Since the highly publicized split with fellow (?) rappers N.W.A, the outstanding debut solo album and subsequent EP, and a leading role in the film ‘Boyz n the Hood‘, one of the most important rappers of the moment is back with a (literally) revolutionary hip-hop album. Cube has traded his ‘jhericurls’ for a shaved head, aligned his sympathies with the Nation of Islam, deepened his connection to the South Central streets, and, in collaboration with ‘Da Lench Mob‘, has created one of the ‘dopest’ hardcore hip-hop records of all time.
The album consists of a death side (‘a mirrored image of where we [black people] are today’) and a life side (‘a vision of where we need to go’). Apart from the usual ghetto expletives, which in themselves have sparked intense discussions, this LP contains statements that ‘some’ perceive as highly racist and/or personal attacks on their race or religious beliefs. Unjustly so! In and of themselves, I can agree that these statements are not admirable. But within the context of a song, the entire album, the history of black music, the US, and not to mention world history, no!
What Ice Cube is attempting to do with you, the listening audience, is to initiate a discussion. A discussion about issues that, despite all efforts, far too many people overlook. Those people (perhaps including yourself) need to be awakened first and then realize that they cannot participate in this discussion without being open to and knowledgeable about other cultures. In other words, this LP compels the listener to delve deeper into the origins of it all. Those who fail to do so cannot offer a meaningful opinion.
Moreover, after careful listening, it becomes evident that the so-called attacks on other communities often amount to nothing more than, indirectly, attacks on one’s own community – from one’s own perspective. Through references to Whites, Jews, Koreans, Gay’s, Interracial lovers, Gangsters, Good guys, Bad Girls, N.W.A, the military, carriers of venereal diseases, etc., Cube holds up a mirror that does not lie. NO ONE comes out unscathed, or in other words: an honest glimpse into the racial/group dynamics of the world (especially the US) that is highly educational for ALL OF US. In short, it would be a disservice to deny humanity access to this discussion, this LP, or this life perspective.
So go ahead and buy that record ‘you must learn’ [BDP]. In collaboration with the nastiest heavy funk production of 1991, this LP is at the very least fascinating, interesting, and intriguing, or simply put, ‘ice-cold the best’!
Published in Dutch in Holland Nieuws 1991