Ice Cube

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Ice Cube (born O'Shea Jackson on June 15, 1969 in Los Angeles, California) is an American rapper, actor and film director. Regarded as one of the best hip-hop musicians of all time, he began his career as a founding member of the controversial and famous rap group N.W.A. and later launched a successful solo career in music and cinema. He converted to Islam in 1992. In more recent years, Cube has focused more on acting, and is spending less time rapping. He is one of the most well-known West Coast rappers, having helped originate gangsta rap. He is particularly well-known for angry raps on political and racial topics (such as the treatment of blacks in the United States). He is also one of the richest people in the hip hop industry with an estimated net worth of $145 million.


Early years

Ice cube was raised in South Central Los Angeles by his parents, who were employed at UCLA. At 16, he developed a huge interest in hip hop music and began writing raps while attending school at William Howard Taft High School. [1]. Attended the University of Arizona in the fall of 1987. Cube and a friend, Sir Jinx, rapped as a partnership called C.I.A. at parties hosted by then-DJ and World Class Wreckin Cru member Dr. Dre.

He and Dre eventually made a mixtape called My Posse, which was released in 1987, with Cube rapping and Dre producing. [2] After a brief stint in a group called HBO, Cube showed his friend, a then-drug dealer named Eazy-E, a song Cube had written called Boyz-N-The-Hood. Cube wanted Eazy to perform the song; initially, Eazy refused, as he had no intent to become a rapper. Eventually, however, he caved and recorded the song, which wound up on the album N.W.A. and the Posse--the first release from the new group Cube had joined, N.W.A.

Ice Cube went on to write rhymes for himself and his N.W.A. groupmates, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E, who also were written for by The D.O.C. and (to a lesser extent) MC Ren. Cube and Ren were also very visible as group members. In the early '90's, Cube found himself at loggerheads with Eazy-E and his manager Jerry Heller and left the group. In response, the remaining group members dissed him on the EP 100 Miles and Runnin<nowiki>'</nowiki> and their next and final full-length album, Efil4zaggin.

Solo career

Ice Cube's legendary AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted album would be one of the most influential Hip-Hop albums ever made.

With his group Da Lench Mob and the Bomb Squad (Public Enemy's production team), Cube recorded his debut solo album in New York City. AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted was released in 1990 and was an instant hit, riding and contributing to the rising tide of rap's popularity in mainstream society. The album was charged with controversy, and Cube was accused of anti-white racism and of misogyny. Ice Cube subsequently appointed the female rapper Yo-Yo (who appeared on AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted) to the head of his own record label and helped produce her debut album, Make Way for the Motherlode. This was followed by a critically acclaimed role in Boyz N the Hood, a movie by John Singleton. The film began the rapper's increasing tendency to star in action movies as time went on.

Cube's 1991 follow-up, Death Certificate was regarded as yet more controversial, and critics accused him again of being anti-white and anti-female. The album is thematically divided into the Death Side (a vision of where we are today) and the Life Side (a vision of where we need to go). The song also features a diss to N.W.A., called "No Vaseline" in which his former band had earlier shunned him in their albums. It also contained the track "Black Korea", regarded by some as prophetic of the L.A. riots. Cube toured with Lollapalooza in 1992, which widened his fan base; also during that year, he converted to Islam, though he denied any affiliation with the Nation of Islam. [3]

Ice Cube released The Predator in November 1992, which had been recorded amidst the LA uprising of '92. Referring specifically to the riots in one of the tracks, Wicked, Cube rapped "April 29th was power to the people and we might just see a sequel." The Predator debuted at #1 on both the pop and R&B charts, the first album in history to do so. For this album, Cube decided to turn to G-Funkier beats for inspiration, instead of his previous layered Bomb Squad-style layered production. Singles from The Predator included It was a Good Day and the Check Yo Self remix, which together had a two part music video. Out of all his albums, it has been the most successful, with over 2 million copies sold in the US. However, after The Predator, Cube's audience began to diminish. Lethal Injection which was released in the end of 1993 was as well-liked by critics, though fans still cited it as one some of his best work. He had more successful hits from Lethal Injection, including "Really Doe", "Bop Gun (One Nation)", "You Know How We Do It" & "What Can I Do?", which did relatively well in the charts but afterwards in 1994 he took a hiatus from music and concentrated on film work and helping other rap musicians.

In 1997, Cube released his long-awaited solo album, War & Peace Volume 1. The second part, War & Peace Volume 2, was released in 2000. The albums featured appearances from Westside Connection as well as a reunion with fellow N.W.A. members Dr. Dre & MC Ren, though many fans maintained that the two albums weren't on par with his past work, especially the second volume.

Collaborations & film work

Ice Cube and Mike Epps in Next Friday

Taking a break from his own albums, Cube assisted on debuts from Da Lench Mob (Guerillas In Tha Mist) and Kam (Neva Again), both of which had limited commercial success but gained some critical acclaim. He did the production on the Guerillas in tha Mist album, which was released in 1992.

A year later, Lench Mob member J-Dee was sentenced to life imprisonment for attempted murder; Cube did not produce their next album, Planet of tha Apes. Around this time in 1993, Ice Cube also worked with the emerging rapper Tupac Shakur on his album Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z., appearing on the track "Last Words" with Ice-T. He also did a song with Dr. Dre for the first time since he left N.W.A.: "Natural Born Killaz", for the Murder Was The Case soundtrack. He also worked with Korn on the song "Children Of The Korn". He also lent his voice talent to Paul Oakenfold's solo debut album, Bunkka, on the track "Get Em Up".

His first, and perhaps most famous role was in the 1991 film Boyz N the Hood playing Doughboy. The next year in 1992 he starred alongside with Ice-T in the film Trespass and in The Glass Shield. In 1995, Cube had some breakthrough film roles, first in the hit comedy Friday starring alongside comedian Chris Tucker, spawning two sequels: Next Friday and Friday After Next. He also did a second film with John Singleton, Higher Learning for which he earned film award nominations. In 1999, Ice Cube starred alongside George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg in the critically acclaimed Three Kings. In 2002, Ice Cube starred in the commercially successful movie Barbershop, as well as its 2004 sequel Barbershop 2: Back in Business. In early 2005, Ice Cube came back to Hollywood and starred with Samuel L. Jackson in the action movie XXX: State of the Union and Are We There Yet?.

Westside Connection

During this time, hip hop started making a transition from the West Coast funk hip hop back to the East Coast. His group Westside Connection released their debut album Bow Down in 1996, with the eponymous single reaching #21 on the singles charts. The group's hardcore gangsta rap style was a response to the R&B-infused rap being popularized at the time in New York.

With Bow Down, Westside Connection brought their own agenda to the hip hop scene. Ice Cube, Mack 10, and WC were tired of being overlooked by most East Coast media outlets; the album was designed to instill a sense of pride in West Coast rap fans and to start a larger movement that anyone who felt underappreciated might identify with. Songs like "Bow Down" and "Gangstas Make the World Go 'Round" make reference to this.

After a seven-year hiatus, Westside Connection returned with their second effort Terrorist Threats in 2003. The album fared well critically, but its commercial reception was weak compared to that of Bow Down. "Gangsta Nation" was the only single released from the album, which featured Nate Dogg and managed to become a radio hit. After arguments between Cube and Mack 10 about Cube's decision to advance as an actor rather than tour for the Terrorist Threats album, Westside Connection disbanded. WC, however is still friends with Ice Cube and is planning a new solo album on Ice Cube's Lench Mob Records entitled Guilty by Affiliation in late 2006.

Recent years

A Promo shoot for a magazine article (July 2006)

In late 2005, Ice Cube and Emmy Award winning filmmaker R.J. Cutler teamed up to create the six-part documentary series titled "Black. White.", which was broadcast on cable network FX. Cube's upcoming movie projects include "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House", which is scheduled to be released in 2007, "The Extractors" and "Teacher of the Year" which is to be released in 2006. Cube will be heading to Vancouver in June to start production on "Are We Done Yet?" the sequel to 2005's "Are We There Yet?" [4]

On June 6, 2006 Cube released his long awaited comeback album entitled Laugh Now, Cry Later from his own record company Lench Mob Records. The album featured production from Lil Jon and Scott Storch, and it was well embraced by fans for a debut at #4 on the Billboard Charts. The album sold consistently and remained on the charts for 4 months, eventually receiving Gold certification for sales approaching 500,000 units [5]. Recently, Cube also collaborated with fellow West Coast hip hop rapper Warren G in the song Get U Down, which also featured Snoop Dogg and B Real.

Ice Cube has been working with Lil Eazy on his debut album due in 2006, entitled Prince of Compton; for his next role, he signed on to star in and produce Welcome Back, Kotter, a big screen adaptation of the '70s television series. [6] Ice Cube will play the title character, who was originally portrayed by Gabe Kaplan. Ice Cube’s company, Cube Vision Productions, has made a deal with Dimension Films to bring the show to the big screen.

In May 2006 Ice Cube accused Oprah Winfrey of not letting him on her show because he is a rapper.[7][8] In an interview in London, he is in talks with a hip hop collaboration with Gorillaz after speaking to frontman Damon Albarn. [9], he will be featured on Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's The Bone Thugs Story.

Conflicts and rivalries

Ice Cube would later have a falling out with Kam due to money and personal issues, which led to Kam releasing the venomous diss track "Whoop Whoop", as well as an altercation that led to the theft of Ice Cube's Westside Connection necklace. Though they did end the feud, they never worked together again.

Cube also had problems with Chicago MC Common, over the rapper's 1994 single "I Used to Love H.E.R." On the song, Common made reference to the West Coast and mentioned the "Boyz N the Hood", the first movie Ice Cube had appeared in. He and his Westside Connection cohorts, Mack 10 and WC, recorded the Common diss "Westside Slaughterhouse" as their first track together. Common responded with "The Bitch in Yoo", and afterward Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam called the two to a sit-down to negotiate a truce.

L.A. group Cypress Hill also feuded with Ice Cube when they felt that Ice Cube had taken the chorus from the song "Throw Your Set in the Air" in Ice Cube's Friday, the chorus goes "Throw Your Hood in the Air," both are taken from LL Cool Js' "Cheesy Rat Blues" Throw Your Hands in the Air. Ice Cube had used it his movie soundtrack Friday. Cypress Hill released a diss track entitled "No Rest For the Wicked", which among other things took shots at Ice Cube for using pictures of an ornate marijuana pipe that had belonged to DJ Muggs for the cover of his album The Predator, despite the fact that Ice Cube didn't smoke weed at that time. Ice Cube and the Westside Connection retaliated with "King of the Hill", & " Cross Em Out & Put a K" in which Cypress Hill responded with "Ice Cube Killa". In 1997 B-Real of Cypress Hill and Ice Cube were invited to a late night talk show in order to reconcile their differences for the benefit of the hip hop community, and the feud thus ended. Cube And B-Real would work together later that year as guest features on the track "Men of Steel" for the soundtrack of Shaquille O'Neal's film entitled "Steel".


Ice Cube's rap technique is often straightforward, without the use of many similes. He is known for the social commentary in his songs, and implies that he just reports things how he sees them, though some critics accuse him of racism for anti-white lyrics such as "caveman" and "devil." His style differed from his N.W.A. days as well, deviating from simple violence or bragging and delving into narratives and political hip hop like several popular East Coast acts of the time.

His work would later inspire artists such as Nas to voice one's aspects and views on society. Ice Cube is known for the use of irony, as in his hit "It Was a Good Day;" he details a day that was good because nobody was shot or sent to jail, using this as a commentary on life in the ghetto (where people are often shot or sent to jail). He also became a well-known battle MC, going for his opponents' credibility, and pioneered the tactic of dissing a rival over their own beat (this was later used by Jay-Z and Beanie Sigel, among others).

His first album, AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, deals with straightforward topics such as poverty, racism and drug abuse in the ghetto; in order for the listener to more easily relate, Cube illustrated points with rapped stories. This was one of the main influences in the early work of both Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G.

Death Certificate was somewhat angrier and very controversial, which led Ice Cube into trouble when some states banned it for derisive remarks to whites and east-asians; he also comments on the hypocrisy of some leaders in the USA and says of Uncle Sam, "I wanna kill Sam 'cause he ain't my motherfuckin' uncle." His subsequent albums have been slightly less outraged in their approach, such as War & Peace vol. 2: The Peace Disk, which focuses on ways to remedy issues such as poverty and violence. However in his later albums, he has collaborated with white artists such as KoRn.

By 2006 for his newest album Laugh Now, Cry Later he updates the situation on society, he speaks out against George W. Bush claiming he is no better than Saddam Hussein making note of the Iraqi War.

See also

External links