Thursday, August 5, 2010

Video Of The Week: Ice Cube

I find it hard to believe I hadn't featured Ice Cube in my Video Of The Week segments yet...

Born O'Shea Jackson, the man now known for directing pothead comedies and acting in safe, made-for-children light comedies was actually a brilliant, foul-mouthed songwriter and rapper, first with an act called C.I.A. (Cru' In Action), then with the infamous N.W.A. (Niggas With Attitude), in which he took a backseat to star Eazy-E despite being the group's main lyricist. Cube even wrote half the lyrics on Eazy-E's first solo album, Eazy-Duz-It. It didn't take long before he realized he was getting ripped off, so he left the group - and its label, Ruthless Records, which happened to be owned... by Eazy.

Cube's career soon really took off, with 5 successful solo releases between 1990 and 1994, a successful foray into the world of film with a co-starring role in Boyz N Da Hood, and a verbal war with his former N.W.A. mates Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, MC Ren and DJ Yella (as can be heard on N.W.A.'s 100 Miles And Runnin' and Cube's single 'No Vaseline').

The mid-to-late-90s saw Ice Cube act in more movies rather than make solo albums, although he would regularly contribute a track to the film's soundtrack, often one that described, pretty much word-for-word, his character's storyline in the flick, such as Higher Learning's 'Higher', or the title song to Friday. He also tried forming an aggressive-rap supergroup but came up short with Westcoast Connection, whose only star was himself, with relative unknowns Mack 10 and WC providing support.

His 1997 acting turn alongside Jennifer Lopez in the crap-fest that was Anaconda was what brought him to the mainstream, and it was pretty much downward from there - from 'black' comedies to safer-and-weaker (and less and less funny) 'family' comedies.

To counter-balance this, Cube starting getting his rap back on, first with his dual War and Peace concept discs, then with the hardest rap he'd ever done, bringing the political side of his early N.W.A. days mixed in with possibly needlessly aggressive and swear word-heavy in amazing tracks like 2008's 'Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It'.

Two years later, we are here, with the upcoming I Am The West, and its lead-off single, 'Drink The Kool Aid', linked here, and appearing below, in a video directed by Dah Dah. He is quoted as saying, by the Baller Status website, that the lyrics aren't attacks on Eminem (whose latest album is called Recovery) and Dr. Dre, but rather ''just style and grace''. Here are the lyrics:
I ain't the doctor / This ain't the patient
This ain't that nigga always on vacation
This ain't no white boy's rehabilitation
This is crazier then a boat full of Haitians
In any event, it's in the same vein as Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It: brash, funny, smart, groovy, and very good.

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