The classic [artist id="9619"]Ice Cube[/artist] scowl is still there, but for his new video, "I Rep That West," the veteran rapper ditched the familiar Compton imagery, taking it way back ... to the American Old West.
Director Gabriel Hart (Young Jeezy, Plies, B.o.B) said he wasn't sure what treatment to deliver to Cube. He thought the MC would likely be more comfortable with his typical Cali backdrop. But in the clip, which premiered Monday (May 10) on Yahoo! Music, the onetime N.W.A lyricist barks his commanding lyrics from a desert-like set that evokes the Wild West, decked out in a sombrero and poncho.
"I started thinking about all the cliché sh-- that goes along with L.A. videos," Hart told MTV News. "Stuff that had been killed before. Cube gets on the phone and I give him ideas, but I wasn't confident or standing behind what I was saying. He told me it was cliché. And he was right. He's done everything already, so what can he do that's never been done? If you see my videos, I always want to do something different. But how do you tell Cube, 'I don't wanna do that sh-- no more, I don't want to do any f---ing dominoes'? So, respectfully, I was like, 'Let's do this and that.' And he said, 'No.' So, in my mind, I was actually like, 'Thank you.' Then he said, 'We're going to the Old West,' and hung up the phone. That was the conversation."
Hart took the rapper's concept and fleshed it out with his own ideas. In the clip, Cube is seen in the California sunshine, but his drop-top low rider pulls up to a ranch marked "Pioneertown" as the first sequence begins.
Outlaw Cube soon makes his presence known in town, pulling off a bank heist with help from W.C. and "I Rep That West" producer Jigg. The Los Angeles Coliseum and the famous Hollywood sign also pop up in the clip, the first from Cube's forthcoming release I Am the West, due in July.
"As long as I knew [Cube] was with what I wanted to do, I knew what realm to be in," Hart said of the visual. "I knew, creatively, how he wanted it presented."
Does Cube's new video really represent for the West Coast? Let us know in the comments!