A rapper who postpones studio time with Dr. Dre is either insane or has something else damn good going. Since it's safe to assume Ice Cube is not crazy, he must be fairly pleased with the way his acting career has turned out.
"Every time I do a movie, people ask for a record, and every time I do a record, people ask for a movie, [but] I'm becoming a big-time actor here," Cube said recently on the set of "Barbershop 2." "I'm going to go with the flow, I'm not going to fight it. I'm going be what I am."
That explains why the two former N.W.A rappers have yet to collaborate in the studio, despite announcing the project more than a year ago (see "Dr. Dre To Produce Next Ice Cube Record"). Dre and Cube, however, have been discussing ideas and the latter has no concerns about his follow-up to 2000's War & Peace, Vol. 2 (The Peace Disc).
"I always look at a record like a game — you're worried about the lyrics and the music, kind of like worrying about offense and defense," Cube explained. "When you're with Dre you know the music is going to be right, the production is going to be right. So all you have to worry about is the lyrics and making sure that you're ready to get in the booth and do what you have to do to make a hot record."
Cube has been writing and said the results are similar to his early material, even though his life as a movie star is far different from his childhood in the ghetto.
"I rap about things I have in my heart, stuff that troubles me, things that I've done, seen or heard, like most rappers," Cube said. "Ain't nothing changed — I'm still the same person."
Hip-hop fans will have to wait awhile for the highly anticipated tag-team, but Cube has been kind enough to record something to tide them over, a second Westside Connection album, due December 9 and titled Terrorist Threats (see "Westside Connection To Drop Threats In December"). He will also likely have material on the "Barbershop 2" soundtrack, which, so far, includes an Eve and Mary J. Blige collaboration.
And speaking of movies, Cube has several lined up. After "Barbershop 2," he is scheduled to star in and produce three other films, plus produce and make a cameo in the "Barbershop" spin-off, "Beauty Shop."
"It's showing the women's point of view in a two-hour movie, not just a few scenes like in ours," he said of the Queen Latifah project.
His next starring vehicle will be "Are We There Yet?" with "Snow Dogs" director Brian Levant. "It's me basically with two kids, driving them from one part of the country to another and they can't stand me and I hate them too," he explained. "By the end of it we end up kicking it with each other and digging each other, but I would not call it a family movie ... 'cause I don't want to just do movies that kids love. I want to do movies that everybody loves, from 8 to 80."
Cube will then move on to the inspirational "Willie" (see "Ice Cube Armed With Windex And A Whistle In Next Film Role") and follow that up with an action movie he said is still a big surprise.
As for the former, it's "a true story about a custodian in Louisiana, who ... started coaching the [basketball] team and went 34-0," Cube explained. "It's about all the haterism he got from the other coaches and the town."
Cube has said there will be no more "Friday" movies, but is unsure about making "Barbershop" a trilogy.
"It's all about the people, man," he said. "We'll see how this one does. I don't want to think too far into the future, but if everybody comes back and it's the right script, why not?"