Being that we live in a time where a lot of artists today aren’t releasing any more classic albums and only want to instead focus on getting ringtone money and treating the culture as a hustle, It makes it hard for a lot of artists to really sit in the lab and master their craft. I remember the days where we had to wait almost 6 months to a year before we receive a new album or a followup to a classic debut. Ice Cube was one of those artists. He literally shook up the Industry when he left NWA to pursue a solo career and proceeded to drop one of the best albums of all time(Amerikkas Most wanted) Cube silenced all of his critics on his debut by letting them know that he didn’t need NWA and that he could hold his own as a solo artist.
I remember listening to this album for the first time and it was mind-blowing to me. Death Certificate to me is Ice Cube at his rawest form and at his best.Entering 1991 Cube made alot of changes in not only his career but his image as well. He had NWA dissing him, He had America on an uproar with his controversal anti white/pro black lyrics so with his back once again on the wall, Cube reinvented himself as “The Nigga Ya love to hate”. He cut the jeri curl, he allied himself with the Nation of Islam and even has the corpse of Uncle Sam on the cover. You can tell by even looking at the cover that this album isn’t gonna be for the weak hearted and the easily sensitive.
The Death Side hits hard and basically just started where he left off with Amerikkas Most Wanted. The anger filled
The Wrong Nigga to Fuck wit which is similar to the Nigga You Love to hate only more hard-hitting lyrically and Musically as he’s basically calling out racists, politicans, and sellout rappers.
Man’s Best Friend is another highlight showcasing Cube’s creativity as an emcee as he raps about potraying his Gun as his dog aka a mans best friend. Bird in Hand puts Cube in the picture of a black man looking to survive in South Central and My Summer Vacation takes us a tour of what Ganglife is like in South Central LA. Cube also has no love for the scandalous females. He show’s sign of his old self on Givin Up the Nappy Dug out which is an ill story about where he’s having a conversation with a Father of this Catholic Girl he was checking for.
Alive on Arrival where Cube is Shot and waiting in the hospital only to die in his deathbed which leads to a Eulogy titled Death spoken by Dr Khalid Muhammad and he appears again on The Birth as he’s speaking about the resurrection of Cube which brings us to the Life Side of the album, The Life side of the album is much more anti patrotic but at the same time more artistic to say to least and this is where the real controversy starts, Cube goes all out on the anti-American I wanna Kill Sam where he’s hunting all over the USA to kill Sam, Wonder why Cube doesn’t say Uncle Sam? Well he’ll tell you: I Wanna Kill Sam because he aint my muthafuckin Uncle.
Horny Lil Devil can pretty much cause a huge stir as Cube while may be sending mixed signals in the song is basically portraying White men as Devils. For those don’t know, This is the song that really caused a major stirred and had the Jewish community on an uproar. This song made Ice Cube a threat to the industry and he wasn’t about to let up as he’s talking about everything from turning the KKKs white sheet to a red cloth to claiming that White bitches have no butt and no chest.
Continuing the venomous onslaught. Cube then fired shots at the Asian Community as he called them out for their disrespect for the treatment of black shoppers. Black Korea may pretty much get heat from the Asian Community as Cube talks about harassment in a local convience store from Asian workers , This track is short but he sure as hell made a point.
True To the Game is my personal favorite track as he’s speaking about staying true to himself and not selling out to sell records. He called out uncle toms and phony rappers for selling out and not remaining true to themselves for record sales. and even delivers subliminal shots to Eazy E(I could be wrong) on the first Verse and MC hammer on the 2nd, It’s hard to believe that this is the same Cube th But this is one of the realist tracks on the album and one of Cube’ best tracks ever.
After True to the Game, The album lightens up a little bit with Color Blind where he’s giving his crew Da Lench Mob some shine along with the very funky Doing Dumb Shit but Cube goes right back into serious mode with the track US where this time he’s pointing fingers and calling out the Black Community for their self-destructive action whenever it be gang related violence, drug dealing, and envy among the black community.
But the album reaches its climax on the last track where he finally addresses his former band mates NWA. NWA been taking shots at Ice Cube throughout the past 2 years claiming that he was a traitor, That he was soft, and how he hopped on the New York Bandwagon. Cube waited until the album to address Eazy and company but when he did, He ended up dropping a BOMBSHELL with his track No Vasaline. This remains as one of the most vicious diss records in hip hop:
There has been diss records but there has never been a case at that time where a rapper would dismantle an entire crew the way Cube did, He basically dug up all the old dirt on his friends and kicked it right on their faces. This record set the bar for diss songs and basically cemented Ice Cube as NWA would find out that He was the Wrong Nigga to Fuck Wit. Ice Cube may not be able to make an album this good every again, The closest many may have claimed was his Predator album but to me he already had peaked and certified his spot with this record. If you don’t have Death Certificate then you’re defintiely missing out!