While N.W.A. made gangsta rap mainstream on the West Coast in the late 80s with tracks like Straight Outta Compton and Fuck Tha Police, one man was primarily responsible for the excellently uncensored lyrics of the Californian crew: Ice Cube wrote for his colleagues allem ein Mann für die exzellent unzensierten Texte der Kalifornischen Crew verantwortlich: Ice Cube schreibt für seine Kollegen Dr. Dre and Eazy-E, but he later became less dependent on the group. His solo career includes a total of ten albums that sold millions of copies, solidifying his status as one of the most important rappers of the Golden 90s. Ice Cube originally comes from a time when the scene organized itself in the clubs of Compton. Together with Sir Jinx, the young rapper founded the crew C.I.A. in the mid-80s and performed at events organized by the locally renowned producer Dr. Dre, who eventually expressed interest in the skilled MC and provided him with beats for the first and only C.I.A. record. At the same time, Cube and Dre teamed up with Eazy-E and Arabian Prince to form N.W.A. Undoubtedly, gangsta rap was never the same after that. In 1988, their debut album Straight Outta Compton was released, breaking all the taboos that the mainstream would like to uphold. The lyrics, predominantly written by Ice Cube, captured the socio-political climate of the late 80s in unprecedented hardcore form. N.W.A. called it Reality Rap.
After writing Eazy-E’s debut solo album Eazy-Duz-It, he left the group and traveled to New York to kickstart his own solo career, and enlisted the production team of his colleagues from Public Enemy to record AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted. Contrary to all expectations, Cube managed to build upon N.W.A.‘s monstrous debut and write gangsta rap that addressed pressing social and racial conflicts head-on: "It’s a shame, that niggas die young / But to the light side it don’t matter none." Drug use, poverty, and street life in L.A. all played a role, while the radically blunt expression of his political views intensified on the 1991 release of Death Certificate, causing controversy in the music press. In terms of taboo breaking, Ice Cube remained unrivaled in the 90s. However, he is also facing criticism for his openly sexist and at times antisemitic remarks, and his affiliation with the religious movement Nation of Islam is often scrutinized. Despite this, Ice Cube achieved immense success with The Predator and Lethal Injection, and his legendary status in the scene remained largely untarnished, as Ice Cube consistently delivered a stream of gangsta albums that hit the mark one after another.
With his new crew Westside Connection, the successful gangster aimed in the mid-90s to make the West Coast strong against the East Coast once again. He, along with the two members Mack 10 and WC, rose to the top of the hip hop world again, not to mention the enormous sales of their debut LP Bow Down. In addition to collaborations with Korn and David Bowie, the rapper also tried his hand as an actor in comedies like 21 Jump Street and Ride Along, and as a film producer, he is working behind the scenes, such as for the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton in 2015. His special status in the industry allows him to speak his mind on his tracks, especially on political matters, and newer albums like Everythang’s Corrupt still make clear statements, for example, against Donald Trump: “Arrest the president / You got the evidence / Did you know the new white was orange?” Ice Cube’s razor-sharp flow turns his words into weapons against the socially entrenched racism in the USA –direct, uncensored, and with an ice-cold flow.