In watching the family sitcom Are We There Yet, it’s kind of hard to believe the show’s executive producer Ice Cube’s (O’Shea Jackson’s) the same ruthless dude who recorded the rap classic Straight Out of Compton with pioneers N.W.A. back in 1988.
After releasing nine solo CDs and starring in over 25 flicks, the 41-year-old Cube has come a long way from recording songs like “F Tha Police” and “Gangsta, Gangsta.” Remarkably in September 2010, Ice Cube’s 10th solo album, I Am The West, is slated to drop in stores.
So enough small talk, here’s my list of the Top 10 Ice Cube songs of all time.
10). Why Me? (2008). Released just a few years ago on his last CD, Raw Footage, this insightful track shows Ice Cube’s evolution as a musical artist as well as his growth as a man. Rap fans would’ve certainly never heard Cube spit, “Before you shoot me think about it/Let’s go have a drink about it,” during his days with N.W.A.
9). Really Doe (1993). This raw Ice Cube track was the lead single off his underappreciated fourth album, Lethal Injection. In “Really Doe,” Cube neglects the social and political commentary prevalent on his second and third albums, and instead flashes the patented word play that made his debut effort, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, so immensely popular.
8). Why We Thugs (2006) Comforted by a blazing Scott Storch beat, Ice Cube takes a jaunt through all the ‘hoods around the country in the rousing “Why We Thugs.” For despite all the success he’s achieved in rap music and the entertainment industry, Cube stays true to the streets and continues to be a powerful voice for the voiceless.
7). Natural Born Killaz (1994). After Cube’s bitter exit from N.W.A., many rap fans thought they would never hear Dr. Dre and him together on a joint again. Well, time heals wounds, and the two big homies successfully collaborate on the psychotic “Natural Born Killaz,” one of many hits on the Murder Was the Case soundtrack. .
6). Check Yo Self (1993). The cool Ice Cube slows his flow on “Check Yo Self” and rhymes about the importance of self-reflection to rap fans. The song samples the groove of the rap classic “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five and features rap group Das Efx, who was one of the hottest acts out at that time.
5). No Vaseline (1991). There’ve been plenty of diss records throughout the history of rap, but few of them can compare to Ice Cube’s lyrical assault upon the remaining members of N.W.A. The fuming Cube goes ballistic on DJ Yella, MC Ren, Dr. Dre, Eazy E as well as manager Jerry Heller after hearing their belittling comments on the 100 Miles and Runnin’ EP.
4). You Can’t Fade Me (1990). “You Can’t Fade Me” is just one of many hits featured on Ice Cube’s highly-acclaimed debut CD, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted. On this timeless tune, a nervous Cube recites a hilarious tale about how an ex-girlfriend accuses him of being the father of her unborn child. But in the end, he discovers he’s not the baby’s daddy.
3). Dead Homiez (1990). Tired of all the killings in his neighborhood, Ice Cube finally breaks down and shows a softer side on the touching “Dead Homiez,” a classic rap tribute to victims of urban violence and mayhem around the country. “I pay my respects and I’m through/Hug my crew, and maybe shed a tear or two,” Cube raps after a friend’s death.
2). It Was A Good Day (1993). Everybody’s had that good day, which is probably why this is one of Ice Cube’s most popular and recognizable songs in his over 20-year rap career. From his sampling of the Isley Brothers’ “Footsteps in the Park” to his laid-back delivery to even the song’s music video, Cube pulls out all the stops to make “It Was A Good Day” perfect to listen to.
1). Dopeman (1987). While the content may raise eyebrows, it’s hard to argue “Dopeman” wasn’t the No. 1 all-time song by Ice Cube. The industry had never heard anything close to resembling N.W.A.’s brand of rap music when they released their debut disc, N.W.A. and The Posse. On this landmark track, a sincere Cube details the daily operation of a drug dealer and sets the wheels in motion for his and his group’s rise to the top of the game.
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