Ice Cube - Stone Cold
Friday, 24 August 2007
Hip hop can exist within its own weird cultural vacuum, which is something that becomes particularly evident when trying to tee-up international interviews. The whole process can turn into a minefield of unanswered phone calls and publicist freak-outs. It seems the more famous and successful the rapper; the less they wanna talk to the media.
With all that in mind, no one seriously expected our Ice Cube interview to go ahead. And they were right. The first scheduled interview got blown out of the water due to the rappers 'family commitments'. No one batted an eyelid. In fact, a far greater shock was getting an affable Ice Cube on the line the next morning.
According to online sources, the man born O’Shea Jackson is the seventh wealthiest person in hip hop and has a personal wealth estimated at $145 million. But then Ice Cube has always been the consummate businessman. Ever since his early days with N.W.A. he's been firmly in charge of his career and his finances. It's the reason he's still here, 20 years since Straight Outta Compton propelled him, Dr Dre, Eazy E, MC Ren and DJ Yella to international stardom.
Ask Ice Cube about the phenomenal success he's achieved and he's remarkably humble. As he puts it, “I think I would have short-changed myself if I had mapped out my life and what I expected. You know, I couldn't have dreamed or imagined as child that this would be it.”
These days, that success tends to focus on his cinematic career. Having had no formal training, Ice Cube proved to be a natural when he stepped out in front of the camera for 1991's Boyz N Da Hood. While seeing rappers in movies and on television is a regular occurrence these days, Ice Cube was one of the first to make that transition, and in the process, helped inspire a generation.
While Boyz N Da Hood helped him get his foot into Hollywood, Friday, the comedy he co-wrote and starred in (alongside Chris Tucker), kicked in the door. It was this unexpected success that forced Ice Cube to put his music career on hiatus towards the end of the 90s.
“I've just been busy with the movies,” he offers when asked about the delay between albums and tours, “one movie after another. And when you're hot you need to take those roles because you don't know when it might stop. So eventually I just had to put my foot down and say I'm doing this tour.”
Of course the music career was never completely shelved. He’s sold over 10 million albums in the U.S alone and continues to move serious units even today. Indeed, it's easy to forget that the smiling, family orientated Ice Cube we see on cinema screens these days wrote tracks like Fuck The Police for N.W.A. and launched his solo career with AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted. Fact is, Ice Cube was once seen as a genuinely subversive and dangerous individual by no less an organization that the FBI.
Time, inevitably, slows down and mellows people. And while Ice Cube may no longer be turning up at award ceremonies wearing white mink coats and a black cap that reads 'N*gga', he does still have a lifetime of experiences to draw on.
WHO: Ice Cube
WHAT: Plays the Enmore Theatre
WHEN: Wednesday 29 August
MORE: ampresents.com / enmoretheatre.com.au