I’m roughly 10 or more years older than a lot of the people I write for. In rap years, that makes me an OG, but in Hip Hop years, that makes me somewhat of a historian, a gatekeeper. In other words, one who has
survived lived long enough inside the Hip Hop community that they can conjure up & pass along stories & memories that may have otherwise been forgotten. That’s one of the perks of being an “elder” in something; people ask you questions because they assume you’ll have some respectable insight, & you probably do, even if you didn’t remember you did.
For the record, “old” in Hip Hop actually isn’t old at all, it’s just considered “old” in a culture rife with ADHD & a sense of hopelessness. It’s “old” because our heroes shout things like “Live fast, die young!” & when we don’t, it’s somewhat noteworthy. It’s like how back in the days, cats my age would look at me with disdain. Eventually, cats weren’t really looking at all. Now, I get called “sir,” “mister,” & my favorite – OG – on a regular basis. I get it. It’s about respect. Calling me “old” is a backhanded term of endearment like “dog” or “baby daddy.” But, I digress.
Ice Cube was & always will be in my top 5 rappers. That will never change. However, Cube has always changed, from rhyme style to fashion to persona. Perhaps that’s why he’s still one of Hip Hop’s most recognizable & visible faces to this day. Admittedly, I stopped listening to Cube when he started
a gang “Westside Connection,” because I thought he’d regressed, & that was something I’d never seen him do before. Even in the paradoxial limbo of his “Predator” stage, it was still progressive move that took him further away from the traditional gangsta rap that the world expected. When he’d later emerge between WC & Mack 10, I knew it was time to let a generation nexter have my seat in his fan club. But, I never let that stop my embedded standom of the Cube I grew up on. The one next to Redman & NaS. The one who convinced me to scowl at everyone, all the time, eventual crow’s feet & forehead wrinkles be damned.
That Cube, (the angst-filled, racist, reality rapper) is a far cry from today’s actor/producer/family man/entrepreneur. While kids laugh at his crazy antics on screen & beer companies hire him to shill brew, I feel it’s my civic duty to keep new Hip Hop heads in touch with the legends, as we remember them. Here are 5 brief moments with the Ice Cube that, if no one told you about, you may not even know exist.
“A Bitch Iz A Bitch”
“I Wanna Kill Sam”
“Once Upon The Time In The Projects”
“Horny Lil Devil”