Ice Cube: Cool as ever on Kings of the Mic tour, NWA film and ‘Friday’
Ice Cube has parlayed a hardcore rap career into an entertainment empire that spans movies, television and product endorsements. But the former N.W.A. member and solo artist known for groundbreaking albums such as “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted” and “Death Certificate” has no plans to switch up his politically charged style. While mainstream rap drowns in escapist tales of cars, clubs and fancy cribs, he says fans can expect “vintage Ice Cube” on his forthcoming album, “Everythang’s Corrupt.”
“Everything that you’ve ever gotten from me, I deliver on this record,” he says. “My style is straight street knowledge. I don’t really cater to what’s going on in hip-hop or what’s going on in the industry, so to speak. I just dial in on Ice Cube fans and try to keep them satisfied, and everybody else gotta get in where they fit in. I don’t want to have to worry about no program director here or no A&R there. That makes it a drag, and being independent, I can just go in the studio and do what I feel.”
While he wraps up his 10th album, the actor, writer, producer and director is in talks with distributor New Line Cinema to close out the “Friday” franchise with final installment “Last Friday.”
“We’re trying to get it done,” he says. “New Line has really been neutered by Time Warner, so they can’t do as many movies as they usually do per year. So it’s just a fight to get ‘Last Friday’ on their schedule. They only got three or four movies to do a year, and urban comedy is probably low on the totem pole.”
Cube — born O’Shea Jackson — is also working on a feature film about Compton collective N.W.A. that will reunite him with “Friday” director F. Gary Gray. He says the movie could hit theaters by mid-2014, and the cast may include his son O’Shea Jr., a budding rapper who goes by the moniker OMG (Oh My Goodness).
“I want my son OMG to play me. He looks like me and he can act, so he can do it,” Cube says. “I just had to meet with [Gray] and Dr. Dre to work on the script and keep getting it tighter and tighter, so we’re in the process of casting the movie now, so it’s full steam ahead. This N.W.A. movie, it’s still my dream. That’s what I’ve been dying to make.”
As for his current project, Ice Cube is on tour with a bill being dubbed as Kings of the Mic, featuring Public Enemy, LL Cool J and De La Soul.
He isn’t shy about revealing who his favorite emcee on the tour is. That’s because it’s his favorite rapper of all-time: Public Enemy’s Chuck D.
“It’s like being on tour with your big brother,” Cube says. “He’s just one of those dudes who — pound for pound, lyric for lyric — has done the most out of any emcee, because he ain’t just rapping no bulls—.
“It’s something real. And even when rapping about bulls— is popular, I mean, he still stick to what he do. That’s great. For artists like myself, and him being one of my peers and me really looking up to Chuck, it’s good that he sticks to the script.”