King Tee – “Payback’s a Mutha”

First off, I gotta say this: The cover of the L.A. OG King Tee’s debut record, 1988’s Act a Fool, is easily one of the most gangsta album covers in the history of rap–no, not just rap, but all music. I mean, look at it, Tee is about to fuck some shit up, and his buddy DJ Pooh is just chillin’ with a beer like this type of shit happens every single day. Now I know that Tee wasn’t the first  to do stuff like this on a rap album cover, and we got dudes today like Lil’ Boosie doing similar stuff (hell, in videos, no less) but Tee’s version has this demented charm, and easily reflects just how slick the record is.

One of the Left Coast’s original premier emcees, Tee was a heavyweight in late ‘80s / early ’90s L.A. rap. With his deejay, DJ Pooh (who later went on to a pretty alright career in writing movies such as Friday, and…Next Friday, along with a considerable career in making music), Tee became known for some great braggin’ and boastin’ tracks, a few party tracks, and of course, the all-out thuggery badassery.

“Payback’s a Mutha” is one of my favorite joints by Tee. Driven by a sample of James Brown’s ’74 classic “The Payback,” this track, with its booming electronic drums and cymbal clashes, is an awesome listen. Tee’s presence on the mic is fantastic as well, as he lays down some fine quotables, asserting his dominance and declaring to naysayers that he’s just getting started (and you know I always love a track where we get even with haters).

Originally posted on my old blog, Emaciated Wildebeest, on May 10, 2011.

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