Ice Cube’s got a new solo album ‘Raw Footage’ and family movie ‘The Longshots’. CNN’s Denise Quan spoke with the N.W.A. rapper on the set of his new music video for ‘Do Ya Thang’, who said the group’s music “made it okay for artists to really be themselves.” Cube also talked about the chance he’ll play Mr. T’s infamous role in the big screen adaptation of the ’80s TV series ‘The A-Team’. “If it can all come together, I would love to play B.A. Barachus,” Cube said.
Jay Leno joked during his Tonight Show monologue on Tuesday night, “Have you seen this new look for Northwest Airlines planes. They now have a huge NWA painted on the side. Wasn’t that a rap group, NWA? You thought the pilots were carrying guns before, yeah, we got NWA in the place. What is that? Oh, and speaking of that, I love this. Rapper Nelly, he’s been on the show a bunch of times. I like Nelly. He’s like a businessman now. Nelly is coming out with a new energy drink called Pimp Juice. He says it’s full of vitamins. It will be in stores next months. Isn’t that a big problem now in America, vitamin deficient pimps? ‘You know, I’d like to smack my ho, I just don’t have the energy. [Laughter] If only I had a drink.”
Michael Roberts of the Cleveland Scene weighed in on the impact N.W.A. had on hip hop. Roberts concludes, “The legacy of N.W.A. is more about getting wasted and getting laid than it is about destroying a racist power structure. That shouldn’t be a surprise, since the former is a lot easier to accomplish than the latter. But at its best — and ‘Straight Outta Compton’ certainly qualifies — gangsta rap can rattle the Man even as it provides a seductive soundtrack for excess. And that’s definitely worth taking credit for.”
Bob Strauss of the Los Angeles Daily News spoke with Ice Cube on his days with N.W.A., where he admitted, “I’ve got more understanding about things now, so I’m not so angry about why things are the way things are.” Still, he’s not about to repudiate his incendiary, expletive-laden early work. “I think the true legacy of N.W.A. is that, for some reason, that record ‘Straight Outta Compton’ just gave freedom to artists all over the world to be whatever they are — and not have to conform or be something they’re not or not really say what’s on their minds,” he figures. “We opened floodgates of freedom — and there’s a lot of good in that and a lot bad in that, too. Y’know what I’m saying — without N.W.A., would you have a Marilyn Manson? I dunno, but to have people still doing that form of hip-hop to this day, it just kind of shows you how powerful that one record was.”
Jeff Liles of the Dallas Observer ran a scathing article on N.W.A. after the Dallas Morning News ran a huge write-up on them earlier this month. Liles said, “Public Enemy was militant and educated; the members of N.W.A. were merely anti-social role players. And their music was prostitution on a number of different levels. It sold out the urban African-American public as a people who justified violent crime as a reasonable means to an end. At the same time, they (along with Ice-T and, later, Tupac Shakur) allowed white entertainment executives to pimp them out as ideological spokesmen for their fractured and desperate community.”
Shan Fowler of PopMatters.com shared his thoughts on what he calls after the Beatles the most influential group in the history of pop music. Fowler opined, “N.W.A. knew what their audience wanted: then as now, the majority of hip-hop consumers nationwide were white, and the more dangerous to the white world N.W.A made themselves out to be, the more records they could sell. It’s not good for busting stereotypes, but it’ll sure fill your pockets.” Read more.
MTV News caught up with Dr. Dre to get his thoughts on when we might see a reunion album from N.W.A., a project that’s been talked about for a couple of years now. “I would love to do it, but it’s just like, that seems like a project that is close to impossible to get done because all of us are doing so much other stuff,” Dre said recently. “You can’t make a record if you can only get together once a month. It would be really difficult.” Read more.
Terry McDermott of the Los Angeles Times put together a fantastic account of the origins of N.W.A.’s underground rise to become basically the founders of a genre in the late 80’s. McDermott wrote, “N.W.A had more of an effect in less time than probably any figures in pop music history. It’s as if Sinatra had become Sinatra by cutting a single record, as if Dylan quit before going electric. N.W.A incited a revolution that redefined hip-hop just as hip-hop was poised to overrun popular culture. As pop has increasingly become the culture that matters, hip-hop has reached deep into mainstream America.” The article at latimes.com has since been removed.
Ice Cube was on with Carson Daly on Total Request Live on Tuesday promote his new film ‘All About The Benjamins’ out on Friday. Cube says a reunion with NWA is possible but free time was the major obstacle. “We all want to do a record but we know we have to do, you know, a record that’s off the hook. We just can’t just all go in the studio and do anything. So, it’s just time. We all, you know, our time is just limited and we don’t have the time, really, to marinate and do the record so that’s why it’s been on hold but, as soon as we finds time, as soon as Dre said yo, ready time to go to the studio, we’ll be in there but we don’t want to just go throw anything together, you know,” He said. Read on for a transcript.