DAR Legends: Ice Cube

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal 
-The N.W.A. gave us so many legendary hip hop artists and moments. While Dr. Dre is probably the biggest name from the group, and Eazy E is the most infamous, the most well rounded of the group and the most talented was always Ice Cube. Debuting with N.W.A. in the late 80's as the wordsmith of the group, Cube would begin to carve out his own legacy once he broke away from the legendary group. We've discussed the legacy of N.W.A. as a group, but what makes Cube special is that he created a full fledged legacy while away from the group following his departure as the 1990s began. Starting with his appearances in multiple films like Boyz N The Hood and Trespass, as well as his amazing solo albums "Amerikkka’s Most Wanted", "Death Certificate", and "The Predator", Cube's early years were formative to his growth as a future mogul. Today, we take a look at the legend that is Ice Cube, not just in music, but in terms of influence, films, and what he represents. Cube is one of the realest to ever do it. Let's take a look at his legacy.

We all know how vital NWA was to the West Coast in the late 80’s. They were controversial, politically driven and unfiltered with a ton of talent packed into a six person group. They seemed to be unstoppable until of course the group started falling apart and members ventured off to pursue solo careers,with the most notable being Ice Cube.

It’s no secret that Cube was talented. We saw that in all the songs he wrote, the performances and in his confident “don’t give a fuck” attitude in interviews. It would be 2 years after the release of NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton” that fans would get Cube’s solo debut, which would just be the beginning of long run for him. He not only gave us album after album, but we would acquaint ourselves with him as an actor too. For someone who prides himself on his cultural background, he stayed true to that in every project whether musically or on screen. Ice Cube has an extensive and solid catalog and each project has it’s own place and importance. Since I can’t talk about each one, I'll give you a couple of my favorite aspects of Cube.

His hunger and drive was evident as he was disassociating himself with NWA and establishing himself as a skilled and legendary MC, so when he put out “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted”, this album was a true extension of what he started with NWA. The lyrics were still aggressive, politically charged and insanely controversial. His rhyming skills and delivery are undeniable. Each track challenges the “norm” and forces listeners to question the political system and socioeconomic matters that were plaguing the nation at the time, which makes this a unique album and a great one at that. My favorite tracks on the album is “The Nigga Ya Love To Hate”, “Once Upon A Time In The Projects”, and of course the title track. “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted” became regarded as a classic over the years and remains relevant some 27 years later.

It was (almost immediately) following the release of Cube’s debut that he would start filming “Boyz N The Hood” which kicked off his acting career. While I appreciated him as “Doughboy", it wasn’t until 1995’s release of “Friday” that I saw his growth as an actor. He was smoother, more relaxed and brought his characters to life, which makes this my favorite Ice Cube movie. His chemistry with Chris Tucker was unmatched and they made light of a typical “Friday” packed with all the drama of their neighborhood, parents, local female interests (Ms. Parker) and of course, weed. This was incredibly entertaining and became Ice Cube’s most recognizable role and definitely a fan favorite. Although the roles he would take on afterwards would be in the same vein, over the years, as Cube aged and matured so did his characters. He wasn’t the trigger happy trouble making guy or the weed smoking neighborhood hustler that had us laughing for hours. Ice Cube’s film career would take him through various roles from amazon jungle cameraman to cop to barber and everything in between, and he’d keep us entertained with each one.

It may seem ordinary to go from rapping to the big screen, especially now since “anyone can do it”, but Ice Cube did this with tremendous impact. He ruffled feathers with his music, became the most controversial artist at the time while entertaining us with his movie roles. This proved how incredibly versatile, talented and accomplished he was. I also appreciate Ice Cube's down to earth relatability (through music) and consistently fun and humor-ridden moves roles, which he has maintained from his days with NWA when he was just 19 years old until now. Although his rapping days may be numbered (or not), Cube remains making appearances in upcoming movies and reminding us of his many years of talent and expertise. He has set a standard that has impacted many artists and his characters continue to be a highlight on film.

We all know Cube's origins and fallouts with NWA and I'm sure a lot of people thought his career would be over after that, but he showed and proved all the naysayers wrong with the release of his 1990 solo debut "AmeriKKKas Most Wanted". The album would end up going platinum within a few months of its release. He went platinum even faster with the release of his third album "The Predator". This album was led by "It Was A Good Day", which is one of those songs that I consider a summer classic like Will Smith's "Summertime". At the same time, Cube was making appearances in John Singleton's "Boyz N The Hood" (1991), "Higher Learning" (1995), and  "Trespass" (1992) alongside Ice-T, which was funny due to their names. These roles weren't really breakout for Cube however being that they were similar to his rap persona that we'd already known, but that would change. After being encouraged to write scripts himself, Cube co-wrote "Friday" along with DJ Pooh. That role put him over the top. I remember when it came out, the whole hood had it on bootleg. Everyone was reciting the lines. It became a hood staple.

In 1996, he hooked up with Mack 10 and the crip walkin WC to form West Side Connection. Their biggest and most known hit was "Bow Down". As he was becoming a household name, Cube was doing a bevy of films while trying to maintain his music career. He did features here and there, one of my favorites being Lil Jon's "Grand Finale" featuring Nas, Jadakiss, T.I, & Bun B, and Cube who bodied his verse. During the 2000s, he put out quality albums but the sales weren't reflecting that. It's like the world had become accustomed to him as an actor, which luckily for him worked out because it kept him relevant. He's had great transitioning in picking roles.

Let's take a look at some of those roles. In his career, he's played the following:

A camera man in "Anaconda", 
A soldier in "Three Kings" 
A business owner in "Barbershop"
A coach in "The Longshots" 
A special agent in "XXX", 
A teacher in "Fist Fight" 
A family man in "Are We There Yet"

The list goes on. I think the most surprising roles for Cube would be when we've see him playing a cop, when his famous saying is "Fuck The Police". A lot of credit should be given to Cube for helping advance comedians careers. Chris Tucker, Mike Epps, Katt Williams, and even Kevin Hart, though he was hot before working with him. Their time working together was important to note because "Ride Along" is Hart's highest grossing film. When it comes to rappers turned actors, Will Smith may be the most talented & successful but I've enjoyed Ice Cube's body of work more, with him appearing in nearly 40 films and fans are still awaiting the final installment of the Friday series, which is coming. 26 years in Hollywood and he's still able to fill theater seats. Cube is a legend.

Outro By @TrueGodImmortal 
-With his Big 3 league coming soon, the long awaited Last Friday movie underway, and yet another album to be released (this time through Interscope), Cube is once again back at the helm right now. He stands to make more money off the success of this Big 3 league, which is actually an amazing thing to put together for retired NBA players. As a NBA fan myself for years, the opportunity to get watch Allen Iverson play once more in a league is a reality due to Cube. In addition to that, one of my all time favorite comedies are Friday, and I loved the Next Friday sequel as well. Getting one final Friday movie with perhaps Chris Tucker as Smokey again, and all the original characters would be absolutely a  perfect way to close the franchise out. We saw Cube close out the Barbershop franchise with the third film, so I assume he would want to do his most iconic franchise justice by ending it off just right.

In addition to the final Friday installment, Cube has another album on the way and he just celebrated a re-release of what I feel is his best album "Death Certificate". Musically, over the years, Cube has given us classics (and a few misses), but he's still hungry for more, and that's always good to see in legends, especially those who have been in the game for 30 years. Through his acting career, directing and writing career, and of course, his music career, Cube has remained a staple in pop culture and stood as one of the more important legends of our generation. He's seen by many as one of the greatest rappers ever, and who could dispute that given he gave the world three straight solo classics after giving the world classics with NWA. Love him or hate him (and I'm sure most love him), Cube is one of the most vital legends to this game and he deserves to be recognized for what he's done. Period.



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