One of the few criticisms you hear about Ice Cube these days is that he’s turned into the figure the early 90′s Ice Cube was so vehemently against ( read: “selling out”). While that accusation is highly debatable (listen to “Stay True to the Game” and decide for yourself how much applies), Cube latest single/video is a reminder the political rage heard on Amerikkka’s Most Wanted and Death Certificate will always be there. The video is directed by T.S. Pfeffer and Robert McHugh.
Posts Tagged ‘Ice Cube’
Tags: AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, crooked cops, El-P, Fred Hampton, Ice Cube, Killer Mike, Larry Davis, police, R.A.P. Music
Killer Mike has amassed a criminally underrated catalogue over the past several years. One of the most impressive things to watch in his creative evolution is how easily he can navigate through and combine issues of philosophy, religion, black nationalism and militant protest. When you listen to “Don’t Die,” a track that’s simultaneously a political manifesto and crime thriller, you’ll feel like you’ve been sucked into a modern-day version of Ice Cube’s classic “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted.” El- P’s production is excellent as the beat changes coincide with pivotal points in Mike’s narrative and heighten the tension of hearing a realistic tale of crooked cops setting up an innocent man.
Killer Mike and El-P’s R.A.P. Music drops on May 15.
Tags: BET Hip Hop Awards '10, BET Hip Hop Awards 2010, Big Sean, Bones Brigante, Busta Rhymes, Common, Cyhi Da Prynce, cypher, Diggy Simmons, DJ Premier, Doughboy, Fonzworth Bentley, G.O.O.D. Music, Ice Cube, JoJo Simmons, Kanye West, Mickey Factz, OMG, Pusha T, Raekwon, Reek Da Villian, Rev. Run, Reychesta, Vado, Wiz Khalifa, Yelawolf, Zawcain
The BET Hip-Hop Awards are now history. Last night, the telecast debuted all five cyphers which included Kanye West, Common, Royce da 5’9, Vado , Wiz Khalifa, Yelawolf, and others. Of course, the only question now is which artist killed the cypher the best? Last year Joe Budden, Nicki Minaj, Black Thought and Eminem all had valid claims. Who gets the nod this year? Enjoy.
CYPHER #1: RAEKWON X WIZ KHALIFA X BONES BRIGANTE X YELAWOLF
CYPHER #2: ROYCE DA 5’9 X TYGA X KUNIVA X DIAMOND
CYPHER #3: ICE CUBE X OMG X DOUGHBOY X DIGGY SIMMONS X JOJO X REV. RUN
CYPHER #4: BUSTA RHYMES X REEK DA VILLIAN X ZAWCAIN X MICKEY FACTZ
CYPHER #5: KANYE WEST X PUSHA T X BIG SEAN X CYHI DA PRYNCE X COMMON
BONUS ONLINE-ONLY CYPHER: VADO X REYCHESTA X FONZWORTH BENTLEY
Tags: Bleek Newton, Che Grand, Detroit, Doughboy, Elucid, Ice Cube, J Dilla, OMG, Open, Tanya Morgan, Von Pea
J Dilla Forever!
Certain human endeavors are timeless. Music, for example, can last centuries and well beyond the original creator’s intentions. The late J Dilla’s stature has gone exponentially since his untimely passing in 2006. Every year, there’s more and more music fans being exposed, and consequently inspired by Dilla’s life work.
The latest is the talented trumpet player Farnell “Bleek” Newton. A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Portland State University, Newton uses his gift in the genres of Hip-Hop, latin, jazz and R&B music.
This beautiful trumpet rendition of the classic ”Fall In Love” was inspired when Newton heard Flying Lotus’ rendition.
“I fell in love with this song about five years ago when I heard Slum Village Fantastic [Vol. 2],” he explained. “I found out about FLying Lotus from a friend of mines, Byron the Aquarius, who was working with Flying Lotus. So when I heard his version of ‘Fall in Love’ I really wanted to put a solo trumpet ala Miles Davis on it! J Dilla will forever hold a special place in my heart for his arranging and creation of music like the jazz greats Duke Ellington, Miles and Coltrane! I hope that you enjoy!”
Enjoy is understatement. In fact, I zoned out and was left wanting more. For more information on Newton’s music, check out the links below.
Ice Cube Brings Officially Welcomes His Sons to the Game
The Don Mega is keeping it in the family. With all eyes on him via his upcoming I Am the West album, Cube is letting some of that light shine on his two sons, OMG and Doughboy. Cube enlists Bangladesh for the beat, and neither offspring embarrasses himself on the mic. But of course, Cube still had the best verse.
I Am the West drops on September 28. Check out those suits they’re rocking (it ain’t like you can miss them).
On the Come Up: Open
Atlanta is one of the most diverse cities for Hip-Hop on the planet. Whether its mainstream, underground or soul, the city offers something for your musical taste. A benefit of being a writer is sometimes you don’t have to search for the music, it’ll find you.
The latest new emcee I got put up on is Open, who’s going at independent via Stay Tuned Entertainment. Check out these this anti-materialism track ”Take It Off.” Future star or future bust? You decide. If you’re feeling Open, hit him at his contact info after the drop.
Von Pea is for the Children
Tanya Morgan’s Von Pea will be releasing his own solo set on October 12, entitled Von Pea’s Gotta Have It. This track features Buckwild protegé Brizzio on the beat, and guest spots from fellow Lessondary members Che Grand and Elucid.
It’s a solid track that Pea lucked out on. Originally, Brizzio had made the beat for Che Grand. But due to Pea’s pending release date, Grand was gracious enough to step aside.
Tags: 2Pac, CL Smooth, Def Jam Rapstar, Diddy, DJ Khaled, DJ Premier, Drake, Hip-Hop, Ice Cube, Just Blaze, Konami, Method Man, Nas, Pete Rock, Redman, Salt N Pepa, video game
Video game distributor Konami has revealed more names and songs for its anticipated “Def Jam Rapstar” title.
The game, which was first announced last year and displayed at the 2010 E3 conference, puts a microphone in the player’s hand and allows them to give their best karaoke rendition of classic and current Hip-Hop tracks. The title also utilizes Playstation’s Eye and Xbox’s Live Vision cameras to ensure the entire performance is evaluated before a score is determined.
The developers 4mm Studios and Terminal Reality have placed a huge focus on the game’s social networking aspects. Other gamers will be allowed to vote on your performances which will be chronicled on a Billboard-styled chart. The stat prize feature awards badges that can be sported on a player’s profile. In addition, theses accolades will be viewable by area code to allow players to verify the best performers in their region.
“Def Jam Rapstar” boasts 45 songs spanning Hip-Hop history from artists such as Ice Cube (“It Was a Good Day”), Nas (“Hate Me Now”), Public Enemy (“Fight the Power”), Diddy (“It’s All About the Benjamins”), Pete Rock & CL Smooth (“T.R.O.Y.”) and Drake (“Best I Ever Had”). Original instrumentals from producers DJ Premier, Just Blaze, Danja and others will be available for gamers to record original rhymes over.
The total list of confirmed tracks can be viewed at http://defjamrapstar.com/def-jam-rapstar.
“Def Jam Rapstar” will be available October 5th on the Playstation3, Xbox 360 and Wii consoles.
Tags: DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, N.W.A.
Gangsta rap pioneer Ice Cube made a recent stop on Jamie Foxx’s radio show to address “selling out” criticism, Dr. Dre’s early days, and the importance of privacy in his personal life.
In the early 90s, Cube launched his movie career in 1991 with the Oscar-nominated Boyz N the Hood. Since then, Cube has starred and executive-produced in over 40 films.
After transitioning to more family oriented work such as the Barbershop and Are We There Yet series, some critics and fans have accused Cube of selling out and betraying his earlier gangsta rap roots to assimilate into Hollywood.
The 25 year music veteran counters that his film evolution is a natural progression for a married man in his 40s whose original fans now share those same realities in their personal lives.
“Most of those people don’t know how to get money. If you know how to get money you do what you do to get that money,” Cube told Foxxhole Radio. “It was a good look because my fans now have kids. I don’t want nobody telling their kids that Cube used to be the shit, y’all just don’t know. I’d rather for them to be a part of what I’m doing, too. And it’s fucked up when you got a six-year-old coming up to you quoting Friday lines. It’s like alright let me do something for your little ass because you shouldn’t be watching Friday. It was something for all my fanbase.”
Following N.W.A.’s dissolution his former band mates Eazy-E and Dr. Dre became embroiled in a heated rivalry in 1993. Over the next two years their respective labels Ruthless and Death Row would join the fray and release several diss records. Eazy used 80s pictures of Dre sporting lip gloss and sequence outfits to support his stance that his former friend was fabricating his gangsta rap image on the seminal The Chronic album.
Ice Cube recalled the photos, and stated both Dr. Dre and DJ Yella used to argue with World Class Wreckin’ Cru leader Lonzo Williams about wearing the gaudy outfits. Williams adhered to funk and soul music traditions, and looked at Hip-Hop as fad cash-in instead of a legitimate art form.
“[World Class Wreckin' Cru founder] Lonzo was a Con Funk Shun type of dude,” he noted. “He thought rap was going to be in and out. That’s who they worked for…They used to argue about that [with him].”
The recent public divorces of Nas and DMX have been cited as examples of the difficulty artists have in making a marriage work in the music industry. Cube, who’s been married for 17 years and has four children, believes maintaining privacy is the #1 reason his marriage has lasted.
“Keep everybody out your business, that’s how you do it. And I mean everybody. It ain’t about having a relationship outside of the house. It’s about having a relationship within each other,” he explained. “When something go down don’t be calling your sister or your mother; I’m not gonna be calling my brother or uncles. We’re gonna work it out.”
Ice Cube’s ninth studio album I Am the West will be released on September 28. The latest single is “Drink the Kool Aid.”
Fans can also see Cube weekly on his TBS sitcom series “Are We There Yet?,” which debuted in June.
When you’re making moves there’ s always going to be someone who criticizes. That’s not just true in Hip-Hop but the world in general. But only in the wacky world of Hip-Hop could a 41-year-old married man with four kids be called a sell-out for not keeping the same gangsta-rap image of his 20s. What’s even more ironic is that Cube’s music still retains the street knowledge of his earlier albums, but just from a more mature and seasoned perspective.
Let’s be real. If artists like Cube, Nas and Jay-Z were still approaching their music now the same way this did 15 years ago, they wouldn’t be as revered and respected. In fact, they probably wouldn’t be here period. Those three are examples of emcees who took the challenge of growing with their audience. Sure, there were some growing pains and missteps, but their efforts have resulted in careers that show dynamic, three-dimensional musicians.
Take a look at someone like 50 Cent and you see the exact opposite. Since 2003 the G Unit mogul has essentially remade the same album with little artistic growth. And even outside the booth, people have grown tired of the publicity-focused “beef” antics. That is why Nas and Damian Marley can sell out nearly all their tour stops around the country while 50 is canceling his U.S. tour due to low ticket sales.
People claim they want Hip-Hop to mature but are afraid to mature with it. Ice Cube is a perfect example of why we don’t have to abandon the Hip-Hop culture that raised us just because we hit the other side of 30. In fact, you can retain your integrity and still handle business in the corporate world on your own terms. Nothing more gangsta than that.
Tags: Ice Cube, Laugh Now Cry Later, Raw Footage, West Coast
A legend like Ice Cube needs no introduction. For over 20 years, he’s done everything a Hip-Hop artist could hope for. He’s dropped classic albums, engaged in epic battles, and crossed his brand over into film and TV. Back in 2008, Cube was in the midst of promoting his newly released LPRaw Footage. Pay close attention to what Cube says about a potential collaboration album with Nas and Scarface!
Ismael AbduSalaam: Congratulations on a very good album with Raw Footage. There’s a more distinct political edge on this one than Laugh Now, Cry Later. Was that something you planned on being that the presidential election was coming up?
Ice Cube: Thank you. I knew with Laugh Now, Cry Later it was more of a reintroduction. I had to make a record to show I could more or less still rap on that tip. On the next one I could more of that street knowledge that I’ve been known. It was more of a conscious effort The election just fell into place, I wasn’t even thinking about all that when I started the record. I started at the end 2007, so it all just fell into place.
Ismael: A lot of people like the “Why Me” track off the album. Was there any difficulty in translating the power of that song into a visual?
Cube: What I wanted to do was use real people, not a whole bunch of actors. I wanted to show people who were really victims of this kind of violence. So once I knew I was gonna do that I knew the video had the ability to be powerful once we tied it together. We had different scenes of the hood, Somalia, and the Middle East to show it wasn’t a hood issue, but a world problem. And with Benny Boom it would be hard to miss that concept up. [laughs].
Ismael: With Raw Footage you’re set to have you second consecutive #1 independent album. When you look at the Hip-Hop landscape, do you think major labels will eventually get pushed completely out?
Cube: As more people get comfortable with buying off the net and artists developing their sites, it’ll come to a point where you’ll get the music directly from the artist. There’ll be nowhere else to get it. To me that’s the future.
But for now, the majors are gonna deal with the biggest artists with there 360 deals to prolong their life and take money from their shows and sponsorships; pretty much all that external money artists get. The record company are gonna find a way to cut themselves in. And if you don’t have the money to push your shit independent, it’s hard to play ball.
Ismael: Even going back to your first album Amerikkka’s Most Wanted, your music has always had a strong sense of personal accountability. And that’s even with songs now like “Tomorrow” and “Stand Tall.” Why do you think we’re so quick to shift blame to others in our culture?
Cube: Take a show like Oprah Winfrey where every victim of everything gets up there and cries about who’s fault it is that they’re this way. We just became a culture of ‘I don’t have to take responsibility, let me just pass the buck.’ You can do anything in America once you apologize. Just having that attitude eroded the pride in saying “this is my balls and my word.” Men used to say they were going to do something then they’d do it. Now, you don’t know if he’s gonna do it or not. It’s too much TV and looking at other people’s lives and not worrying about their own.
Ismael: You’ve always been willing to work with younger emcees like Game, Killer Mike, and Young Jeezy. Out of the new breed, who impresses you the most?
Cube: You gotta be impressed with Kanye. Even though his style ain’t my style, you can tell he practices his art and puts in the time. 50 and the Game. I always liked Andre 3000, and Luda’s dope. Gotta mention the Roots. There’s people out there that are fire. Out West I like Jayo Felony and Kurupt. I love to hear spitting. I [even] like some Lil Wayne songs, when he’s in MC mode.
Ismael: Lench Mob Record’s last album in the 90′s was Kaushion’s debut before you brought in back in 2006 with Laugh Now, Cry Later. How hard was it to get the infrastructure back together for the label, and what are your future plans with it?
Cube: We’re just gonna cultivate what we got. There’s a few people in the wings but they’re not ready to be mentioned yet. To me you gotta be ready, I can’t show you how to do this. You either have it or you don’t. Until we fidn that we’re going to continue to do our records. I stopped because I felt niggas was ungrateful and didn’t know how to take the ball and run with it. It wasn’t hard to start backup, I just took the five smartest people I knew when it came to independent records. It ain’t no big-ass overhead with a bunch of secretaries running around doing nothing. It’s lean, mean and five smart motherfuckers that put and plan together and executed. And it works so far, but you got to have the music behind it.
Ismael: Everybody knows the classic battle records on your resume. Out of those battles, who would you say was your most formidable opponent? This would be the one that made you really work the pen for.
Cube: Nobody! [laughs] I felt none of those battles I got into, that they should’ve even got into it with me. I pulled punches sometimes just because it was the right thing to do. But I never felt like “aw shit, damn this is gonna be a grueling one.” Because I felt like yo, we’ll do as many songs as we need to back and forth. That’s how I seen LL and Kool Moe Dee do it. So when I get into some shit like that I’m always prepared to do multiple tracks to make it happen. That’s the essence of Hip-hop, until it started getting crazy with entourages and shit that don’t know how to handle it. But for the most part it’s fun.
Ismael: What are you verified movie projects at this time?
Cube: Just finished a funny ass movie with Mike Epps called “Jackin’ Promoters.” Jeezy is in it. We play two shady ass rap promoters who bring acts to town and we ain’t got the money. Definitely funny shit for those in the industry. A lot of people go to shows but don’t know all the work that goes into it.
Ismael: I wanted to commend you on the Ice Cube scholarship you’ve been giving out. What are the requirements with it?
Cube: We’re basically giving out two scholarships. We put the kids in a contest. I give them a bottom beat, hook, and tell them to create a song around it. Whoever creates the best song wins the scholarship. 50-60 kids always enter and we usually end up with the best 10 and pick the best.
Ismael: One last question which will kind of put you on the spot. You worked with Scarface on the “Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It Remix” and The Diary. A few days ago he announced he would be retiring and not making any further albums…
Cube: Aw man, for real?
Ismael: Yes but he did give himself an out. He said he would consider coming back for another album, but it woud have to be collaborative album between himself, Nas, and you. Of course you guys are on different labels, but if the money was right and it could be done, would you be interested in it?
Cube: Of course! I wouldn’t even think twice about doing that…hell yeah! [laughs] I think the album would be crazy, lyrics would be sick,a dn Hip-Hop would love it. It’s just making that business happen, that’s the part that gets funky. I ain’t never really turned down these kind of projects, they just don’t happen for whatever business reasons. But I’m up for some shit like that because I know we can make a dope record. And to me that is the most important thing.