Ice Cube

The Life Side turned the page on a host of new subjects Cube has sided against. "I Wanna Kill Sam" opens up on Americas’ deployment of soldiers in the Persian Gulf comparing conscription-like military recruitment to that of the round-up of slaves from Africa. "True To the Game" condemns black Uncle Toms and House Niggas reflecting on his past business dealings with whites and Jews. On "Colorblind" Cube brought on-board a host of all-stars to help explain the life of a gangbanger from those who were brought up in the life. Kam, Coolio, WC, Threat and King Tee produced by DJ Pooh and the Boogiemen. All depicted their reality of Crip life and Blood lost from it. Cube still held his position strong in the middle. "Doing Dumb Shit" revealed a personal side of Cube’s upbringing, and first time experiencing a woman, “I was ten years old and doing dumb shit.” "Us" admits the ignorant indulgence of materialism and disconnected view of unity in black people in the ghettos. He calls for racial solidarity against Japanese capitalists buying up property in the neighbourhood and putting up stores. "No Vaseline" became the soul-destroying track responsible for breaking up NWA. Ice Cube verbally indicts the remaining members of his crew being pimped by Eazy and a Jewish manager. He proved revenge is a dish best served cold when his first album stayed silent and disassociated with them completely. Now he crept up and knocked them out cold with Dre and Ren realising they were being left fucked from behind with no Vaseline. This ended the album.

It became clearly apparent no rap album had ever been as controversial as Death Certificate. Such an album had sold well in excess of a million copies as soon as it was released but was equally met negatively with misrepresentation through bad press, nationwide boycotts from minority groups. The Economist labelled the album as reactionary as opposed to the trend of hip-hop’s rebellion image. The New Republic expressed the opinion of the album calling it a consumption of racial stereotypes with values held by those young black menaces that kill and rob with such ease as seen in movies, records and streets across the country. Three weeks after the album’s release, Editor Timothy White of Billboard magazine called for record chains to boycott the record “His unabashed espousal of violence against Koreans, Jews and other whites crosses the line that divides art from the advocacy of crime.” This editorial was uncharacteristic and unusual for the inside-trade magazine which makes Death Certificate the only album ever singled out for this brand of denunciation. By November 1 the Simon Wiesenthal Center called for four major retail record companies to boycott the album calling it “a Molotov cocktail” and “real threat” mainly finding ‘No Vaseline’ to be grossly anti-Semitic. However the album grew despite the controversy to selling over several million copies taking it double platinum success and a new line of threat to the government as they were now of the realization of the power of spoken word.

Black Korea

The controversial excerpt track from Death Certificate "Black Korea" focused on South Central’s most aggravating topic of what they see as an Asian-American takeover of their community. Cube speaks of Korean businesses plotting stores on every corner of the black neighbourhoods. Opening with Spike Lee’s, Do The Right Thing scene with Radio Raheem attempting to purchase batteries for his ghetto-blaster. "20 D Energizers …D motherfucker, D learn to speak English!" At the start of Cube’s story his lyrics portray a black man entering the store and being continually hawked by the Korean shop attendant and he bursts out in defence against a female shopkeeper following behind him thinking he is about to steal goods. The scene is similar to the opening scene of the film Menace II Society featuring O’Dogg and Kane in their local corner store buying beer. The songs entirety ends in under a minute with Cube delivering his harsh message bluntly, “Don’t Follow me up and down your crazy little market, or your chop-suey ass will be the target of a nationwide boycott.” Finally he ends his threat with “Pay respect to the black fist or we’ll burn your store right down to a crisp! And then we’ll see ya, ‘cause you can’t turn the ghetto into Black Korea.” Spike Lee’s shopkeeper, Korean Sonny spits in his final assault toward Raheem, “Mother fuck you!” The Korean American Coalition with various other cultural groups’ boycotted stores record stores who sold Cube’s new album. They picketed in New York and LA outside the stores. The real threat the track carried was that Ice Cube did in fact carry the power to incite racial violence toward Korean-Americans and fire-bombings and tension was already apparent through LA. At the time there was a political upheaval in the trial of Korean shopkeeper, Soon Ja Du who murdered black female customer Latasha Harlins over a disagreement, Du was convicted of voluntary manslaughter. As they awaited sentencing to be handed down members of the Korean American Grocers’ Association (KAGRO) feared retaliation and riots through their stores. They boycotted but it failed to decline record sales for Cube. They found a clear shot at hitting him where it hurt most.

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