Peace Sells, But Who's Buying?

Delayed, but not denied

What? It's Y2K already? Can't be! See, Ice Cube's War & Peace album was due originally in the beginning of 1998! Come to think of it, the first volume of the set (The War Disc) wasn't finally unleashed until November of that year. There's just no way the second volume, (The Peace Disc), would take another two years to hit the streets!

Well, believe it or not, it's true. For one of the few times in the history of the recording industry, delaying the release of an album just might end up making commercial sense. With Dr. Dre having just scored a major success with the very West Coast Dr. Dre 2001 and an N.W.A reunion album in the works, not letting Ice Cube's funk-driven (The Peace Disc) loose until 2000 may just turn out to be one brilliant move. Especially since, no matter the year, the bulk of the West Coast gangsta-funk on (The Peace Disc) just cooks.

True, Cube hasn't really changed his sound since he chilled with Mack 10 and WC in Westside Connection, but this album features a bass-heavy groove that compliments his angry delivery much better than the R&B-fused tracks he gained fame with. This is by far Ice Cube's most dance-friendly record — even if songs such as "You Ain't Gotta Lie (To Kick It)" (RealAudio excerpt), "You Can Do It" and "Roll All Day" sound designed mainly to shake the maximum amount of homes when blared from a car-stereo system.

Given the title (The Peace Disc), could Ice Cube be going all Native Tongues on us, covering P.M. Dawn tunes while wearing African robes? Not a chance. Only a few tunes here have "positive" themes, highlighted by "Until We Rich"

(RealAudio excerpt), an engaging collaboration with Krayzie Bone that finds Cube rapping feel good-isms in Tony Robbins mode ("Get your mind right/ Get your grind right"). Mostly, this is your standard smoking, partying, I-could-kill-you if-I-wanted-to Ice Cube fare, as he raps defiantly about "politicians and parents always having a fit" ("24 Mo' Hours") and "Don't shit make us nervous/ Not even when these fuckin' feds try to serve us" ("Nigga of the Century").

There are cautionary business tales, such as "Record Company Pimpin'," a slow-paced piece of advice to new artists ("Record company death traps/ Setting decoys/ Just to pimp young b-boys"), and warnings, too, like "Hello" (RealAudio excerpt), in which Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and M.C. Ren get on the case of young cats who don't acknowledge the fact that they "invented" gangsta-rap. Granted, disrespectful up-and-comers are quite a different target for someone who gave us "Fuck tha Police" and "Endangered Species." Then again, rattling the cane and whippersnapper bashing never sounded so good.