Hard­core hip- hop

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Music -

FOUND­ING gangsta rap­per Ice Cube has ev­ery­body in his sights.

‘‘ I am an equal op­por­tu­nity of­fender,’’ Cube ( pic­tured) says.

‘‘ No­body is safe. Ev­ery­body gets crit­i­cism. Ev­ery­body de­serves crit­i­cism.’’

Cube, born O’shea Jack­son, has al­ways mixed pol­i­tics, so­cio- eco­nomics and street knowl­edge in a rap ca­reer span­ning 25 years.

He was in the hip- hop su­per­group NWA with Dr Dre and Eazy E be­fore go­ing solo in 1990.

His em­pire now in­cludes hit movies, film and tele­vi­sion pro­duc­tion and parochial LA splin­ter group West­side Con­nec­tion.

This year also marks the 21st an­niver­sary of Death Cer­tifi­cate, a po­tent al­bum that man­aged to out­rage ev­ery­body. At the time, Ice Cube was ac­cused of be­ing racist and misog­y­nist.

For Cube, it also fol­lowed steep learn­ing curves with Dr Dre in NWA and noted New York pro­duc­ers The Bomb Squad.

‘‘ I had grown up a lot,’’ Cube, 42, says. ‘‘ But there was no Dre or Bomb Squad to lean on.

‘‘ It was what we had learned go­ing through very dif­fer­ent schools of mak­ing top- notch hip- hop.’’

Lyri­cally, Death Cer­tifi­cate ’ s tar­gets in­cluded black men, loose women, white Amer­ica, Jewish man­agers and Korean gro­cers.

Cube shrugs: ‘‘ The ones who can’t han­dle it usu­ally bark the loud­est.’’

Cube also brought a ruckus with West­side Con­nec­tion crew, LA rap peers WC and Mack 10. Each came from dif­fer­ent gang ter­ri­to­ries. ‘‘ West­side Con­nec­tion was about show­ing unity of the west coast,’’ Cube says.

‘‘ WC and I are from a Crip neigh­bour­hood and Mack 10 is from a Blood neigh­bour­hood. But those records showed we could work to­gether.’’

West­side Con­nec­tion also emerged dur­ing the east coast and west coast feud­ing, which re­sulted in the mur­ders of rap­pers Tu­pac and Big­gie Smalls.

‘‘ I think there was some­thing brew­ing, a re­sent­ment, that the west coast was so pop­u­lar,’’ Cube says.

‘‘ East coast artists weren’t get­ting the same amount of re­spect or sales.

‘‘ There were a lot of jabs thrown. Big­gie and Tu­pac were so large at the time, they be­came the poster chil­dren for it.’’

Sim­i­larly, Cube is an­noyed by the cur­rent face of hip- hop rap­pers cash­ing in with house and techno col­lab­o­ra­tions.

‘‘ A lot of guys are chas­ing money,’’ he says. ‘‘ Some record com­pany col­lab­o­ra­tions are great, but most are forced and you can al­ways tell the dif­fer­ence. ‘‘ To me, noth­ing beats a hip- hop beat. ‘‘ You put rap over R’N’B, house or jazz and it takes some punch out. It makes the raps less sharp.’’

Ice Cube is work­ing on his 10th solo al­bum. He re­cently tweeted a new track, ti­tled Every­thing Cor­rupt, that de­fines the new record. ‘‘ It’s pol­i­tics and re­al­ity,’’ Cube says. ‘‘ I think that’s what peo­ple re­spect about my mu­sic and it’s what I’ll al­ways de­liver.’’

At home, Cube is mar­ried with five chil­dren. He ex­pects his kids to ap­ply them­selves and work hard.

‘‘ I don’t want them to chase money,’’ Cube says. ‘‘ I want them to put en­ergy into do­ing great work.’’

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