Ice Cube’s career has featured more twists and turns than Lindsay Lohan’s car after an...
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DJBooth Album Review
Cube’s played a South Central drug dealer in Boyz In The Hood, a action hero in XXX, and a man so determined to get with Nia Long he fights a psychotic deer in Are We There Yet? In fact he’s become a full-fledged media powerhouse with his own production company and record label, he’s like Diddy except talented. Considering his musical and cinematic resume an album consisting entirely of soundtrack cuts was inevitable. Well, that day has finally arrived with In The Movies; so grab some popcorn, grab your date, and get comfy, today I’m motherf****in Siskel and Ebert.
Soundtrack songs are notorious for being too soft for an artists’ own album, not South Central, a track that proves West Coast hip-hop was built on funk percussion and guitar lines. Ice Cube is the archetype of the intelligent gangsta and his rhymes on South Central interweave street tales with social criticism. How To Survive is a guide to Los Angeles that’s as relevant as it was 16 years ago, which come to think about it is a little depressing. I’ll have to drown my sorrow in another package of Junior Mints.
It’s Friday, you ain’t got no job, and you ain’t got nothing to do but turn the volume up. Friday has enough bass to rattle the rear view of your drop-top and a jazz-saxophone line I think Wreckx-N-Effects used for Rumpshaker. This track will get you amped enough to fight Deebo, or at least avoid being completely paralyzed. In an age of uncertainty it’s comforting to know there’s a cable station playing Friday right now. As long as Smokey’s still running from that ice cream truck, old-school West Coast hip-hop is still getting played.
Long before Weezy hit the scene, Ice Cube and Jamie Foxx were making it rain at The Player’s Club. We Be Clubbin' serves as a blueprint for contemporary club hits; money, booze and women, what more could you ask for? Hip-hop moves so quickly last week’s hit is already old, and so 1998 might as well be the Civil War. Unfortunately, We Be Clubbin’s laid-back beat would get virtually no spins today and the track ends up as more of a historical landmark than a bangin' track. Hey, nothing lasts forever…except Snoop’s perm, that thing could survive a nuclear attack.
Any movie featuring Samuel L. Jackson and Ice Cube fighting the U.S. military is guaranteed to have more gunshots than a 50 Cent album. Anybody Seen finds Ice Cube putting aside funk lines for electronic synths and menacing church organ melodies. Ice Cube has fully crossed over into mainstream movies but he hasn’t watered down his music an ounce. The verses roll from lo-lo riding to comparisons of ghettos in Africa, plus he takes some hilarious shots at Oprah and Bill Cosby. On a side-note what the hell happened to Vin Deisel? Anyone? Oh well, Deisel’s loss is Cube’s gain, if only the movie was as good as this song.
Ice Cube and Ice-T on one track? You have no idea how hard it is for me not to write some terrible puns right now. In 1993 the Ices couldn’t do a show without attracting mass protests. Why? Because as Trespass proves they’re some of the most unflinchingly hard MCs to ever grab a mic. Aspiring rappers take note, Trespass is a manifesto on hustling rap. Now Ice-T’s on a show called Law and Order, it’s a mighty cold day in hell.
In The Movies is what you think it is, a collection of songs that will provoke some cinematic and musical nostalgia but doesn’t really hold together as an album. To rip off another reviewer’s genre; one thumb up, one thumb down. After all, only movie magic could bring Ice Cube from “the ni**a you love to hate” to romantic comedy leading man. Now that’s Hollywood, baby.
DJBooth Rating - 3 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on Sep 06, 2007
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