Rhyme Pays

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Rhyme Pays
Studio album by Ice-T
Released July 28, 1987
Recorded 1986–87
Genre Gangsta rap
Length 64:43
Label Sire, Warner Bros.
Producer Afrika Islam
Ice-T chronology
Rhyme Pays
Singles from Rhyme Pays
  1. "6 in the Mornin'"
    Released: 1986
  2. "Make It Funky"
    Released: 1987
  3. "Somebody Gotta Do It"
    Released: 1987

Rhyme Pays is the debut studio album by American rapper Ice-T. It was released on July 28, 1987, by Sire Records and Warner Bros. Records.

Music and lyrics[edit]

The album, especially tracks like "6 'N the Mornin'", is considered to have defined the gangsta rap genre. Ice-T claims that this would be his first hip hop album to be carrying a parental advisory warning label,[1] although, it was years before the industry-standard explicit-lyrics sticker was developed and Too $hort's first album that also had to be carried with an "Explicit Lyrics" warning back in 1985. The 1988 CD release included four bonus tracks.

Ice-T stated on his autobiography, that Seymour Stein took the exception to the song 409 for the line "Guys grab a girl, girls grab a guy/If a guy wants a guy, please take it outside", which he saw as homophobic.[2] Ice-T insisted that those lines were not meant to be homophobic, but simply a statement of his own preferences.[2] (He later went on to condemn homophobia on raps such as Straight Up Nigga and The Tower.)

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number 93 on the US Billboard 200 and number 26 on the Billboard's Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums charts. It also became the first hip-hop artist album to released on Sire and Warner Bros. Records.

Critical reception[edit]

Rolling Stone gave the album three stars. In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, Robert Christgau gave Rhyme Pays a "B" and credited DJ Afrika Islam for helping flesh out Ice T's crime-themed raps: "Can't know whether his streetwise jabs at Reagan and recidivism will make a permanent impression on his core audience, but his sexploitations and true crime tales are detailed and harrowing enough to convince anybody he was there."[3] According to AllMusic's Alex Henderson, who later gave the record three-and-a-half out of five stars, "the West Coast was well on its way to becomining a crucial part of hip-hop" when Rhyme Pays was released.[4] Los Angeles Times writer Dennis Hunt said the album helped popularize gangsta rap.[5]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Intro/Rhyme Pays" (interpolates "Tubular Bells" and samples "War Pigs") Ice-T, Storrs 6:29
2. "6 'N the Mornin'"   Ice-T, Afrika Islam 7:11
3. "Make It Funky" (samples "Make It Funky") Ice-T, Islam 5:09
4. "Somebody Gotta Do It (Pimpin' Ain't Easy!!!)"   Ice-T, Islam 3:03
5. "409"   Ice-T, Islam 5:20
6. "I Love Ladies"   Ice-T, Islam 4:44
7. "Sex"   Ice-T, Islam 2:57
8. "Pain"   Ice-T, Islam 3:36
9. "Squeeze the Trigger"   Ice-T, Islam 6:12
10. "Make It Funky" (12" mix) Ice-T, Islam 5:58
11. "Sex" ("bonus beat"; instrumental) Ice-T, Islam 3:52
12. "Somebody Gotta Do It (Pimpin' Ain't Easy!!!)" (12" mix) Ice-T, Islam 3:27
13. "Our Most Requested Record" (long version, samples “Heartbreaker” and “Whole Lotta Love”) Ice-T, Islam 6:45


Chart (1987) Peak
US Billboard 200[6] 93
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[7] 26


  1. ^ Ice T; Sigmund, Heidi (1994). The Ice Opinion. Pan/St. Martin's Press/Macmillan Books. p. 163. ISBN 0-330-33629-0. 
  2. ^ a b Marrow, Tracy; Century, Douglas (2011). Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption—from South Central to Hollywood. Random House. pp. 100–101. ISBN 978-0-345-52328-0. 
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (February 23, 1988). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved April 26, 2016. 
  4. ^ Henderson, Alex. "Rhyme Pays - Ice-T". AllMusic. Retrieved April 26, 2016. 
  5. ^ Hunt, Dennis (April 21, 1991). "POP MUSIC : Q & A : A Rapper Goes Hollywood : Can Ice-T, the pioneer of L.A.'s gangsta rap, keep his street edge now that he's moved far from the ghetto and into the movies?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 26, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Ice-T – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Ice-T. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  7. ^ "Ice-T – Chart history" Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for Ice-T. Retrieved October 23, 2014.