Personnel: Ice-T (vocals), Afrika Islam (programming).
Engineers: David Storrs, Jim Lyons, Greg "SSL?" Mann.
Recorded at Salty Dog Studios, Los Angeles and Secret Sound, New York City.
All songs written by Ice-T except "Intro" (Ice-T/Dave Storrs).
RHYME PAYS introduced the world to a man many have dubbed "the father of gansta rap," a former hustler from South Central Los Angeles named Tracy Morrow, who called himself Ice-T. One of the first West Coast rappers to get respect from the New York hip hop scene, Ice-T's hyper-realistic crime stories came straight from the street, and would bring him both fame and controversy.
A defining record for West Coast gangsta rap, 1987's RHYME PAYS put Ice-T on the map as one of hip-hop's most charismatic street spokesmen. The character of the ghetto-hardened street thug would later rise to prominence, thanks largely to N.W.A. and Snoop Dogg, but Ice was among the first to drop narratives about the ruthless realities of the California inner cities, and he still stands out as one of rap's sharpest performers.
Musically, RHYME PAYS bears the hallmarks of Run-DMC-influenced '80s rap, with colossal beats punctuated by short samples. The sound here is full, and the samples are adventurous (the title track sports the riff from Black Sabbath's "War Pigs," and the funk-oriented samples predate Dr. Dre's G-funk by several years). Lyrically, Ice alternates between accounts of his high-rolling, pimping lifestyle ("Somebody Gotta Do It"), paeans to sex ("I Love Ladies"), and shout-out party anthems ("Make It Funky"). Given the always-evolving sound of rap, RHYME PAYS is something of a period piece, but it remains an important hip-hop album.
- Format: Vinyl