As the clock struck midnight on April 29, ringing in the 20-year anniversary of the day three police officers were acquitted in the Rodney King trial and the start of the Los Angeles riots, Ice Cube was imploring a sold-out crowd at KDAY's Krush Groove concert at L.A.'s Gibson Amphitheatre to never forget what happened in 1992.
The upheaval fueled the direction of Ice Cube's The Predator later that year. The album remains his career bestseller, a home to express songs like "We Had to Tear This Mother----a Up" as well as a wry hit like "It Was a Good Day." Two decades on, he still believes in music as a vehicle for social change.
"People have music in their hearts," Cube told MTV News before stepping onstage. "Music ain't about the charts. It's about how you feel about a certain song. I know people who have music and music changed their life just by hearing a song. It could be an old song. It could be a song that people thought was thrown away and you can hear it and it can inspire you. So, I think music has always had the power to change, heal, bring understanding and bring people together."
After serving up his best-known 'hood and Hollywood anthems, Ice Cube brought his rapping sons OMG and Doughboy to offer a taste of a collaboration they'll bring on his next album.
"I think I'm gonna call it Everything's Corrupt," he revealed. "It's just really hardcore West Coast hip-hop — what I do. I don't think changing the formula is what should be done. I think it's all about do what you do best and give the people what they want."
Cube stays busy with his film and television pursuits and has talked about several ideas that are in development, including creating a dramatic television series for FX called "Eye for an Eye," in which he'll play an ambulance driver with a mission to avenge victims of violence.
"It's a great series as far as the idea, the concept," he said. "We're still trying to find that top-notch A-list writer who will want to be with us in the long haul, be with the project and ready to go. So, we want to find the best because we think the premise of the show is great.
"I play a guy who is an ambulance driver. He's basically not really qualified as a paramedic, more EMT kind of dude, and he's sick of seeing all these victims," he explained. "He wants to do something to give them some kind of revenge. So, it's an eye for an eye — whatever you do to your victim, same thing can happen to you."
Longtime collaborator F. Gary Gray has signed on to direct the planned biopic of N.W.A, which Ice Cube says is "full steam ahead."
"We're excited about him being part of the project, and the script is getting tighter and tighter, and once the script is tight as sweaty butt cheeks, we'll put it out, and we'll start working on it.
" 'Friday' is the same thing," he said of the anticipated fourth installment of his popular movie franchise. "I'm almost finished with the script, so as soon as we can finish the script, fast motion on it."
Which of Ice Cube's upcoming projects are you most looking forward to? Share your thoughts in the comments below!