‘I AM THE WEST’ is the name of my new record…This shit is cocky, no apologies, west coast gangsta shit. I can’t help it. That’s what I do…”-Ice Cube via IceCube.com
Seems that O’shea Jackson has finally decided to do what he should’ve been doing for years. At least as long as Dr. Dre has been doing it, according to my guesstimation. Maybe even more so, based on his past alliances, which predate any Death Row Records releases & spanned clear across the USA, before such activities were the trendy thing to do. Back then, Ice Cube, Brother J & Chuck D were the last three niggas a White man would want to meet in a dark alley. Back then, Cube’s gangsta defiance straddled the Black power/street knowledge line with perfection.
Then suddenly, he was beefing with his old label (Ruthless Records-helmed by Jerry Heller & Eric Wright), biting the hands that fed him, & making movies, for man, woman & child alike. But that’s neither here nor there. According to Ice Cube, he’s returning, to save “us” from ourselves, & bring the West Coast back, whether we agree or not. But see, I know a few people that wouldn’t necessarily be so quick to hail him as “the appointed one.”
Meet Mack 10, J. Dee, Short Khop, Kay Dee & Kausion. All former “employees” of Jackson’s various entertainment companies over the years. All drowned in obscurity, or are carefully treading water, without so much as a shout out from Ice Cube. Not that my ear’s to the business end of the music, but that’s kinda a bad look for a dude on a mission to convince an entire coast that he’s our savior. OG or otherwise. With such legendary status, one would assume that Cube could just release some new heat, without the boasts & proclamations that may get him labeled a hypocrite. Word on the L.A. streets is (& has always been) that Cube is an even less-fair boss than Andre Young. Which would explain why every new artist he broke-no pun intended-went their separate way in no time. But I digress.
For the most part, gangsta rap is dead. I’ve said that if anyone could bring it back, it would be 50 Cent. But telling broads to get rich off his dime & his sperm is not at all gangsta, so no dice there. Ice Cube may be on some stem-cell, clone research shit with this one.
Point blank, the West Coast sound has evolved. Like it or not. Bishop Lamont, Glasses Malone, Blu, U-N-I, Fashawn, even Nipsey Hu$$le & Game are today’s youthful explosions of expression. Ice Cube is more or less the disconnected uncle who, while sage & wise, is from another era. Period. With all due respect, a dinosaur, if you will. Dinosaur, in the sense that, while still “dangerous”, new weapons have been designed that render a dinosaurs strong points ineffective, if you smell my cologne. A vicious roar can be frightening, but a single shot from a .50 caliber hand cannon is much, much scarier.
I’m old enough to appreciate Cube’s contributions to Hip Hop, & more specifically, West Coast gangsta music. That said, I’d much rather him, or any other originator, go out on a high note, rather than flail for relevance in an industry that puts expiration dates on niggas’ press packets. Just saying. I figured his son would be rapping by now, really though. That might actually be the smarter move. Just saying.