Ice Cube Talks About His Favorite Projects He's Ever Worked On
Having long, long ago secured his place in the rap pantheon, Ice Cube today is, to the average Dlisted reader, a man to be both mocked (for his Are We There Yet period) and possibly feared -- if, say, confronted in the type of bar where denizens consume Coors Light.
MillerCoors/Bryan Mir Ice Cube
But in person he's cordial and easygoing, without a trace of posturing. In town recently to promote upcoming album Everythang's Corrupt and said light beer's MC talent competition, called "Search for the Coldest," he sat down with us at the Westwood W, dressed in all black, from his Dodgers cap to his skate shoes. Short and squat, with big arms and shoulders, he was game to talk about everything from the NWA movie he's working on with Dr. Dre, to the late Al Davis, to Amerikkka's Most Wanted to NWA's famous L.A. Weekly cover story.
This is a bucket list interview for me. Speaking of which, I just saw your documentary on the Los Angeles Raiders. Is that how you felt interviewing Al Davis?
Ice Cube: Yeah. Hell yeah. That was real cool. I had met him before, and I knew that he didn't grant a lot of interviews, I knew that a lot of the journalists in the world were mad at me because I got it. It was his last television interview.
He looked like he was a little hurting.
He looked great for a man that was about to die.
The Coors Light talent search is in its third year. What's different this time around?
Shit. $20,000 for the grand prize winner. The regional winners, they take home prizes. We just kinda upped the ante as far as grand prizes and getting people hyped and excited and enthused. I think they added one or two more cities to showcase. It's getting bigger and better.
What to you makes for a dope young MC?
Confidence goes a long way. You gotta have your own style, your own flavor. You can't come up there trying to be like your favorite MC, you got to be an original. Your music has to move people. People have to get on it, you know, right off the jump. That's hard for established artists -- for new artists it's that much harder.
Along with your work in music, film, and television, being a pitchman is a whole separate element of your career. How does that fit in? Do you have any role models?
Not really, I seen artists do it mainly overseas. I see people like George Clooney do Japanese products, but you know to me, I wanted to do something over here. Some people have a taboo about doing advertising in the States. You know, where they kind of make their bread and butter. But to me, that's crazy.
What are your favorite projects you've done?
Wow, you know, I never really thought about which ones is the best. I have a lot of milestones that I'm proud of when it comes to music, Amerikkka's Most Wanted, I'm extremely proud of that. Just because of what I had to go through to get that music produced, that album produced. Friday is something I'm extremely proud of because it was the first time I tried to, you know, write a movie and produce a movie. And to have a movie that still gets that kind of response is pretty cool from my point of view.
Seems like with Amerikkka's Most Wanted you were really taking a risk there.
I was passionate about what I was fighting for, which was, I had refused to just be in the music industry if I knew that I wasn't getting what I deserved. I rather quit than to be that kind of artist. I'm just glad everything worked out. And it's still working out.
In the documentary you talk a lot in the early days of NWA and gangsta rap. Why do you think L.A. and the West Coast remains so obsessed with that whole era?
I just think that, you know, this is a place where it originated from when it comes to talking about what's going on in the streets. And by this being the original place, it has power. It has an aura to it. And I think the whole country is as fascinated with L.A. living as they are with something like the Sopranos, something where they want to know more but they don't want to get no closer. It's kinda that. That feel, you know. It's a forbidden fruit in a lot of ways and you know, its still mysterious and dangerous. This is the land of surf and sun in a lot of ways so it's a crazy contrast.