At exactly 1:30pm, in between an informal lunch and lazy post, my cellphone slipped off the counter, vibrating how it does when my alarm goes off. I grabbed my notepad, ran to a desolate place and slammed the door. One minute later, the desk phone flashed. “Hey this is Ice Cube,” the line on the other end of the receiver said. I wasn’t expecting him to call me himself. Routine suggested that I had a second to gather my composure. I was expecting a publicist, who normally is the liaison between interviewer and interviewees, but when you have a “crazy motherf***er straight out of Compton” on the line, there’s no time to be starstruck.
Ice Cube–real name O’ Shea Jackson–is one of the original “N****s With Attitude.” His rap group NWA used the “n-word” as an expressive term to chronicle life growing up as a black man in Compton. Poverty, violence and police brutality had finally become mainstream issues. Their hardcore message was more than anything late 1980s music was used to and pushed boundaries other races didn’t even know existed. Ice Cube and his team’s breakthrough proved therapeutic for the oppressed.
Cube has managed to do what most other artists would sell their soul to the devil for, stay relevant in a ever-changing music climate. He’s expanded from rapper to actor; from producer to director. As a die-hard Oakland Raiders fan, he was tapped by the Pepsi NFL Anthems program to create “Come And Get It,” a football anthem that acts as soundtrack for the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
After 30 plus years in the game, Ice is still passionate about Hip-Hop and and that good ole’ pigskin. Keep reading to find out his thoughts on “Django Unchained;” Ray Lewis vs Lawrence Taylor; newcomers Drake, Trinidad James, Kendrick Lamar; and so much more…
TheUrbanDaily: Being such a football lover, who is the greater linebacker? Ray Lewis or Lawrence Taylor?
Ice Cube: [Laughs] Aww damn. I think they’re all great for different reasons. I would have to say Ray Lewis because even though my man [LT] changed the game I just think Ray Lewis is not only a great player but a great leader of men on and off the court. So I have to put him a little bit above LT. LT was good on the field but personally…ya know…
TUD: Beyonce or Rihanna?
IC: Neither one of them.
TUD: You have two sons who rap, what advice do you give them?
IC: To love the art and whatever you get out of it is great. If you love music and putting it together and that’s the fun part, then whatever you get out of it will be great. If you try to fall in love with the lifestyle and you want to do this to get a lot of money, then it will be a harder road. It will be an uphill battle. That’s how I came into it. I had fun putting Hip-Hop together, putting music together and then we looked up and NWA was the world’s most dangerous group. It all amounted to gravy to me because I never expected it.
TUD: If they were to remake “Boys N’ The Hood” which one of your sons would be able to play your character?
IC: Both of them could do it. I’ll say Junior can play me because he looks the closest to what I look like. We’re trying to actually get him to play me in the NWA movie.
TUD: Since you brought up NWA. How do you feel about the whole “Django Unchained” debate and the use of the “n-word”?
IC: It’s part of the language. It’s like profanity. It’s part of how people communicate. It works in a way. It’s like a knife, you can use a knife to cut your food with or you can use a knife to cut somebody up with. The same with that word or any kind of word that pierces the ear. There are other words that pierce the ear. You use it at your discretion. It’s a word that you have to dissect the meaning every time you hear it and that makes people uncomfortable but it’s like keeping people from saying it, won’t keep people from thinking it. The thing is, you say it enough it loses it’s bite and might and that’s what happened. I heard two white boys fighting and the one of them said ‘Yeah I’ll kill you n****.’ It’s like yeah OK [Laughs]. It’s not a word you can put back into the bottle. The thing is it will lose it’s potency like any other word that is overused.
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TUD: Speaking of movies, you’re working on one now with Kevin Hart?
IC: It’s called “Ride Along” I play this undercover detective and he wants to marry my younger sister and join the academy but I hate him. So I decide to take him on a ride along and scare the sh*t out of him. It’s the funny version of “Training Day.” That dude is one of the best comedians I’ve ever worked with. I put him up there with Mike Epps, John Witherspoon. [He's] a top notch pro at it can make anyone laugh!
TUD: Perfect segway into my next question about the whole “Friday” discussion…
IC: Everyone is wondering what’s going on but we’re really waiting on New Line Cinema to give us their notes on the script so we can finish. Until we get that we can’t go any further. But we’re on deck.
TUD: Is Chris Tucker coming back?
IC: I hope so. We’ve talked about it. The script is funny and it’s going to be the sh*t, but it has to be where he is confident. So we’re going to try to get it to that point.
TUD: Favorite rapper on the radio? And what are you listening to?
IC: I don’t listen to the radio, so I don’t know who’s on the radio. I’m working on a record so I’m not really listening to anybody. You are influenced by other people, it’s human nature. The fans deserve an Ice Cube record that’s not about trying to be influenced by all these other dudes that are hot. They don’t want me to try and sound like Trinidad James. I’m still a B-boy at heart. Kendrick Lamar is dope…
TUD: Are you a Drake fan?
IC: Yeah I am. I think he’s dope. I think he’s one of the dopest out there that’s all around. He’s a dope producer, rapper and I haven’t seen him perform so that’s the last thing I have to see to see if he can pull off the trifecta. He’s one of the best out there to ever do it.
Watch the making of Ice Cube song “Come And Get It.”
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