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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released December 7, 2018 | Cubevision JV New Agreements

Booklet
O’Shea Jackson aka Ice Cube likes to remind us who the real OG is. The last time was in 2010 with the album I Am The West which ultimately wasn’t a huge success, but things have changed since then. Already in 2015, the biopic Straight Outta Compton rekindled the flame for his former group N.W.A. among the newer generation. Then a certain Donald Trump moved into the White House. Meanwhile, Ice Cube had been focusing exclusively on Hollywood films (Rampart, 21 Jump Street, Ride Along 1 and 2, Barbershop The Next Cut, xXx Reactivated and Fist Fight) although they hardly gave the likes of Citizen Kane a run for its money. He also launched BIG3, his 3-on-3 basketball league featuring old NBA stars. You would think that hip hop has become just a vague memory for him, but Everythangs Corrupt is proof to the contrary. Right from outset with the single Arrest The President he plays the raging pitbull against the man currently living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. His voice is certainly no longer as aggressive as in his holy trinity of the early ‘90s (AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, Death Certificate and The Predator) but the ex N.W.A. member has kept his old school flow as soulful as ever, particularly in Streets Shed Tears and the cheeky Can You Dig It?. This time, there are no trap sounds, nor does it feature a whole load of young people to appeal to under-18s. Ice Cube even has one 50-year-old guest, the great Too $hort, on Ain’t Got No Haters. Obviously, with it’s 20th century vibe, this tenth album is light-years away from the sounds of XXXTentacion or Earl Sweatshirt. But by sticking to what he knows and accepting his age and his legacy, Cube has produced an album that in no way suggests it’s time to retire. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2001 | Priority Records

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released March 16, 1990 | Priority Records, LLC

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released June 9, 2017 | Cubevision JV New Agreements

Booklet
If Ice Cube's debut was a shocking attack that proved the N.W.A legacy would be stronger divided, his sophomore effort was a new kind of superstar pulling off the miraculous, a follow-up that equals its classic predecessor and tops it in some people's books. With a million copies of Death Certificate preordered, Cube was no longer the rock critics' darling. A million people listening was dangerous, especially since he was now slithering his influence into the suburbs. If the black rage didn't get you, the misogyny of "I'm gonna do my thing, with your daughter" probably would. Here, one of rap's greatest storytellers is able to draw hatred in under a minute with the short and direct "Black Korea," an angry protest song concerning Korean grocers that got him dubbed "racist" and "Ice KKKube" by some. The track is an extreme representation of how a much sharper and cutting this album is when compared with his debut, and even though the intro announces the full-length is divided into a "Death Side" and "Life Side," both are equally bleak. With the CD format, the two sides are indistinguishable and run over the listener with fast tales of drug dealing, drive-by shootings, and women who go from "Ms. Thing to Ms. Gonorrhea." This would be numbing if it weren't for the rapper's amazing lyrics, ground-shaking delivery, and insight like when "A Bird in the Hand" deals with the irony of selling crap to buy diapers ("Gotta serve you food that might give you cancer/Cuz my son doesn't take no for answer"). A bit of sweet relief comes with the brightness of the great single "Steady Mobbin'" and with the nostalgia and slow tempo of "Doing Dumb Shit." "True to the Game" ("Ain't that a bitch/They hate to see a young nigga rich") is arguably the quintessential Cube track and if all this weren't enough already, the N.W.A diss "No Vaseline" hangs off the album like a crowd-pleasing, Brick-sampling encore. Although next year's Predator would be a bigger hit, Death Certificate brings to a close the man's trilogy of perfect albums that began with N.W.A's Compton and explodes into a supernova right here. ~ David Jeffries
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released December 7, 1993 | Priority Records

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released November 17, 1992 | Priority Records

Released in the aftermath of the 1991 L.A. riots, The Predator radiates tension. Ice Cube infuses nearly every song, and certainly every interlude, with the hostile mood of the era. Even the album's most laid-back moment, "It Was a Good Day," emits a quiet sense of violent anxiety. Granted, Ice Cube's previous albums had been far from gentle, but they were filled with a different kind of rage. On both AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted (1990) and Death Certificate (1991), he took aim at society in general: women, whites, Koreans, even his former group members in N.W.A. Here, Ice Cube is more focused. He found a relevant episode to magnify with the riots, and he doesn't hold back, beginning with the absolutely crushing "When Will They Shoot?" The song's wall of stomping sound sets the dire tone of The Predator and is immediately followed by "I'm Scared," one of the many disturbing interludes comprised of news commentary related to the riots. It's only during the aforementioned "It Was a Good Day" that Ice Cube somewhat alleviates this album's smothering tension. It's a truly beautiful moment, a career highlight for sure. However, the next song, "We Had to Tear This Mothafucka Up," eclipses the relief with yet more calamity. By the time you get to the album-concluding "Say Hi to the Bad Guy" and its mockery of policeman, hopelessness prevails. The Predator is a grim album, for sure, more so than anything Ice Cube would ever again record. In fact, the darkness is so pervasive that the wit of previous albums is absolutely gone. Besides the halfhearted wit of "Gangsta's Fairytale, Pt. 2," you won't find any humor here, just tension. Given this, it's not one of Ice Cube's more accessible albums despite boasting a few of his biggest hits. It is his most serious album, though, as well as his last important album of the '90s. ~ Jason Birchmeier
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2008 | Priority Records

Booklet
Replacing 2001's Greatest Hits, Ice Cube's 2008 compilation The Essentials sticks with the post-N.W.A solo releases -- no Westside Connection tracks here -- and updates with tracks from the West Coast legend's later releases. The bad news is that "Cold Pieces" is chosen off 2008's Raw Footage instead of the superior "Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It," plus the great "Bop Gun" is missing -- but that's it for big blunders. "It Was a Good Day," "Check Yo Self," and the early burner "Dead Homiez" are all here, along with the slept-on classic "Greed" and the fan favorite "Rollin' with the Lench Mob." Release dates are shuffled into a running order that makes sense and while the liner notes are minimal, the essay from hip-hop writer Soren Baker is informed and insightful. Buy this along with the 2007 collection In the Movies and you've got a great portable collection, but the problem with compiling Cubes discography are the three vital albums -- AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, Death Certificate, and The Predator -- that kicked off his solo career. Put a box around those three, throw in a disc of singles, and you've got the real essentials -- but this will do in a pinch. ~ David Jeffries
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released July 3, 2015 | Cover City Rec.

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2001 | Priority Records

Although the 17-track Greatest Hits covers all phases of Ice Cube's solo career in an extremely balanced fashion, it isn't quite the last word on one of the most seminal figures in hardcore and gangsta rap. It is definitely a worthwhile purchase, since it collects all the best singles from Cube's more uneven latter-day efforts; there are also two new cuts (although "In the Late Night Hour" has a lot of rewritten N.W.A. rhymes) and a couple that have never appeared on an Ice Cube album: the soundtrack contribution "We Be Clubbin'" and the Westside Connection single "Bow Down" (which are nice for collectors but not all that essential). That occasional filler makes it all the more frustrating that the classic "Dead Homiez" is inexcusably nowhere to be found, and that it apparently wasn't possible to license Cube's duet with Dr. Dre on "Natural Born Killaz." Selection issues aside, the singles from the post-Predator era prove that in his best moments, Cube could be a credible radio-crossover artist and keep up with contemporary production trends. As a storyteller (a facet of his work that's underrepresented here), Cube had a knack for keenly observed detail, as evidenced on "Once Upon a Time in the Projects" and his laid-back masterpiece "It Was a Good Day." Still, it doesn't quite add up to a truly classic compilation. Perhaps the problem is that while Greatest Hits is a fine, listenable portrait of Ice Cube the sometime hitmaker and full-time hip-hop celebrity, it doesn't completely capture the provocative, incendiary qualities that made him an icon in the first place (for that, listeners will have to go back to AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted and Death Certificate). For a fully fleshed-out picture of Cube's career, though, Greatest Hits is a very good place to go. ~ Steve Huey
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 1994 | Priority Records

Following the relentless intensity of his early-'90s albums, particularly his post-Rodney King statement, The Predator (1992), Ice Cube reclined a bit and put his rap career on autopilot beginning with Lethal Injection, the last album he would record for five years. Yes, it's a disappointing album, but it's not terrible by any measure. Even if Ice Cube is a little devoid of substance here relative to his rabble-rousing past, he's still a talented rapper, and he has one of the West Coast's premier producers, QDIII, joining him for almost half the album. Unfortunately, much of what made Ice Cube's early-'90s albums so electric -- his thoughtfulness, wit, hostility, energy, and social consciousness -- is sadly in short supply. For compensation, Ice Cube offers a few standout singles, namely "You Know How We Do It" and "Bop Gun (One Nation)." The former follows the successful template that worked a year earlier with "It Was a Good Day" -- a laid-back G-funk ballad laced with an old-school funk vibe; the latter clocks over 11 minutes, an epic ode to George Clinton's P-Funk legacy. These two songs undoubtedly rank alongside Ice Cube's best work ever. There are a few other songs like "Really Doe" and "Ghetto Bird" that also stand out, but even these songs sound rather lackluster relative to Ice Cube's previous work. He's obviously not interested in making an album as daring and ambitious as The Predator again, and you can't really blame him. After all, Ice Cube had delivered three brilliant albums, and a similarly brilliant EP as well, Kill at Will (1990), in just three years, not to mention his then-burgeoning role as an actor. He deserved a break. But at least he took the time to craft two standout singles that alone make this album worthwhile for fans. ~ Jason Birchmeier
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2007 | Priority Records

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 1998 | Priority Records

Considering that he hadn't delivered a full-fledged solo album since 1993's disappointing Lethal Injection, maybe it shouldn't have been a surprise that Ice Cube returned hard in 1998 with War & Peace, Vol. 1 (The War Disc), since five years is a long, long time to stay quiet. What was a surprise was how ambitious the album was. The first installment in a proposed double-disc set, The War Disc is a cacophonous, cluttered, impassioned record that nearly qualifies as a return to form. Designed as a hard-hitting record, it certainly takes no prisoners, as it moves from intense street-oriented jams to rap-metal fusions, such as the Korn-blessed "Fuck Dying," with its seething, distorted guitars. It's a head-spinning listen and, at first, it seems to be a forceful comeback. Upon closer inspection, The War Disc falters a bit. Not only does the relentless nature of the music wear a little thin, but Cube spends too much time trying to beat newcomers at their own game. His lyrical skills are still intact, but he spends way too much time boasting, particularly about material possessions, and his attempt to rechristen himself Don Mega, in a Wu-like move, simply seems awkward. Even so, the quality of the music -- and the moments when he pulls it all together, such as "3 Strikes You In" -- sustains War and makes it feel more cohesive than it actually is. The key is purpose -- even if Cube doesn't always say exactly what he wants, he does have something to say. That alone makes War & Peace, with just one album completed, a more successful and rewarding listen than the typical double-disc hip-hop set of the late '90s. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released July 1, 1990 | Priority Records

Ice Cube's riveting debut album, AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, was still burning up the charts when Priority Records released this EP, which lacks that album's overall excellence but has its moments. With Kill at Will, Cube unveiled his engaging "The Product" and "Dead Homiez," a poignant lament for the victims of black-on-black crime that is among the best songs he's ever written. Enjoyable but not essential are remixes of "Endangered Species (Tales From the Darkside)" and the outrageous "Get Off My Dick and Tell Yo Bitch to Come Here." Clearly, Kill at Will was intended for hardcore fans rather than casual listeners. [The EP was later added to a 2003 expanded edition of AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted.] ~ Alex Henderson
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released March 25, 2016 | Atlantic Records

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released July 8, 2014 | LENCH MOB PRODUCTIONS (LM2)

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 1994 | Priority Records

As Ice Cube albums became few and far between once the rapper turned actor, Priority Records started gathering up a few compilations, one less interesting one being Bootlegs & B-Sides. The 13 tracks are mostly throwaways, not necessarily bad but not necessarily good either. The few gems buried here are remixes of Cube's biggest hits: "Check Yo Self," "It Was a Good Day," and "You Know How We Do It." The others will interest mainly completists. ~ Jason Birchmeier
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2006 | Virgin Records

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2013 | Caroline Records

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2013 | LENCH MOB PRODUCTIONS (LM2)

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2008 | EMI America Records

Dealing with the good, the bad, and especially the ugly, Raw Footage is an appropriate title for Ice Cube's eighth album. Some kind of subtitle that mentioned the yin and yang of life would have made it perfect because the tracks here are as inclined to paradoxes as the man himself and offer just as few excuses. If you want insight into how a man justifies making family fun movies by day and hardcore rap by night, the only answer offered is that you grow up in this cruel world and you deal any way you know how, something that drives the great "Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It." This key track may not be "fair and balanced," but it's honest and revealing as Cube embraces what he wants from the good -- a literate life that damns those who "read your first book in the penitentiary" -- and the commonly accepted bad as he attacks Oprah and everyone else who has a problem with hardcore rap using the "N" word. The 187 in "Why Me?" could be a metaphor for the attacks from Cube's detractors ("You want to take the life God handed to me/Send it back to him 'cuz you ain't a fan of me") while "Jack in the Box" suggests he's already won the war with "Fool, I'm the greatest/You just the latest/I'm loved by your grandmamma/And your babies." The album's guiding principle, "only thing I expect is self-check," is dropped in "Get Money, Spend Money, No Money," but the great news is that all these standoffish and self-serving rhymes are written with that whipsmart wit and sit on a bed of wonderfully minimal beats from lesser knowns like Young Fokus and Emile. The only time things sound slick are when an Eddie Kendricks sample meets Angie Stone's vocals on "Hood Mentality," or when the so-big-in-2008 Young Jeezy shows up for the disappointing and out of place "I Got My Locs On." The bombastic intro and interludes with Keith David could go too, but otherwise this no-answers, gritty ego trip will satisfy his fans while pushing everyone else away even further. ~ David Jeffries