Real Name: Roger McBride
D.O.B.: 1969, Compton California
Label: IV Life/Capitol Records
King Tee was an enthusiast of this New York energy of hip-hop of 1986-87. He learned his trade dropping in on local legend, Mixmaster Spade, an electro-funk deejay in his basement with some of LA's finest artists. With Spade, J-Ro (of Tha Alkaholiks), Coolio and WC (of MAAD Circle) and super-producers, DJ Pooh and DJ Aladdin they clicked, calling themselves The Compton Posse. On the streets of LA, their tapes were reality-rap in its dopest form, they tore the roof off house parties! This was well before "6 N The Morning" and "Boyz N The Hood". By 1987 a police drug-bust split up the outfit before any recordings could be released. Spade would soon be honoured with a throw-down on King Tee's first album. King Tee gained further experience as a mixer for radio stations KTSU and KYOK in Houston, Texas.
After the Posse's bust-up, King Tee entered his career on Capitol Records. His first album, 1988's Act a Fool. Posse partner, DJ Pooh produced the entire album with the exception of two by King Tee himself. Tee offered Compton legends, Breeze and Mixmaster Spade guest spots on "Just Clowning". The album peaked low below commercial standards it managed to go gold and sustain a strong underground gangsta classic. Five of the eleven tracks on King Tee's début were later included on his greatest hits album, Ruff Rhymes: Greatest Hits Collection, in 1998.
Two years later, At Your Own Risk dropped. Another major production credit to DJ Pooh and Tee. Featured producers were added, including Compton Posse homie, DJ Aladdin. Like the first, there are only two guest appearances on this album with Breeze and former N.W.A. emcee, Ice Cube on "Played Like a Piano." Ironically, Ron Wynn of All Music Guide regarded their style not unlike that of N.W.A.'s angst. Tee's rhymes are reflective. All Music Guide gave an encouraging review to the joint, At Your Own Risk. It too went Gold. Four tracks from the album were added to the greatest hits album.
During his time with Capitol, Tee began mentoring a young trio of rappers called Tha Alkaholiks, or "Tha Liks," as well as their loosely affiliated collective called the Likwit Crew. The Likwits included Xzibit, who would later rise to fame and bring king Tee close to Compton producer Dr. Dre. Tha Liks put out their début album under King Tee's guidance on Loud Records in 1993. Tee greatly influenced The Notorious B.I.G. with his deep voice, flow and rhyme style, which Big would at times imitate on his 1994 album Ready to Die. Tee later paid homage to Biggie on the track "6 In'a Moe'nin" on his album Thy Kingdom Come, using a similar set-up to and vocal samples of Biggie's track "Somebody's Got to Die."
Before Tha Alkaholiks début, Tee brought out the January, 1994 full-legth third, Tha Triflin' Album. On this project he worked with legendary Queens Juice Crew producer from Cold Chillin. It contains two singles; "Black Togetha Again" and "Got It Bad Y'all" featuring his protégés, Tha Alkaholiks. Tha Triflin' Album performed better on the Billboard 200 chart than his previous efforts hitting 15th spot. The success of this album is quite significant as it allowed King Tee's protégés, Tha Alkaholiks, to gain a following. It also provided a foundation for King Tee's Likwit Crew. The album once again went Gold, although for the last time.
King Tee left Capitol in favour of MCA and put out just one album for the label, in 1995. IV Life. This album marked the most diverse production of his career. Aside from long-time producer, Pooh, Tee introduced a host of new talent to co-produce tracks for the final studio release. Producers were heavy on samples using, A Tribe Called Quest (on "You Can't See Me"), The Four Tops (on "Dippin'"), Freddie Hubbard (on "3 Strikes Ya' Out") and Grover Washington Jr. (on "Down Ass Loc"). The album garnered great response reaching tenth position on the Top Heatseekers list. Several sneak-peek singles featured Breeze, Tha Alkaholiks and Likwit Crew newcomer, Xzibit.
By '96 during the hostile old-west period in the city of L.A., Dre had jumped ship on the notorious Death Row Records and recruited King Tee to join his new label venture, Aftermath Entertainment under Interscope Records. Unfortunately he left not long after leaving behind three single recordings, "Str8 Gone" and "Fame" which appeared on Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath and "Some L.A. Niggaz" which appeared on 2001. The album project, Thy Kingdom Come was to be a Dr. Dre production, but recording dates were pushed back repeatedly. Tee opted out of his contract, the album came to fruition in 2002 on Aftermath.
In 2002, King Tee independently released his Aftermath album, Thy Kingdom Come on Greedy Green Entertainment and Mo Beatz in a joint distribution deal. The album was shelved by Dre after leaked tracks were rated three and a half stars out of five by The Source. This did not reach the standards of Dr. Dre and he benched the project. The tracks were predominately previously recorded in 1998, produced by Dr. Dre, DJ Quik, DJ Battlecat and Ant Banks. For the first time in Tee's discography, there was no production from DJ Pooh. The Kingdom Come was comparatively a flop for his career.
He also released The Ruthless Chronicles in 2004, which featured some of the songs seen on Thy Kingdom Come and others produced by DJ Quik. In the interim, Tee has guested on DJ Muggs' Soul Assassins II album. He was mentioned on Nas' song "Where Are They Now?" and appeared on the West Coast remix, along with Kam and Ice-T and other California artists Breeze, Candyman, Threat, Sir Mix-A-Lot and The Conscious Daughters. After this appearance, he put out a mixtape called Boss Up Vol. 1 with music by Snoop Dogg, The Game, J-Ro and several other West Coast artists. In 2006 he made a guest appearance on the song "Poppin' Off" from Xzibit's album Full Circle. He has also reportedly started his own label, though no artists are yet signed to it. A remix of the song Money has appeared on Dr. Dre's son Hood Surgeon's The Autopsy Mixtape. The song was renamed "Fast Money" and features King Tee and Dr. Dre. The original song was on Thy Kingdom Come.
- 1988 Act a Fool (Chart Positions: #5) RIAA certification: Gold
- 1990 At Your Own Risk (Chart Positions: #35) RIAA certification: Gold
- 1993 Tha Triflin' Album (Chart Positions: #17) RIAA certification: Gold
- 1995 IV Life (Chart Positions: #35)
- 1998 Ruff Rhymes: Greatest Hits Collection
- 1998 Thy Kingdom Come (Chart Positions: 35)
- 2004 The Ruthless Chronicles