When someone brings up 'gangsta rap', there's a few names you flock to. N.W.A will always be some of the first words that come out of the majority of mouths, but were you aware that before 'N***as With Attitude' and Straight Outta Compton, there was Ice-T and his defining record Rhyme Pays?
Tracy 'Ice-T' Morrow was born in New Jersey in 1958, before moving to Los Angeles as a teenager and becoming a strong figurehead for the West Coast hip-hop scene. '6'n the Morning' was a particular single that featured on his Rhyme Pays LP, which was released on July 28, 1987, and it's one that has claimed the title of being one of the very first gangsta rap songs ever made (well, one of the first that was premiered in a commercial sense to the public). That joint is what skyrocketed Ice-T into controversy but ultimately, into the scene, and crafted his future career as a rapper.
It should be noted however, that Ice-T and N.W.A both got their inspiration for the gangsta rap genre from Philadelphia O.G. Schoolly D, and his record - named after himself - which was put out in 1985.
Rhyme Pays set a theme for future West Coast artists, and is still regarded as a hot classic amongst the hip-hop community for its brazen approach and thuggish themes.