With platinum success from Xzibit and a June 5 release date for Tha Liks’ X.O. Experience, the Likwit Crew is back in a big way. The Los Angeles based crew has quite a few new projects brewing, with each member of Tha Liks (Tash,E-Swift and J-Ro) working on a solo set, and Xzibit working on his next album, tentatively titled Man Vs. Machine.
However, the first project coming out will be a Likwit Crew Presents compilation overseen by King T, the collective’s founding father. Scheduled to arrive in stores by the end of August, the record will feature tracks from established members of the clique King T, Tha Liks, Xzibit, Defari, Loot Pack and Phil Da Agony — as well as affiliates Dilated Peoples.
Regardless of the presence of established members, the project’s emphasis will be to introduce the newest members to the clan: Major, Tri State, Ben Buford and the Gunz Click. “It started out with me wanting to do a Likwit Crew album with just us, but we had a meeting about it and we’re going to hold up on it and plan it right,” King T said. “While I’ve got the opportunity to do [something else], I’m going to let these new cats shine on most of the album.”
Up-and-coming beatmakers Pen 1, Thayod, Stoobie Doo and Clever will deliver much of the album’s production. King T said he hopes the compilation will provide a solid platform for the next wave of Likwit members. “This is really to let the young cats shine,” said King T, who also has a deal with Ruthless Records, the label founded by late gangsta rap pioneer Eazy-E. “On the West Coast, it’s so hard for people to get put on because it is Hollywood and people get Hollywood on you. But I like kicking back and letting the young cats just explode, like we did with Tha Liks and Xzibit.”
King T introduced Tha Liks, then known as Tha Alkaholiks, on his 1993 release, Tha Triflin’ Album. Tha Liks dropped their debut collection, 21 & Over, later that year. Xzibit arrived with At the Speed of Life in 1996.
The Likwit Crew had not enjoyed a platinum album until Xzibit’s Restless, which was released in December 2000 and featured production from Dr. Dre and guest vocals from Tash and J-Ro. The LP helped the group enjoy increased radio and video play, something they wouldn’t mind seeing with the compilation.
“If we get a radio hit, that’s cool. We’ll never knock that,”King T said. “But we’re really trying to stick it to the underground with the Likwit compilation. This is for the backpack kids and the kids who like good hip-hop. That’s what it’s all about. We’re not trying to sound like Dre or Puffy. We’re just going straight for the dirty beats and rhymes. It’s where the Likwit Crew started.”