As much as technology, business and society have
changed since the 1980s,
one thing has remained
constant: ICE CUBE (James
Payton/Produced by). Cube
has been a premier cultural
watchdog. His astute detailed
commentary on the American
experience is unflinchingly
honest and sobering, while
his deft comedic touch has
endeared him to several generations of fans.
Growing up in crime- and gang-infested South
Central Los Angeles in the 1970s and 1980s, Cube
learned how to navigate a world where the lines between
right and wrong shifted constantly. Equally important,
the Los Angeles-based entertainment mogul also found
a lasting way to present the comedy that exists in the
midst of difficult situations.
After penning the most memorable lyrics on N.W.A's
groundbreaking songs "Straight Outta Compton" and
"F&ck Tha Police," Cube left the group at the peak of
its popularity because of a pay dispute. That move led
to one of the most successful careers in music history.
As a solo recording artist, Cube has sold more than
10 million albums while remaining one of rap's most
respected and influential artists.
Cube's first two albums, 1990's "AmeriKKKa's Most
Wanted" and 1991's "Death Certificate," are widely
considered two of the best rap albums ever released.
Cube's wry wit on such songs as "Once Upon a Time in
the Projects" and "A Gangsta's Fairytale" was masterfully
juxtaposed against the searing social commentary on
such selections as "I Wanna Kill Sam" and "Black Korea."
Subsequent singles "It Was A Good Day," "Check
Yo Self," "Wicked" and "Bop Gun (One Nation)"
solidified Cube's elite status as an adventurous
performer who routinely shifted stylistic, thematic and
sonic gears while remaining artistically sharp and at the
top of the charts. It's a trend that continued when the
Californian started releasing albums on his own Lench
Mob Records in 2006. His "Laugh Now, Cry Later"
album spawned the hits "Why We Thugs" and "Go to
Church," which featured Snoop Dogg and Lil Jon. Both
songs were among the most popular rap songs that year.
Beyond music, Cube has established himself as
one of entertainment's most reliable, successful and
prolific figures. In the film arena, he's an accomplished
producer (Friday, Barbershop 2: Back in Business, Are
We There Yet?), writer (Friday, The Players Club, The
Janky Promoters), director (The Players Club), and
actor, for which he is best known.
One of the most bankable actors in cinematic
history, Cube's films include the acclaimed Friday,
Barbershop and Are We There Yet? franchises, as well
as star turns as a conflicted teen in Boyz n the Hood, a
greedy soldier in Three Kings and an elite government
agent in xXx: State of the Union. Cube's ability to bring
a natural, everyman aesthetic to any film genre makes
his characters compelling and memorable, whether he's
playing a confrontational career college student (Higher
Learning) or skeptical football coach (The Longshots).
As a television producer, Cube took the Barbershop
and Are We There Yet? series to successful network runs
and also enjoyed success with the controversial Black.
White., among other programs.
In 2012, Cube appeared in the blockbuster film 21
Jump Street and the independent thriller Rampart. His
other film projects in development include a biopic
on N.W.A and another Friday film. In addition to his
film projects, he will produce and star in the FX series
Eye for an Eye, a gritty drama where he will portray a
paramedic bent on vengeance.
Cube is a pitchman for Coors Light and has filmed
several commercials for the beverage. "The relationship
is really just starting to pick up momentum," Cube
says of his work with Coors Light. "Not only is it a
good beer, but it's cool that they wanted to expand
their brand a little bit and go after somebody like me,
someone that's a little different than the normal sports
or rock demographic. I think they're trying to reach all
avenues. They're trying to be where some of the other
Fortunately for Coors Light, and his television
and film partners, Cube is virtually everywhere. He
completed an Australian tour in 2012, and hit the
road domestically building to his forthcoming album,
"Everythang's Corrupt," his 18th release as a solo
artist or a member of a group (N.W.A, Da Lench Mob,
On his new LP, Cube highlights the evolution of
the United States of America, a land where honesty,
love and respect have been replaced by a meaningless,
fruitless pursuit of material spoils.
"Everybody's trying to come up with more than they
really need, and it's driving people crazy," Cube says of
the mentality that inspired the piano-accented selection
"One for the Money." He continues, "If they can't attain
it, then they look for escape in another way, whether
it's drinking, drugs, dancing, having sex, whatever.
Everybody's trying to be somebody, which is cool.
There's nothing wrong with that. But you are somebody.
You're somebody before you're trying to be somebody.
I know a lot of famous dudes who aren't good people.
I know a lot of people that aren't famous that are cool
people, who set a good example and do the right thing."
But doing the right thing seems much more difficult
for people whose sole purpose is accumulating money
and power. On the ominous "Everythang's Corrupt,"
Cube explains how money is often the answer to
questions about why things work the way they do. "You
can never let the world puzzle you," he explains. "All
you've got to do is follow the money and you'll see why
things don't get done or things get done. It's a shame
that the dollar has become more important and more
precious than life itself to so many."
Cube remains raw and uncompromising, as much
of popular rap focuses on trite topics. It's a stance he's
held since the mid-1980s when he broke through as a
member of gangster rap pioneers N.W.A on the funky,
"Can I Hit Some of That West Coast Shit?" Cube dares
the new generation of artists to push the genre forward,
something he's been doing throughout his entire career.
"It's basically saying, what you're about to do, I've done
it already," he reveals. "It's like, 'C'mon, man.' Come
new. And if you're new, you'll stand out."
To his point, Cube has stood out throughout his
remarkable career. His ability to adapt to new trends and
styles and put his twist on them without losing his own
identity puts him in an elite class of recording artists
of any genre. With the bouncy "Sic Them Youngins
On 'Em," he showcases an undulating delivery that
counters his typically stoic, commanding flow.
That type of artistic alchemy also allows Cube to
craft a song like "The Big Show," where he lets the
world know that in the real world, he's going to remain
true to himself regardless of with whom he's interacting.
"I just be myself man, and you've just got to take it
or leave it, whether you're the homie in the hood or
Obama," he says. "You've just got to take me how I am.
Where I come from, it makes me real equipped to deal
As a multimedia juggernaut, Cube has built a career
that remains robust, if difficult to categorize. "It's hard
to define," he says. "My brand, if I could put it in a
nutshell, is that I believe I'm a solid artist. I always go
back to that word: solid. Solid like a Harley-Davidson
is solid. I hope people trust that when I put my name on
something that it's not garbage. I'm not just throwing it
at you. I'm trying to give you an experience."
And he's excelled at that, time and time again.
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