Ice Cube - Raw Footage

2008-12-05 13:41
Clearly hanging out in Hollywood's Barbershop hasn’t completely shaved off the socio-political rage that made N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton such a hardcore listen back in 1988. But two decades later do we still need such gangster rap braggadocio? Uh-huh. See, Raw Footage isn't just some dick-swinging contest aimed at cutting today's Billboard chart 'thugs' down to size.

Sure Cube boasts. "You niggaz know my pyroclastic flow" he jabs on album opener "What is a Pyroclastic Flow?". And yes he battles. "I been ballin' since the word 'ballin'' been played out" ("I Got My Locs On"). But you know what? When Cube delivers a left hook like "Fool, I'm the greatest/You just the latest/I'm loved by your grandmamma/And your babies" (off "Jack in the Box"), you walk straight into the next sucker punch: "Stop looking for the best rapper, God damn it, here he is!" ("Thank God"). Not just because he's been around the hip-hop block. But because his rhymes have real muscle, not just hustle.
"If you don't want to shake that hood mentality, how the f**k we 'sposed to change our reality?" he asks on the neo-soul tracked black consciousness critique "Hood Mentality". After 25 years in the game Cube is beyond the beef. While his rage rallies against the corporation ("Cold Places") and the thug life postures of MTV MCs ("Why Me?"), he doesn’t just piss on everyone else's turf.

Lead single "Gangsta Rap Made Me Do it" may interrogate Oprah’s motive in demonising gangster rap as being to blame for inner city crime, but this hip-hop history lesson also finds Cube inventorying his own part in selling the thug life stereotypes. "Only thing I expect is self-check…one generation from slums, happy for these little crumbs" he observes later on bling rap review "Get Money, Spend Money, No Money".

Make no mistake Cube's flow isn't flawless throughout. "Here He Come" boasts one of the year's most clunky couplets: "Now what this got to do with the price of tea in China? Nothing, motherf***er, just don't act like a vagina." Okay then. Thing is, with a roll call of 'no name' young producers including Young Fokus, Maestro, Emile, Teak and DJ Crazytoones filtering the 808 synthesiser sequences, drum clatters and dirty brass from fantastically low slung G-funk minimalism to wall of surround sound Bomb Squad grooves and back, you're more than willing to turn the occasional deaf ear.

Come to think of it, if you’re turned off by politically incorrect rhymes what the hell are you listening to hardcore rap for anyway?

- Miles Keylock

"I got King Kong in my trunk, King Kong in my doors/My nuts play ping-pong from the noise/You can hear me from a block away/I'm sittin next to yo' ass and can't hear, what you got to say/My shit is loud, my ears is ringin'/My paint job is wet, my chrome is gleamin'/I feel like a vet ballin' on these rookies/An old school bully, you must have played hooky/I bring it like a bookie my aggression is depressin’/Don't give a muthaf***er time to learn his lesson!/A lunatic! Y'all know what I represent/

Modiba 2008/10/20 6:17 PM
revolutionary & gangsta tight flow. is cube back?
Mindlo 2008/10/21 7:26 AM
OG time With these young rappers failing to deliver, its OG time
Neil 2008/10/23 10:18 AM
Wrong OG Ice T rang out the OG, not Ice Cube! Sound like it could be worth a listen, production should be good for a loud listen in the car.
mongezi 2008/10/23 4:39 PM
Hollywood rap mmm! NWA was a hit no doubt and the only thing cube did after that exept from movies was `no vaseline`, everything else didnt impress me at all. Will take a listen though....
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.