Ice Cube’s surprisingly departure from the rap supergroup NWA left many in shock. Eazy E continued to keep the balling rolling signing groups and further expanding his Ruthless label while Cube at that time period left with possibly no money and took the chance of his career fading into oblivion.
Cube knew in order to stay into the game, He had to revamp his image and style. It’s already been evident that he was the one behind the pen of those scathing verses that came from Dr Dre and Eazy E on their albums so the questioned remained is can Cube take his talents solo and go to the next level?
First thing Cube did was recruit the Public Enemy production crew The Bomb Squad to provide a hard-hitting aggressive sound to counteract Cube’s words of fiery . He used a notebook of pre-written rhymes that were meant for Eazy on Amerikkas most, He stayed and recorded the entire album with barely any money and relocated to New York for an entire year to complete.
Hip Hop at that time knew Cube was in the lab cooking up something special but what the masses didn’t realize that what Cube was creating was gonna light up a firestorm of controversy. Starting with the controversal album title where he but the triple K on America remaining it Amerikka) for Amerikkas most wanted was an ode to the racist white supremest group the Ku klux Klan.
When Amerikkka’s Most Wanted was finally released, Hip Hop fans ate it up and the album would go gold within a month. Around the 90s, Hammer time was running within full speed. Everybody wanted to come with a dance record or a pop record to sell(similar to now but on a different scale) Ice Cube’s Amerikka’s Most was a straight up bucking at the system, The rebellious energy that he brought to NWA was heavily influential on here. It was a perfect mixture of Gangsta Rap and socially conscious music. The Nigga Ya Love to Hate was ready for all comers
During the creation of Death Certificate, Cube was becoming more preoccupied and busy with projects with Yo Yo, his cousin Del the Funky Homospaisan, and focusing on his acting career by starring in his first motion picture Boyz in The Hood.
But instead of reflecting on the new hollywood life and newfound success from Amerikka’s Most. Cube knew that he had to keep on feeding the people the truth. The truth was that 1991 was a very intense time period. Racial riots, The Rodney King beatings, Black on Black Violence steady uprising, George Bush Sr creating laws to suppress minorities and fellow rappers taking shots at him(NWA).
Cube was putting on his boxing gloves for this one, He had shaved his trademark jeri curl,aligned himself with the pro black militant group the Nation of Islam and released Death Certificate which was much more angrier and harsher than Amerikka’s Most. You can tell by looking at the album’s cover(Which had Uncle Sam covered in an American flag toe tagged) that this album was gonna start some shit.
Death Certificate the album that not only drew Cube heat from blacks for his usage of the N word but also the JDL(Jewish defamation League) claiming anti Semitism from songs such as No Vaseline, Wrong Nigga to Fuck with and Horny Lil Devil.
Cube also drew heat from the but also from the Korean community for Black Korea and many other protesters claiming he preached nothing but hate,violence, and sexism when in reality it was all from a mind of an angry black male who’s looking for survival in a crooked country thats not willing to help out.
The Predator album is where many felt Cube started to backslide a little bit. The album wasn’t as great as his first two but it still packed a venomous punch. When you listen to songs such as When Will They Shoot, Tear This Mutha Up, The Predator, and Wicked, You know that Cube followed up where he left off in terms of bucking at the white establishment. The Predator would go on to be his most successful album of his career. Going platinum within a record time(4 days) producing hits like It was a Good Day and Check Yourself.
Many hip hop fans and pursuits feel that this was the album that started Cubes fall off from grace at the time. Death Row was running hip hop with its G-Funk gangsta sound and it seemed that as if Ice Cube was hopping on that same train with the songs You Know How We Do it and the G Funk influenced Bop Gun
But if you really listen to the content on much of the album. You would hear that Cube didnt delude his message or his rebelliousness. If anything it seemed to have turned it up a notch in comparison to The Predator. He questions the hypocrisy behind Christianity on When I Get to Heaven, Plays grand jury for the crimes committed by the United States of America on What Can I Do and even blatantly disrespected White women as a whole on the very vulgar Cave Bitch.
After this album, Cube would go on to full gangsta mode and not focusing too much on political commentary. Throughout 1996 He would ride with the West Coast in the escalating East/West war and collabed with Westsiders Mack 10 and W.C. to form the Westside Connection. The trio would take on all comers. Coming at the whole East Coast, Common Sense, Cypress Hill, and many others. It remains as one of the hardest hip hop albums to date.
Dont let the Kiddy movies fool you. Ice Cube was as feared and legit as you can get in the early 90s