Artist: Ice Cube
Representing: The W
Independent Album: Raw Footage
411: "The only rapper who wanna fistfight the president." Ice Cube is still militant and down for whatever. His bravado is turned up to 10, and his ego has him feeling as confident as ever. Still, Cube wants to show his fans the power of street knowledge. It's all there in his new LP Raw Footage.
"People look over the old heads — basically, the fans who are over 25," Cube said of the folks he's trying to reach with the August 19 release. "People look over them, I don't. That's my wheelhouse. My true fans are probably 10 years younger than me, 10 years older than me. That world doesn't buy a lot of records now, but it's my job to get them to check for what I'm doing.
"My record is catering towards the mature hip-hop fan," he added. "The kids might be able to get with it, but it ain't just playing, it ain't just partying — it's reality. To me, this album, Raw Footage, is a real spiritual record. I don't know if I've ever mentioned God on as many records as I do on Raw Footage. But it's a lot that needs to be said. It's an instructional record too. Hopefully some of these people can sidestep some of these pitfalls out there once they hear Raw Footage."
Cube is going on domestic and international promo runs during the next few weeks and said he'd be open to doing a major tour with people such as Young Jeezy, Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne. There will definitely be more albums in the years to come.
"Going independent in 2006 really re-energized me. It rejuvenated me [and] my feelings for the game," he said. "Being on [major] record labels is for the birds. It sucks all your energy out. Because the good ideas you come up with, a lot of times they don't wanna do it. Especially on the promotional tip. They follow these same ancient formulas to sell a record. You gotta be creative in 2008 to sell a record. That's the first thing. When I started doing it independent, it gave me my swagger back and made me feel like I was doing hip-hop and not just doing records for somebody. I just went back to the essence and stopped worrying about the hip-hop fans and started worrying about Ice Cube fans."
Joints To Check For
"It Takes a Nation." "I wanna take it back to the real hip-hop," Cube said. "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back by Public Enemy is one of the records I cherish, I love. I wanted to flip that and put the emphasis more on us and our community, on what we're doing to hold us back. I also wanted to talk about what's going on in the world and how I feel about it and what I'm ready to do. It's not a game. People playing hip-hop like it's a game. Let's get back to talking about what people going through so we can solve some of these issues."
"Why Me?" (featuring Musiq Soulchild). "It's the perspective of a victim," Cube said. "[He's] basically asking his shooter, 'Why me? Why you pick me out of all this?' It goes to random violence. People kill people they don't know. I wanted somebody soulful on the hook to make you really feel what you trying to say. Musiq, I'm a fan of his. I like his voice, I like his vibe. He always keeps that soul in it. He was a perfect pick. 'Why Me?' is gonna be the next video. I haven't done a song like this kinda since 'Dead Homiez,' which was on my Kill at Will album. I'm looking forward to people hearing this song. It's one of the strongest songs on the album."
"I Got My Locs On" (featuring Young Jeezy). "We've established a good relationship with Jeezy because he's also in a movie I wrote called 'Janky Promoters,' " the West Coast legend explained. "Me and Mike Epps play two shady rap [concert] promoters. We bring Jeezy to town and don't have enough money to pay him. We kinda got close doing the movie. [Jeezy] was like, 'Yo, I want you to do a record on my album.' I was like, 'I want you to do a record on mine.' We exchanged songs and concepts, and made it happen. We got a heater on my album called 'I Got My Locs On.' We made it happen."
Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week
» Jadakiss, Sheek Louch and Styles P - 3 Kings
» DJ OnPoint and Vic Damone - T.O.S.
» HipHopGiant - Hoodstrumentals (Queensbridge Edition)
» DJ Whoo Kid and Remo Da Rapstar - Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself
» DJ Omen and Nas - No Apologies (The Most Dangerous MC, Vol. 1)
'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar
» Lloyd (featuring Yung Joc) - "I'm Wit It" remix
» Ace Hood (featuring Brisco) - "Can't See Y'All"
» Jay-Z - "Jockin' Jay-Z (Dope Boy Fresh)"
» Young Jeezy - "Vacation"
» T.I. (featuring The-Dream) - "Like I Do"
» Cassidy featuring Cory Gunz - "Body Bags"
Mixtape Monday Faves
Jeezy gets respect in all cities, and last week at the Ozone Awards, it was Houston's turn to show him love. He performed with special guests Slim Thug and Bun B, and while Bun was onstage, Jeezy dropped a few new bars addressing his past controversy with late UGK rapper Pimp C.
"I had to bring out Bun and get everything straight," Jeezy said backstage. "We took a Gatorade break and got everything straight. We can agree to disagree, but it's all love.
"I took a verse off 'My President,' where I shouted out the whole N.O., shouted out Soulja Slim, Pimp C, BG, Bun — I summed everything up," he added of his verse. "Everybody thought [the situation with me and Pimp] was something else. But it really wasn't that. Before Pimp C passed, he reached out to me and everything was good. I wanted the world to know that. Rest in peace, homie."
The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground
They haven't always seen to eye to eye — especially when Nas declared that hip-hop was dead — but God's Son and Jeezy are pretty much in accord right now. In recent weeks, they've partied together, discussed life and politics, and now, recorded their first collaboration. Nas guests on the Snowman's September 2 LP, The Recession, appearing on "My President."
"Nas is on that joint, by the way," Mr. 17.5 told us during the Ozone Awards. "Murdered it. Esco went in! Esco is a cool n---a, though. I can't even front. He's a thorough n---a. He went in on the record. I don't know what you're gonna think of it. ... I can't even begin to tell you what he said. I'm just telling you, Esco went in."
While publicly telling activists Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson that their days of leading the black community are over, the Queens master of rhyme anoints Jeezy and himself as two of the new leaders.
"I'm always in the 'hood, I'm always in the community," Jeezy explained. "I'mma say this and be frank: A lot of cats come up from the 'hood ranks, and everybody wanna rep the 'hood. Everybody wanna say they did this and that. ... When Nas repped me, I feel a way. I'm a cat from Georgia. He's from New York City, so if he can respect my gangsta, I definitely can respect his and anybody around him. That's why I respect New York so much and Chi-Town. Detroit, same thing, they respect my gangsta." ...
Game's video for "My Life" aired on "FNMTV" on Friday night. In the video, he makes a huge statement about the genre of music he loves so much. The Compton native wears a T-shirt that reads "Hip-Hop Broke My Heart."
"The hip-hop that I'm used to was the hip-hop that 'Express Yourself' came out of, and 'Fight the Power,' " he explained last week in Houston on his way to a radio station. "When KRS was big. When 'The Bridge Is Over' was big. When it was a dis song, but it wasn't a beef song. When the nature of hip-hop was beautiful. No matter what the face of it was that day, the outcome was always dope, man. From the Spice 1s to the Kool G Raps, that's what I miss. When hip-hop evolved and changed and got thrown in a bucket of Kool-Aid, somebody threw too much sugar in it. Now it tastes a little funny. That's why I say hip-hop broke my heart. When I got in, I thought it would preserve itself long enough to at least let me see the hip-hop I was used to, the hip-hop I fell in love with. But it didn't do that. Hip-hop left the job for me to continue on and still pay homage to the way of old. Me and hip-hop be beefing sometimes, but no matter what face hip-hop makes, I'm gonna evolve with it."
"My Life" features Young Buck in a cameo appearance as a thief, and Lil Wayne — who sings the hook — pops up in performance scenes.
"When you're in the studio with Wayne, you could pretty much chill, man, because everything is so easy," Game said. "He's so melody-driven. Once he hits you with an idea, or I come up with an idea, we're straightforward, man. The process is easy. I think me and him could do an album probably in, like, seven days. A classic album! He keeps it 100, I keep it 100. We're both talented MCs. I appreciate him in hip-hop.
"I like the way he evolved," Game added. "If you go back to little Lil Wayne to now, you can see the dramatic changes. He's everywhere. What the f--- can you do besides come behind him? I don't ever put nobody before myself. I feel I'm the greatest alive, I hold it down. But Wayne, he's got it right now. So I don't mind stepping behind for a minute until it's my turn. When it's my turn, my album's gonna run his down, and we'll go at it again next time."
For other artists featured in Mixtape Monday, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.