Ice Cube

Laugh Now, Cray Later

He took a year off Hollywood, locked doors and filled out a pad of paper, scribing nothing but O.G. lyrics, the end result, another slamming piece of west coast history. Ice Cube’s latest solo album release stamped his authority and legendary status on west coast hip-hop when on June 6th, 2006 he brought us Laugh Now, Cry Later. Poignantly titled in reference to rappers today laughing and playing at the expense of the easy-dollar market but some day they will have to pay. This being his first album in six years due to a heavy time frame dominated in the movie side of his fruitful career, the true-school O.G. came back to the studio and brought back his signature Boyz N Tha Hood comeback-stories that made him famous twenty years ago. He unleashed a twenty-track ghetto-commentary picking up where The Predator may have left us, in the smoke-hazed ashes of the race riots of the early ‘90s. Co-produced by Lil’ Jon, mixtape legends Swizz Beats, DJ Green lantern and the underrated touch of Scott Storch, Ice Cube details in a recent interview his thoughts on ironing out this new but distinctively autographed material,
"I didn’t want to make a record that was like a history book," the O.G. writer explains his purpose of this latest commercial project, "I wanted to make a record that does what all good hip-hop does: It makes you feel good; it kind of pumps you up, but it also shows you a part of life that you might not have been paying attention to or might not even know exists… That’s really the essence of the music…Yeah, its got ego and macho and all that stuff, but at the end of the day, its music that you can learn from."

Ice Cube aims his political weapon at the ever-infamous President George Bush, today’s mindless material-bling rappers and continues to reinstate his position atop the industry as the Godfather of the west coast movement. He settles any rumours of him falling off the scope of the reality-rap vision he first promoted two decades back. The first hit single off the album, Why We Thugs produced by Scott Storch with cracking hand-clap snares reminiscent of the era when Sir Jinx was behind the boards and keeps us up-to-date with the reality of all ‘hoods across the U.S. in their relatively unchanged cycle of perpetual genocide. The accompanying video shows Cube in several different ghetto neighbourhoods across the country painting the vision of “Every hood’s the same!” starring comedian and co-star Mike Epps. The video closes with Cube and Epps breaking the law and winding up in jail. Ice Cube brings the track to the forefront of modern west coast rap with the chilling lyrics left echoing through our minds,

“I'm from the land of the gang bang
Since I was little, ain't a god damn thang changed
It's the same ol same
Bush run shit like Saddam Hussein
I cock and aim, clinically insane
To deal with this bullshit day to day
If I sell some yay or smoke some hay
You bitches wanna throw me up in Pelican's Bay
Call me an animal up in the system
But who's the animal that built this prison
Who's the animal that invented lower living”
(chorus) “They give us guns and drugs, then wonder why in the fuck we thugs!...”

In "Child Support". Cube portrays himself as modern hip-hop generation’s father-figure trying to comprehend where he went wrong in raising this art form in the west and what has happened to his children, i.e. The young bastard MCs of today. Shocked but not lost for words at the hedonism of the 50 Cent era hot-stepping through the movement with complete self-gratification and materialism, Ice Cube chops the age-old game through the track trying not to sound Grandpa. In his second verse he warns young rappers to stay alive because record companies will still profit from selling posthumous records, namely shooting off a round in the direction of Interscope Records making money off dead rappers, remaining nameless. But thank God that the gangsta’s back. Cube breaks down his views on how far we have driven today in what he started a generation ago in the rear-view,

– [Ice Cube for The Guardian newspaper, August 06.]

The second released single "Go to Church" produced by Lil’ Jon Cube shares vocals with Lil’ Jon and old-time west promoter Snoop Dogg and flexes his bravado through the clenched-crunk lyrics. Possibly the most volatile berating came on "Nigga Trap" a 1st amendment-exercise system throw-down, hitting out at George Dubya and Governor Terminator of California, also directing his disgust at former label-mate and veteran Flavor Flav from P.E. parading on reality TV and keeping company of a white woman, Brigitte Nielsen. In the vast spectrum of west coast rap, Cube has always been the one to lay down the facts black-white in the same nihilistic fashion of N.W.A. with the anti-apple pie topic of debate taken from a slice of Chuck D’s bean pie. Laugh Now, Cry Later dropped 6-6-6 100% Jackson owned on his own Lench Mob Records label. It’s all about the ownership in his veteran years. Upon its first breath on the street it sold 144,000 units and only a few months later, certified gold.

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