Ice Cube Ready To Work On Solo LP, Still In Talks With Dre

Rapper-actor a free agent while Aftermath deal remains in limbo

He may be a movie star, with “Torque” and the hit “Barbershop 2: Back in Business” currently in theaters, but Ice Cube’s not dropping the mic. Indeed, the actor is diving even deeper into the world of breakbeats and hardcore raps as he begins his next solo LP.

“It’s gonna be whatever it develops into,” the West Coaster said of the LP. “We just started considering it. I’m gonna turn off everything, both videos and music, feel my inner thoughts and start writing a record.”

Even as the frowning MC adds new chapters to his book of rhymes, he’s not sure what label he’ll record them for. Although he told MTV more than a year ago that he and his N.W.A co-founder Dr. Dre were close to finalizing a deal to bring Cube to Dre’s Aftermath label (see “Dr. Dre To Produce Next Ice Cube Record” ), the two have yet to agree on terms.

“We haven’t been able to come up with the right deal with Aftermath,” Cube admitted. “Sometimes the hardest part of making these records, when you’ve got two superstars, is coming up with a deal everyone agrees on. So until we do, I’m considered a free agent.”

When you’re sitting pretty in Hollywood like Cube, you can afford to drag out negotiations. He’s signed on for the “XXX” sequel, due next year, in which he’ll star as an extreme secret agent — but not the Xander Cage character that Vin Diesel played (see “Ice Cube Signs On To Make ‘XXX’ Movie” ).

“They’re doing a new ‘XXX’ concept every time,” Cube clarified. “It’s cool. I’m glad to get in on the second rather than the fifth one. We’re still working on the script. I want to tailor-make the part for me. I don’t want to do what Vin did, ya know? Our movie should stand alone like his.”

Speaking of standing alone, word is that Westside Connection’s three members may go their separate ways due to friction in the group. While Cube wouldn’t elaborate on the trio’s rumored beef, he also didn’t rule out trying to increase sales of their most recent album, Terrorist Threats.

“We think about puttin’ tours together whenever time permits,” he said. “My movie schedule is crazy. I don’t want to run myself too hard, so we still tryin’ to figure it out.”

For more Hollywood happenings, check out MTV’s Movie House.