DP versus COMBAT JACK: Ice Cube

no bruno

^ No Bruno!

It’s easy to first look at Ice Cube’s debut and followup solo albums as a contest between Mike Tyson and one of his lesser opponents but don’t cut the ‘Death Certificate’ CD short just because it wasn’t produced by The Bomb Squad like ‘AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted’ was. The common thread that makes AMW and DC both undeniably hardbody classics is that one of rap music’s GOAT (def top 5 DOA) is gripping the microphone.

In between 1987 and 1992 there was no one spitting the disaffection of the ghetto youth better than Ice Cube was. Cube would basically be cut from the cloth that would later on give us Naughty by Nature, 2Pac, Mobb Deep and even Fifty Cent. Stylewise, Ice Cube is the father of danceable rap-nihilism. Think about that. Think about all the sick shit you can say behind some funky-ass bass-filled loops. That’s what Ice Cube did in 1989 when he linked with the producers of Public Enemy’s signature soundscape.

Not to diss any other piece of Hip-Hop music, but ‘AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted’ is a flawless victory. Yes, the production is ridiculous. Between this album and Public Enemy’s ‘Fear Of A Black Planet’ which dropped the following year we hear the last time Hip-Hop would be this sonically dense and layered. Peep the tracklist for ‘AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted‘. I can’t even imagine more than two(2) of these songs being able to be legally published in the current litigation loaded rap game.

When Ivan Rott isn’t sucking at picking NCAA teams or starting a senseless blogger fight he is doing some good for the culture by creating folders of sample sources. Keep up the good work Ivan and stay out of the lane of the dumb shit.

As incredible as the Bomb Squad was at this time they were barely ready to handle the likes of Ice Cube. By the time his first solo LP was completed he had already drafted two(2) mega-classic joints in ‘Eazy Duz It’ and ‘Straight Outta Compton’. The latter of which is the first and only rap album that an architect at my old office asked me to buy for him. ‘AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted is in reality the 4th album that Ice Cube had penned professionally. Dude was this prolific Picasso from the Pacific Coast Highway projects and he established the entire westside as official hardbody status.

NYC reels from those effects even today as the Bloods and Crips gangs have been adopted by disaffected east coast kids. Apparently gangs have decided to merge and consolidate much like their corporate counterparts. I would have never believed that NYC would follow any other places streetcode system but that was the power of Cube’s poetry. I’m going to play a few tracks from ‘AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted’ that show how retarded nice Cube was. For a period of several years he was unfukwittable

ic amw

^ The most menacing cover art evar.

‘AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted’
Yeah, the Bomb Squad, particularly Eric ‘Vietnam’ Sadler produced the FUX out of this album. This was some shit they had been perfecting for years with Chuck D as the frontman over this wall of noise. Ice Cube actually fits in the groove like he studied the Bomb Squad’s bars from afar. Shit is fast and hard [ll]. You couldn’t block Cube’s blows at this point in time. Maybe only G-Rap or Rakim could place in this race.

‘The Nigga You Love To Hate’
Oh shit! If ‘Funky Drummer’ is the most sampled breakbeat in Hip-Hop history ‘Atomic Dog’ is the everlasting bassline. I hate to use this relationship, but Ice Cube is lyrically ruthless. This is how you beat a song down to the ground. Ice Cube’s lyrics are incredible because there are no polysyllabic words in his verses (actually there were two – retaliate and motherfuckers, LOL).

Words that might have been longer are contracted into three-letter, one vowel associations. Penitentiaries are now “pens” while gatling guns are of course “gats”. When rappers today shorten phrases and words it’s done in an effort to say less, Cube shortened words to add more into his verses. Ice Cube was L.A.’s LL Cool J.

‘Who’s The Mack?’
Before you think that Ice Cube has totally migrated into the frenetic sound of the New York City streets he kicks a slick flow over a lazy lowriding bassline. Smooth and deadly.

‘Endangered Species’ featuring Chuck D
Back to killing shit and killing motherfuckers rhymebooks. Ice Cube was the dude who incited the Virginia Beach riots from the cartrunks and pickup trucks of angry college kids. Then it was the Death Certificate’s lyrics that set shit off post-Rodney King trial.

If you told me that Ice Cube would be ‘Are We There Yet’ after ‘Burn Hollywood, Burn’ I would have called you a fool or worse. This is why I haven’t seen any other Ice Cube movie than ‘Friday’. I won’t allow this man to ruin the Ice Cube who I met one night in a smoke filled Soul Kitchen party at S.O.B.’s. That Ice Cube was kidnapped. This new incarnation is a robot.

Check out Combat Jack’s Daily Math later today for his rebuttal regarding the dominance of Death Certificate.

ic dc

35 Responses to “DP versus COMBAT JACK: Ice Cube”

  1. 40 says:

    Cube stays in my top 5 of all time. When I get on a real computer I will expound on the greatness of O’Shea Jackson.

    PS – I’d respect the fuck out of a few NYC MCs if they banded together and formed a version of Westside Connection. Because I still haven’t had a chest thumping “YEAH WE’RE FROM NYC & FUCK WHAT YOU THINK!” project in a while. That actually sounds like NYC rap, not this slick club shit. (Hey Curtis, you can reinvent yourself as the new Cube)

  2. C Grahamz says:

    Rebel Music!!

  3. VEe! says:

    AMW is definitely cool and all that but I have to side with Death Certificate. It was surreal and produced his scathing dis No Vaseline. The cover was also bananas.

    I thought his “Black Korea” track was really stupid and misguided. Then again I always thought people going into the hood “Chinese” Take-out spots and dissing them was simply stupid. Yeah, I know, most take-out spots are far from Chinese. The track was basically an embarrassment.

  4. Ivan says:

    Aw, man… Last I checked someone kicked someone else’s ass on Y! Fantasy Sports… 😀

    iFux w/AMW over DC as well.

    “I haven’t seen any other Ice Cube movie than ‘Friday’.”

    ^ Only Ice Cube movie I’ve seen other than Friday was Boyz n the Hood, Higher Learning, Barbershop and… wait for it… Anaconda! Ouch!

  5. the_dallas says:

    ^ Wasn’t Ice Cube in Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo?

  6. Johnny Sagan says:

    Internets Hip Hop Tastemakers Fam, let’s talk about something real quick: who the FUX is hacking Combat Jack’s site?!? And what can we do to stop it? I just tried to go there and Google Chrome told me that it had detected malware at work in CJ’s code…Rafi, what the hell is going on? It feels like this is CJ’s punishment for trying to own the means of production and build his own site from scratch instead of using WordPress.

  7. ^^
    I meant Breakin’ 2.

    Cube was definitely the Rakim x PE of the West Coast back then.

    AMW vs DC? I can’t even call it. I still listen to both albums, sans track skipping, so I’d probably call a tie, for different reasons. I won’t even get started on my admiration of him as a pup. He was the perennial Vietnam vet of rap music in those days.

    I’ve seen all Cube’s movies, even the ones for kids. He’s got a role in Bow Wow’s upcoming movie, playing an old ass man. & just think; he has a son that’s coming of age. Who knows where that might be headed. Just look at Will Smith’s youngest son. That dudes is about to take Hollywood by storm.

    Anyhoo, Cube is the grandfather of West Coast (gangsta) rap music. Fact.

  8. Jaislayer says:

    Ice Cube is mos def in the Top 5 DOA. AMW is that good shit, it is a classic album. With that said I have to roll with DC. I remember cutting class (shout out Thomas Edison HS) going to Jamaica Ave and copping the tape. At the time this was the illest musical eargasm I ever had. DC said everything I was afraid to say and it spoke to so much shit I was going thru at the time. That album made me really pay attention to how easy you could get fuxed the fux up on these streets or with the police.

    My favorite tracks are “A Bird in the hand”, My summer vacation”, Giving up the nappy dugout”, “True to the game”, “No vaseline”, Steady mobbin'”, “The wrong nigga to fuck wit”, “Alive on arrival”. Damn, thats almost the entire album.

    Cube was that dude in the early 90’s. AMW, DC & the Kill At Will EP, that is some serious music. Rappers don’t make albums like that no more. Damn shame.

  9. stats says:

    cube is trash and for a man trashing rappers for having a simplistic vocabulary you prop this guy up. he was never great i can’t respect a man with such simplistic rhymes. if you say this about cube you have to apologize for everything you’ve said about down south rappers.

  10. the_dallas says:

    Can you and I both agree that you are a fuxing coward? Since you aren’t here for the discussion please kill yourself. thanxgbye

  11. Jaislayer says:

    You can’t be serious. The only rapper from the south that is on Cube’s level is Scarface. We talking classic albums and classic lyrics over here. What other solo southern rapper has a hiphop catalog like Cube’s, with at least two classic albums?

  12. dmitry aka brooklyn jew says:

    @stats dude u been bumpin dat columbian heron up ur nose too much. Cube is da fuckin truth. dudes first three solo albums were crack, both albu,s wit westside connection were great and da nwa album straight outta compton was flawless. I think ur just mad cause he destoyed common on Hoo-bangin no pun intended, (common is a great mc.)

  13. the_dallas says:

    Stats is a scummbaug.

    First and always I will respect the lyrics bitch. This is rap music. You like crap music.

    Ice Cube don’t need to use polysyllabic words because he uses SO DAMN MANY WORDS. You like that shit where clowns repeat the same words ten times.

    “I gotta green car,
    I gotta blue car,
    I gotta red car,
    Call her Tocarra”

    Ice Cube uses HUNDREDS of monosyllabic words. Uniques, no repeats. Are you doing the math? Put some money in the prA’li account and you might could pay your tuition over here.

  14. Willis Still Sunsweet, WWIB says:

    I’ll even defend A LOT of later Cube; he didn’t always dig as deeply as he could but he never never lost it. How many dudes besides Scarface do ambiguity better than Cube?

    “Ghetto Vet”–


    I remember the last GZA and Ice Cube albums came out the same week (or so) couple years back and where GZA sounded like he was about to fall over from boredom on the mic, Cube still killed it (mostly).

    Also, tho’ they picked up the Elvis is a racist stupidity (never been a SHRED of evidence for this; and much to the contrary) from Chuck D. (who realized his error later)…

    Can’t fux with the musical quality of Da Lench Mob–


  15. Ivan says:

    Speaking of Scarface, I wish/think Cube and Face should do a full-length record together.

  16. djfranchise says:

    agreed, ivan! Forget Detox or a rebuilt NWA. Get Face, Cube, and Rakim to do a collabo album with Clark Kent executive producing – then we got a classic.

  17. I don’t think I’d want to see Rakim, Cube & Face. But Ice Cube & Scarface, together on a full length album would be bananites!

    I know you’re not throwing shots @ a man over his usage of words. You “comment” was quite monosyllabic itself. I think you’ve gotten your Ice’s confused. We’re talking about Cube, not T. & even if we WERE talking about Ice T, he’s probably a substantial margin away from your favorite rapper. Wait, you’re probably your favorite rapper. Point proven.

    You don’t even respect yourself enough to capitalize your name. SMH.

  18. RTHSTN says:

    Cube is def top 5 MC DOA if hes is not in your top 10 at least, then I don’t what to fuck to tell you. He is from an old crop of MCs who talked about real issues and had a message. It wasn’t all hooks and beats like it is mostly today. I had the privilege to see Cube at the Paid Dues tour in April. Cube did all the classics and one or two new songs. Cube is a vet and still tore the place the fuck down like he was a young cat trying to take shit over back in the day.

    @Ivan that is a dope concept! That would be a crazy album

  19. djfranchise says:

    RTHSTN, wholeheartedly cosign. I saw Cube in ’95 with Biggie in Detroit when Biggie had a strong buzz from Juicy and Party. Then, Cube came in and set it off like a vet. Biggie stage show paled compared to Cube’s stage presence.

    Performance aside, AMW was a sonic masterpiece. However, Combat Jack made a great point that AMW was Cube’s ES album while DC was his West Coast. Not a bad point…

  20. ICE CUBE has been my favorite MC (1 out of 5) since 1989. Cube has albums that was like movies back in the day. You know how many Sony Walkmans I brokexjux’d listening to Amerikkkas Most? That said, Cube 1st 4 albums(Kill at Will was a EP) are hands down classics. I even give love to Lethal Injection.

    Don’t know if you can argue, Amerikkas Most and Death Certificate. Both are equal. 1st album. Second album. No slack. You might could argue Strictly Business and Unfinished Business b4 you argue them Cube albums.

  21. $yk says:

    Cube was killing the mic. That Lench Mob album was flameolaz too.

    “With da boom, ping, ping/ (blank stare) listen to the new style that I bring bring…”

    Love that ‘Guerillas In Da Mist’ video.

  22. BIGNAT says:

    today was a good day is one of my forever jams. i even got that shit on my phone as a ring tone for one of my good friends.

  23. JWF says:

    I thought AMERIKKKA dropped after FEAR, like PE was March 90 and Cube followed sometime around JUNE. Plus The Bomb Squad did a bit of Bell Biv Devoe’s album that same year. Shocklee and company were amazing.

  24. $yk says:

    Yo let’s not 4get the ‘Kill At Will’ EP

  25. I think AMW & DC are his most talked about because he was fresh off of NWA, & they were still bickering (they were still taking shots on ELIF4ZAGGIN). By the time KAW came out, he was more relaxed with being the one man show, but still Ice Cube. When he tried to bring out JDee & T-Bone, things kind of went haywire, & we wound up with ‘The Predator,’ him smoking out of skull cornpipes & experimenting with rock & roll.

    Cube is the quintessential definition of an “artist,” because he refused to stay stagnant. Even if it meant shitting on people in the process (Kausion, K.Dee, KAM, etc.) Lol.

    How many of y’all cats know that him & Del (Tha Funkee Homosapien) are blood cousins?

  26. Ivan says:

    Just had a quick conversation with Scarface. The rumors that he was working on an album with Cube and Nas aren’t rumors. This. Is. Good. News.

  27. ADB says:

    Cube = one of the GOAT storytelling rappers (along with Slick RIck and Ghostface).

  28. the_dallas says:

    JWF you are correct that AMW(5/90) dropped after FOABP(4/90)

    Grand$, KAW is sandwiched by AMW and DC.

    The Predator is a solid album also. Like I said earlier, 1987-1992 there was NO ONE rapper more complete than Ice Cube

  29. DirtyJerz says:

    Last summer, I was the bbq chef @ my girl’s family reunion in Chicago, and the dj puts on the Isley Brother’s Footsteps In the Dark. I damn near burnt a grill fulla burgers because I stood there stunned watching five 12 year olds go line for line with Cube’s, It Was A Good Day. I damn near got teary eyed when Nanna looked on with the evil eye and they respectfully did their own editing of the curses of what she called, ” that RapDeeRap sh*t!”.

    Definitely goes down as one of my greatest moments in hip hop.

  30. gstatty says:

    yo DP, i was always of the opinion that the Predator album was the G.O.A.T. Cube album, i never felt the other two albums as much-as lyrically amazing as they were-and always thought that The Predator really cemented the West coast sound I would always know and love, of course that was like 1 year prior to what most people think of as the golden era of hip hop.

  31. Thanks DP. I can’t believe I’d forgotten that. Now, that makes sense as to the segue back the the west coast feel of DC. Egg on my face. No homo.

  32. x7an says:

    Hit the nail on the head on this post, DP. DC has been one of my top 10 joints since i first heard it. Couldn’t understand why the Boogie Men never did any more work together. Stopped messing with Cube after I realized dude stays chasing trends but this one remains an unfukwitable classic.

  33. Robbie says:

    ‘Kill At Will’ was better than both. ‘The Product’ >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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