"Two of the biggest masterminds in West Coast hip-hop are together again," Ice Cube said with a rare smile Tuesday on the Los Angeles set of his latest film, "Torque." "I think that's something exciting."
As if Cube didn't have enough to be excited about with his movie "Barbershop" opening at #1 (see "Ice Cube's 'Barbershop' A Cut Above The Rest At Box Office"), the stone cold MC has once again aligned himself with Dr. Dre and is in the process of becoming an official member of the Doc's Aftermath label.
Cube and Dre rose to notoriety in the groundbreaking gangsta-rap group N.W.A, first appearing together on 1988's classic Straight Outta Compton. When Cube left the outfit in 1989, the two engaged in a war of words on wax only to squash their differences years later. Over the past few years, Cube and Dre have worked together on an occasional cut such as "Natural Born Killaz," "Hello" and "Chin Check," and also toured together as part of the 2000 Up in Smoke tour.
"[Me signing to Aftermath] was something that was kind of in the back in our minds for a while as far as Ice Cube's camp," Cube said. "We kind of felt around and saw if Dre would be interested in something like that. He was all the way with it. Once he was all the way with it, we just started working on putting the deal in place. We're in the process of making it work. Hopefully next year you'll see an album by Cube produced by Dr. Dre. For me it's exciting because my next album could be the best album I ever released. To me that's something that turned me on to where I just want to get on the mic."
In November, while promoting his film "All About the Benjamins" and about a month before releasing his greatest-hits album, Cube told MTV News that 15 years of the music grind was taking its toll on him and that he was leaning more toward Hollywood as a creative outlet.
"Not really burnt out on making music, it's just the routine of doing it year after year after year," he clarified. "What works out for me now at this point in my career is to take breaks in between the records and it builds up my hunger to kinda get back in there. That's what I been doing. Dre coming on and me not having to worry about musically what's going to happen on the record — I just focus on lyrics and songs and content — that excites me, to be able to take a little of that pressure off myself and let the master, which is Dre, handle it."
The pioneers haven't hit the studio yet, but Cube is already penning songs.
"I'm writing," Cube said. "[Dre's] doing music. He's also working on his album. We're trying to get [both albums] to come out around the same time. Tour together. Make it a big, full circle."
Cube said he and Dre probably won't be taking their careers a full 360 degrees by participating in a N.W.A reunion.
"As far as I know, that's not gonna happen no time soon," he said. "I don't even know if I want it to happen now because I don't want to mess up what we've already put together, our legacy. Why even tamper with it if it can't be a smooth thing? If it has to be forced it shouldn't be done."
Cube did do a little tinkering with the "Friday" franchise. He's bringing a little holiday cheer to the next installment, "Friday After Next," which hits theaters November 22. That film centers around the misadventures of Ice Cube and Mike Epps, who star as security guards at a mall around Christmas time. There's already talk of a sequel to "Barbershop," and with its $21 million opening weekend, fans can probably look forward to seeing Cube pick up a pair of clippers again.
"It feels good," he said of the film's success, beaming another smile. "It feels like movie audiences are finally getting comfortable with Ice Cube all the way, where they understand I'm gonna only be involved with good projects if I can help it."
"'Barbershop is a hell of movie," he added. "People that thought they was going in to see a comedy might have got sucked into the story. One thing about 'Barbershop,' when you leave, you just feel better about yourself."
Everything but the good times will be rolling in "Torque," in which Cube plays a biker gang leader out to avenge the death of his brother. The project is the first feature film from music video director Joseph Kahn.