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Tietoa Ice Cubesta ja tulevasta levystä!!Perjantai 09.05.2008 18:20

ICE CUBE

Rap has emerged as one of the most powerful cultural forces in the last 30 years because of its ability to address and examine uncomfortable topics in uncompromising, unflinching ways. And there is one man who has unquestionably done it the best during that entire span. His name: Ice Cube.

The legendary rapper’s new collection, Raw Footage, finds Ice Cube bashing corrupt governmental practices, inspiring listeners, creating brilliant storylines while still making time to enjoy himself and showcase his braggadocio side. All of these components make up Ice Cube -- and his latest masterpiece. He says with a smirk, “I’m Raw Footage. Lyrically, what I’m all about, how I think, what I say and what I do. The album is really about music for the brain and not the booty. I can’t really show it visually, but I can speak it in a visual way by delivering it raw.”

The collection’s lead single, “Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It,” has been hailed by MTV as the first great rap song of 2008 and earned a coveted slot in The Source’s Fat Tape section. On the sarcastic Maestro-produced cut, which also has an impeccable remix featuring Scarface and Nas, Ice Cube backhandedly disses those who blame gangsta rap for all of society’s ills. “Last year the talk about rap was so distorted,” Ice Cube says. “You had Don Imus blaming the fact that gangsta rappers say, ‘Nappy headed hoes,’ so he thought it was cool to say it, like he listens to gangsta rap. It was bull. The Virginia Tech killing, it came on the heels of that, so somehow gangsta rap was the cause of that. It just kind of snowballed into all these different kind of things.”

But rather than play the victim role, Ice Cube wants listeners to use Raw Footage as a source of information and a resource to look toward for inspiration and solutions. The brassy “Tomorrow,” for instance, advocates making the most of your opportunities today rather than just waiting for tomorrow, while the soulful “Stand Tall” features Ice Cube encouraging people to never let someone else kill your dreams. “When you stop dreaming, you’re really on the path to nowhere because everything starts with a dream, an idea, a wish, a hope,” he says. “We find ourselves in a lot of what looks like hopeless situations, but nothing is hopeless if you really look at it. There’s always a way up. I just don’t want people to be like, ‘Forget it. That’s just the way it is,’ and give up. The worst thing we can do is give up, because once you do, the system will devour you.”

It’s the very system that Cube details in “Hood Mentality,” a song where Ice Cube advocates education by highlighting some of the pitfalls people without it encounter. “If you don’t want to learn in school, you’ve got to self educate,” he says.

Cognizant that uninformed critics will view his music as vile and incendiary, Ice Cube pays homage to them on “Thank God” by saying that if there was nothing wrong in the world, he’d have nothing to rap about.

Another issue Ice Cube felt people were ready for was a different look at senseless violence. Often in rap songs, the shooter’s perspective is documented. But what about the victim? On the emotional “Why Me,” Ice Cube delivers a masterful look at the innocent bystander who is killed by random gunfire. It’s a transformative song, one that moves you on a spiritual level.

“I was thinking about people who get shot walking down the street and don’t know who shot them, who don’t even know that they’re dead because it happened so fast,” Ice Cube reveals. “I know they want to at least talk to the person who shot them and ask, ‘Why me? What did I do to you?’ I wanted people who are into busting on people to think about what they’re doing and how you’re killing innocent bystanders for nothing. I wanted people to think about it and the only way I could do that is from the perspective of the victim. We always hear from the shooters. It was an angle that hasn’t really been touched. Those are the easiest songs to write.”

Ice Cube has been looking at untouched topics since his emergence with N.W.A in the late 1980s. As the lyrical mastermind behind N.W.A, the group’s Straight Outta Compton launched the gangster rap revolution thanks in large part to the landmark “Fuck Tha Police” song, and Ice Cube’s solo material, including undeniable early 1990s classic albums AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted and Death Certificate, solidified Ice Cube’s place as rap’s most important and socially aware artist.

Soon thereafter, Ice Cube became a major Hollywood force. He is the star, producer and catalyst for the Friday and Barbershop film franchises, all released through his own company, Cube Vision; and has become one of the most bankable actors thanks to his charismatic turns in box office hits such as First Sunday, Are We There Yet?, Are We Done Yet?, Boyz N The Hood and Three Kings to name a few.

As his status in the film world increased, Ice Cube remained prolific in the music realm, with 14 releases as a solo artist or a member of a group (Da Lench Mob, Westside Connection), including the blockbuster 2006 release of Laugh Now, Cry Later, the first album Ice Cube released on his own Lench Mob Records and the most successful independent hip-hop release of 2006. It all adds up to a remarkable rap career that continues expanding and evolving. “When you start peeling off the layers -- as far as content, staying relevant in the game, always having something to say, not repeating myself too many times, groundbreaking stuff, being a champion of the West Coast -- once you tally it all up, I don’t know who else can hold up,” he says. “Just on volume alone, it’s hard to keep up.”

It’s also hard to keep up with all of Ice Cube’s projects outside of rap and film. In 2007, he partnered with the prestigious McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota to establish an annual music scholarship. The Ice Cube Scholarship will be awarded to one student annually in the music technology department. Ice Cube will personally select each winner based on the creativity, talent and skill in developing a song based on elements he provides them with. Also in 2007, Ice Cube and long time collaborator DJ Pooh announced the launch of UVNTV.com, the world’s first real-time streaming television network online.

And with the stellar Raw Footage, Ice Cube extends his bulletproof musical legacy. “This is not hip-hop with a super-inflated ego,” he says. “I don’t believe this is a preachy record. It’s just real and raw. It’s a spiritual record in a lot of ways too. It’s not just hardcore. It’s a record that hopefully touches people deep down inside of them and is not just something that they hear and are like, ‘That’s cool.’ I want it to be something they feel.”

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