SXSW '08: Waiting For Ice Cube

There is a long-running joke in the industry about so-called "hip-hop time," which basically means that if you have an interview scheduled with a rapper, it will never, ever start on time.

So, not surprisingly, when MTV super-producer Andrew Millard and I arrived at the Austin Convention Center for our 12:45 chat with the legendary Ice Cube, who's headlining a showcase tonight, we knew we'd have some time to kill. After all, Cube is one of the guys who practically invented "hip-hop time" (and gangsta rap too). But little did we know that we'd be killing that time in a sparse "dressing room," which was little more than a giant bathroom with some potted plants thrown in for good measure.

So we waited. We rearranged the potted plants. We adjusted the camera. And then we readjusted it. Finally, at roughly 1:30 p.m., Cube himself strode into the room, laughed at a joke we made about the place looking like a florist's bathroom, threw on the microphone and got down to business.

We spoke about his politically charged new album, Raw Footage, about George W. Bush and the war in Iraq, and even about his experiences at South by Southwest (he checked out the Clipse and Kid Sister, and marveled "at some band that set up in a parking lot and started playing next to our car"). We also put him through our 5X5 @ SXSW questions:

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We only got about 10 minutes before his publicist told us he had to go, but the wait was totally worth it. And as he left the room, he forgot to unhook his mic, and his motion sent the whole thing tumbling to the linoleum floor. Cube stopped, laughed for a second, and exited the room by saying, "Damn, that's the only mic I ever dropped. "

We told you the dude was a legend.

Check in with the Newsroom blog throughout SXSW for more highlights, and be sure to visit our sister blog You R Here for concert reviews, photos and more.