Now, with the impending release of Laugh Now, Cry Later, his first solo album released on his own Lench Mob Records, Ice Cube is on top of his creative game and relishing in his ability to make his latest album at his own pace and on his own terms.
We all know that Ice Cube, founding member of NWA and former "hardcore gangster rapper," performs in family-friendly fluff comedy flicks aimed at the most mainstream of family audiences, but no one with any sense cuts him serious flack for that. Not only are the Friday
and Barber Shop
movies pretty great, but do you have any idea how big his bank account is by now? When it comes to music, what is the dude to do? It's obviously his first love, but he has about three choices: to work with the Neptunes and try to update himself; to go completely middle America and do a Broadway revue or something; or he can do what he's always done: flex his lyrical muscles, squint a lot, bark out some hardcore lines on top of slick hip-hop--you know, to try and restore his cred. A glance at the song titles will tell you which choice he made. It's interesting to know that the very rich still have problems ("Child Support") and even millionaires have to convince us all that they're tough just like they did when they were broke-ass ("Why We Thugs"). There's some real political commentary here, but it gets lost in uninspired beats and that super-dated style, genre... everything. It would seem that Cube's producers forgot to tell him that no one really cares for that '92 stuff anymore. --Mike McGonigal