time that it was some cool s**t, which I’ve been thankful for over the last 20 years man.AllHipHop.com: Aside from the music, that album’s cover really stands out. It’s a pretty powerful image, and you continued the trend on the albums that followed. What do you think looking back at that first one?King T: Artists have got a little more freedom these days, but we was kind of the first to bring s**t like that with the gangsta image. Especially the West Coast type, the guy on the cover walking with the 12 gauge, with the hat on and the ride. It was one of the first, and it was just classic for us.AllHipHop.com: When was the last time you spoke to DJ Pooh or Breeze?King T: I talk to Breeze all the time, he’s getting in some management and production too. He’s managing a couple of R&B artists, and he’s still got skills on the mic. He might represent on the new album too. Pooh? C’mon man, he’s doing his thing. He’s off in the film, he’s doing production. I think he’s the consulting producer for the Boondocks cartoon, video games. He’s been doing his thing for the longest.AllHipHop.com: I was watching the “At Your Own Risk” video the other day, it was dope how Ice T and Cube were judging you for “going Pop” at the beginning. Is that ironic to you looking back, with them having become such iconic figures in popular culture?King T: Yeah, it’s real funny to me. I was young back then, and I just loved music period. So if it was Hip-Hop and it sounded good to me, let’s do it. If we gonna make some money, let’s do it. A lot of other people looked at that s**t a lot of different ways, but I didn’t care because I just loved the music. I didn’t realize that it was going to be like this, you know what I’m saying? We were just doing s**t. Ice Cube, that’s the homie. Ice T, we used to live in the same building. He was like my manager for a long while, on my first three albums with Capitol. That was my manager! So it was always just like “Let’s make music.”[King T "At Your Own Risk"]

AllHipHop.com: For a minute there in the late ‘90s it really did seem like you were posed to be the next mainstream artist representing the West, being one of the first artists signed to Aftermath. Tracks you did with Dr. Dre like “Money” and “6 In’a Moe’nin” for Thy Kingdom Come still sound as good today as they did 10 years ago.King T: That experience that I got rolling with Dre, being able to hang and do things with him was just phenomenal. I know so many secrets now about production and recording, making s**t sound good and the type of beats to pick to fit the mood or your voice. With things like that, it’s just incredible and I thank that brother to this day. I have to let it be known that Thy Kingdom Come never really came out. A lot of people talk about it and say it never really did s**t, but that album never really came out. What came out was a bootleg that somebody put out, whether they was with Aftermath or they got a hold of the tape or whatever, but that wasn’t the real album. The real album, boy if you could have heard it…it was crazy. But that’s the main ingredient and formula that we’re going to incorporate into this new King T album, and it’s going to be phenomenal.AllHipHop.com: So you’re saying what did get released as Thy Kingdom Come, you never caked up off of that at all?King T: Hell naw, nothing. Dre took care of a brother, but I got nothing from that. I don’t know how it got leaked out, and it could have been anything. The tracks that did get leaked out did sound good, even though some were unmixed, but I’m thankful that people were digging that and I’m gonna keep it going. Going down in the neighbourhood, everybody is talking about “Speak On It.” I’m like “How did y’all hear about that?” And they’re giving me this CD with a chicken on it, with some motherf***ing diamond rings on, and I’m like “What the f**k is this?” As if I’m gonna be like “King Jive Turkey” or some s**t. Dre’s calling me like, “Yo man, what’s going on?” and I’m asking him the same question, wondering who’s making money off my s**t. But it’s all good, it got put out there for a reason and I think motherf***ers wanted to hear it anyway. I still got love for Dre, and you’ll probably hear a couple of Dre tracks on the new album. I really shouldn’t be speaking on it, but it’s a possibility.AllHipHop.com: It’s funny, the last interview you did was years back. They asked you about Detox and you said you thought Dre was, “trying to come quick with this one.” King T: (Laughs) S**t, and now it seems like it ain’t never gonna come out, huh? Well, I guess he’s really detoxing like a motherf***er (Laughs).But yeah, everybody’s waiting on it and hopefully I can get on it. I’m waiting on that call, so more blessings to him.AllHipHop.com: You guys all got together for Xzibit’s birthday party in Vegas a few months back, and it got me wondering. Seeing as you’re approaching the big 4-0, do you still wild out at the clubs like you used to or have you been making some lifestyle changes now that you’re getting older.King T: Naw, I can’t do it like they do it. I’m on a diet now and everything. But don’t get it twisted. I can still drink you under the table, but not like I used to do. I used to do a lot of s**t back in the day. I used to fall out on stage if you don’t remember (Laughs). Now you see these young cats on the videos talking about getting faded and smoking big chronic and all that. Man, if they only knew how we used to do. The Likwit Crew are the kings of partying. What other crew got a bar on stage?But I’ve definitely slowed it down. I’m married now, I have four kids. Well actually more, but four with me here. I’m a grown man now, and I’m doing grown man things. I done put the kiddie s**t to the side, and it’s really time to get down to business. I’m just thankful and grateful for everything that’s happened over the last 20 years and I can’t complain about nothing. I’m loving all the young cats that’s coming out, and that Hip-Hop is still here. I’m grateful that I was a part of bringing it to the West, so the young cats could do they thing. You’ve got Young Maylay and Young Dre, those are my aces. Glasses Malone and Bishop Lamont, I’m feeling those kids. Crooked I, that’s my dog. Just the whole New West I’m really feeling, I could go on and on. The whole movement is sounding hot, and we’ve just got to find a new way to get back in there and bring it back to the West.[King T "Dippin'"]

[Tha Alkaholiks f/ King T "Likwit/Only When I'm Drunk"]

[King T f/ Tha Alkaholiks "Got It Bad Y'all"]

[King T "Bass"]