(August 2006) | Interview By: Nima
Dubcnn.com is back with another interview
from a Hip-Hop legend. After creating a massive internet buzz last week with the
four part Snoop Dogg interview we are proud to present an in-depth interview with
In this exclusive and hour long interview we discuss his latest
release "Laugh Now Cry Later," touring, WC, Mack 10, Ghost-writing,
Dr. Dre, the Aftermath deal, his past with CIA, N.W.A including the Eazy/Jerry
Heller situation and how the group could easily have stayed together and much
more in this detailed, exclusive interview.
As always we have both the transcript and the audio for you to check and
please feel free to send any feedback regarding the interview to: firstname.lastname@example.org
done by phone in July 2006
Questions Asked By : Nima
Ice Cube Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That Here
Full Interview In Audio : Here
Well Cube you’ve been on tour for the past month, how has the response to the
new album “Laugh Now Cry Later” been?
You know people have been really
diggin’ the record, digging the show, It’s a trip just seeing all kinds of different
fans there you know. Black, White, Old, Young you know it’s like everybody’s there.
Everybody’s into it and me and WC we got a high energy show and we really give
it to them. We try to drop nothing but the hits so people really response to them.
Dubcnn: You toured together with Daz and Kurupt; how did that happen?
You know Snoop worked with me on this record so when he heard I was going
out on tour he told me that Daz and Kurupt had an album coming out right after
mine and would I mind them being on the tour opening up and of course it was no
problem. Actually they made the show that much better because people really got
their moneys worth.
Dubcnn: Right and did y’all record anything
while on the road other than “It’s all hood” from Cali Iz Active?
No we didn’t record nothing, I was out there really doing concerts and doing promotional
stuff so we really didn’t have time to get in the studio and me not touring for
awhile you know my voice took a minute to get strong after the first few shows.
If you ain’t been on the road in awhile you voice kind of gets weak then it gets
stronger and stronger and stronger so it ain’t really cool to record lyrics on
the road. I don’t think!
Dubcnn: I mean we know Cube for the
strong voice, you’ve always been a strong voice.
Yea you know all
that rapping late at night sometimes it just take it’s toll if you ain’t did it
Dubcnn: You know speaking of “Cali Iz Active”, you
were at the video shoot. What kind of feeling was that to have all those artists
in one spot at the same time?
It felt real good you know, I felt
something I really never felt before out of LA hip-hop. Which is a feeling of
unity and the feeling of the next man really wants you to succeed. You know we
all friends but we all compete when it’s all said and done for the consumers ear
and dollar you know. That feeling is kind of gone right now, everybody think that
we all really need to work with each other and help each other be successful to
maintain west coast status of hip-hop.
Dubcnn: But was it all
mutual respect at the shoot but was there any animosity between cats?
It was all mutual respect no animosity. Everybody was down to have a good time
and happy that we were all together. People really had a ball, the crew and everybody
that was working on the video was tripping on it. Everybody had to take pictures
and it just was that feeling where people just felt like they were apart of something
that was historic.
Dubcnn: How are you feeling the independent
route? How’s the promotion been for the new record?
I’m loving it!
It feels good to be independent I haven’t felt this good about the record business
in a long time. You know you can get kind of detached away from what the industry
takes to move and shake when all you doing is handing records in and having meetings
and you never really getting your hands dirty when you’re working with a major
label. When every dollar that’s spent is yours you really pay attention to where
it’s going and you take a little interest in the music industry and how it moves
today and what works and what don’t work plus how to apply it to record promotion
push and I felt like we’ve done an excellent job.
There are artists who
come out with major push and more dollars spent than we spent and they still haven’t
got the response that we have got.
Dubcnn: I mean you still managed
to put strong first week sales and what do you think made a difference that made
people go out and purchase “Laugh Now Cry Later”?
My history got
something to do with it. People just really been waiting for a record from me
you know that had a little to do with it. Me going around the country and pushing
the record you know we pushed the record 8 months which is unheard of right now.
Dubcnn: But you still managed to put a date and you dropped on that
date which is very very rare these days.
Yea you know we was committed
to drop on that date, we had a plan that everything would kind of go into a crescendo
on this date. We don’t have a lot of people working for the company. Just a few
people but everybody’s smart. With the help of people like Tony Draper of Suave
House who’s an independent master. That’s the only thing he’s done his whole life
is the independent game.
You know he’s never went to a major so having him
on the team was a asset, a management team the firm working with people like Mike
Apoli over there. Very smart people who. Very smart people who know who to get
and you got these majors sitting over here with all these people on the payroll
and we got it done in a lot of instances where they haven’t this year.
Dubcnn: Did you reach out to producers for the album or did you get many
submissions when the word was out that you were doing a record?
didn’t really put the word out you know I just did it. I mean I wanted it to be
organic I wanted everything to feel right so people kind of found out and I got
a call from Swizz Beats, Lil Jon you know his beats are the ones that kind of
sparked me into doing this record.
I had worked with him on “Crunk Juice”.
Dubcnn: Yea when people heard that they knew you were back, when
they heard the energy you had.
Yea you know I felt good about that
record and working with somebody that’s kind of on top of their game as a producer
always brings out the best in the mc, so working on that he slid me some beats
and I just kind of never listened to them just put them up and then one day I
was on vacation and I was bored so I pulled out his beats and started listening
to them and it was on fire on there. I was like ooh ok I felt like writing and
I was just dedicated from day one that I’m gone do this record for my fans and
I ain’t trying to play this music business game and try to do a hit or try to
worry about sales and soundscan and spins and charging A&R plus market share
I’m like fuck all that let me just worry about not hip-hop fans but Ice Cube fans!
Let me just start there. And do a record for them and that is where I kept my
head the whole time.
Dubcnn: Yea you kept it straight gutter
basically with it and a lot of people were surprised that at a time where hip-hop
is so washed up you can say that you came with the authentic shit!
Yea that’s what it’s all about man. You know because if you do your job all the
other stuff will come but hip-hop should come from the heart man. People do hip-hop
for to many arterial motives in their head and you know hip-hop is turned corporate
and that’s wack.
You look around and nobody who’s a historian of hip-hop
is running hip-hop right now it’s a bunch of dudes out of marketing school and
shit. I just wanted to come from the heart man and just keep it there let it fall
that way and people will reward me for that.
Dubcnn: Is Budda
the same that did a lot on “Bow Down”?
Yea he’s the same cat.
Dubcnn: We haven’t heard from him in a long time I was glad to see
him back on the team.
You know I always work with a different array
of producer’s man and it really boils down to who got the beats that fit the material
because sometimes I write without beats and I have to fit the beats to the rhymes
and sometimes I get the beat and write a rhyme to that particular beat. The music
business sometimes turn dudes inside out if they can land on their feet they figure
out how to make money but sometimes dudes be out of pocket for a few years and
unwrap the head around with what this business is all about.
I mean yea you had a lot of big name producers and upcoming producers and I can’t
believe that Budda isn’t a platinum producer after he did “Bow Down” I mean the
shit he had on there was vicious so I was kind of surprised that he didn’t blow
up like that.
Well you know he’s not a self promoter you know what
I mean. So sometime when you’re not a big self promoter people don’t find you
and you’re kind of in your own world. I love Budda production you know I think
he’s unique it’s all wet it’s quality you know sometimes dudes will give you beats
and it sound like demos but his beats always sound like records.
Dubcnn: Right I mean you were producing a lot too; are you still into producing?
Ah yea I’ve produced every record that I’ve done *laughs* but as far
as doing beats I don’t do beats as much as I used to just because I feel like
I should let the pros do what they do and I should mc and worry about the lyrics
you know. If you stray yourself to thin and your shit is not as hot you know and
by doing everything I do I’ve learned what I do best and what I should kind of
help out and not be the centre focus of and doing beats. I could do beats I like
it but it’s dudes out there that are on it 24/7 and those are the people I should
be hooking up with because producers need to make money too.
Okay and you recorded a Kokane record called “I Spit Pollaseeds”; why did you
decide to redo that one?
Well I felt like the record never got it’s
just due and it was so dope and I just wanted to rhyme to it.
How was it being in the studio with Kokane and WC doing that track?
It’s always cool being in the studio with them cats man I don’t know Kokane as
much as I know WC but you know people who are real talented and kind of do it
their way I like that! I like people who haven’t conformed just because they haven’t
turned into platinum selling artists. I like the energy that comes from dudes
who’s happy with their talent and the fan base that they have. So it was good.
Dubcnn: How was it getting back into the studio banging out a new
solo? I mean it had been quiet a few years.
It was fun but I ain’t
never too far from the studio anyway. We did Westside Connection album and I did
a couple of songs for XXX so I was always in the studio back and forth but to
work on the album it felt good to push the movies aside just to do this record.
That’s what felt good that I didn’t have any distractions. I didn’t have a time
limit you know. It wasn’t like you have to hurry up and finish because we have
to start this movie on this date which has happened to me ever since I did “Boyz
In The Hood”. I’ve done records under them kind of circumstances.
Dubcnn: What sparked a lot of conversation in
a lot of places was when they heard Ice Cube say 'Fuck a ghost writer'.
Yea I don’t believe in ghost writers. I’ve never used a ghost writer a day in
my life for no lyric what so ever. *laughs* Only person who’s ever helped me with
a rhyme is my cousin Del when he did back in the day and you know Mack 10, WC
while we were working on the Westside Connection album we went through a line
or two but…
The purpose of being a rapper and having a ghost writer that
shit just don’t match. It’s like playing football and you being a receiver but
someone else catch for you. I have never used a ghost writer.. Shit it’s like,
Dubcnn: Tell us a little bit about your label Lench
Mob Records. Are you planning on releasing more acts through that? I know WC is
Just WC! Me and WC. You know it’s time for us to really
lookout for each other. I mean we’ve been in the game a long time and we just
ain’t got the time to focus on any other groups. So what we going to do is make
sure that we stay active and we put out records consistently and then see what
happens after that. I’ve already did my share of putting groups out you know it’s
the other dudes turn.
Dubcnn: When can we expect WC’s “Guilty
By Affiliation” record?
You know we just now getting our feet wet
with it so I don’t want to put a date on it but it’s gone be spring next year.
We ain’t just gone bum a record together.
Dubcnn: Right, I mean
his last record didn’t really work out the way he hoped to you know with Def Jam.
Yea man you know Def Jam is a New York company. We’re LA based and that’s
where we fell apart at.
Dubcnn: Okay and what producers are you
going for on the WC record?
Whatever’s hot man!
It ain’t fixed yet?
Na na, whoever hot, people been giving us beats,
we’ll sift through them and see which of them are dope enough to make WC songs
out of them and um you know I don’t ever plan it out like that, however it flows
that’s the way it should go.
Dubcnn: I mean yea, he never really
got his fair share
Na that’s why I want to make sure he gets it this
go around, make sure its produced all the way right and then put out all the way
right and WC walks away with his money and that’s what its all about.
Dubcnn: For years you and Mack 10 seemed like close friends and worked
together a lot and performed together and this question still hasn’t been answered
yet and we hope you can shed some light on the issue. What happened?
I ain’t really into snitching but I’ll tell you that it’s a family matter. We’ll
work it out one day.
Dubcnn: Okay I heard a little something
like your wife was, someone from Mack 10’s group was your wife’s brother or something
like that and there was a problem…is that what happened?
It was a
beef and um and you know, people got outta line and you can’t get outta line,
everybody gotta stay in line, you outta line, then you outta line - that’s all
I can say.
Dubcnn: So there’s no more Westside Connection?
Oh yea there’s a Westside Connection
Dubcnn: But not
with Mack 10?
As of now Mack 10 is not part of the Westside Connection.
Dubcnn: Do you think there’s a chance you could resolve your differences
in the future?
There’s always a chance yea.
Another artist we used to see you around a lot was Mr Short Khop, he made a banging
record but then disappeared, you still talk to him?
I don’t deal
with Mr Short Khop no more, Short Khop chose to go with the co-owner of Heavyweight
and I don’t deal with that dude no more so I don’t know what Short Khop is doing,
I met Short Khop through the co-owner of heavyweight so…
You two did some good shit together but thats it huh?
it, a lot of people cant keep up with me man and um if you can’t keep up, I cant
drag you, na mean? You gotta keep up, stay at the top of your game, be smart.
You lose any of them I can’t slow down for you, I gotta leave you I’m sorry.
Dubcnn: I know you had problems with Shorty from The Lench Mob, has
that evolved there?
That’s old news man, na mean?
You don’t fuck with them dudes no more?
I don’t have no problems
with anybody in the Lench Mob. Never did.
Dubcnn: You keep in
touch with Jay Dee?
Every now and then we write yea but you know.
Dubcnn: When you had announced that your new album would be coming
out through Aftermath Records, it became one of the most anticipated records –
what really happened there?
We couldn’t make a deal.
Dubcnn: What does that mean?
That mean I was asking for too much
and they was willing to give up too little.
Dubcnn: It was a
Oh yea, it was money, points, contract issue, yea. Every
business man, should have a bottom line, I got a bottom line and Dre got a bottom
line and when two bottom lines don’t meet you can’t make a deal, I’m fine with
that, that’s cool.
Dubcnn: That was the question because some
people someone like Rakim said it was down to musical differences when he left…but
with you it wasn’t about the music?
I didn’t hear about no musical
Dubcnn: With Rakim?!
Oh with Rakim?
Dubcnn: Yea that’s what I was saying, when he left it was musical
differences but with you it was different?
Yea it was different,
it was um, it was contract yea.
Dubcnn: That’s too bad man, people
been waiting for you and Dre to hook back up!
Yea they is *laughs*
Dubcnn: You talked about a collaboration, maybe for Detox?
Nah but if he calls I’d be in the studio, all Dre gotta do is call.
Dubcnn: DJ Crazy Toones has one of the hottest mixtapes on the streets right
now and you did a mixtape with DJ Warrior, how do you view the mixtape game right
Its aight, um, it’s Jacking for Beats on steroids *laughs* but
um yea it’s a way to give away a gang of free records, I ain’t really all the
way with it, its cool, its part of the game but I mean if you do too many mixtapes
why should I go by your record? Na mean, what should I by your record?
Dubcnn: A lot of people waste all they good raps on mixtapes and they
run out of shit to talk about on they records...
Yea man, to me its
crazy, I’d rather build a fanbase and drop records consistently - just drop a
record every year don’t worry about it - but that’s part of the game, i’m with
it a lil bit but not too much.
Dubcnn: Yea DJ Crazy Toones told
me you felt that people were releasing unfinished albums and calling them mixtapes
cause they cant get a deal. What you think about that?
Yea it’s true
too, you know but you can’t complain about the game you just gotta play it, that’s
what I try to do.
Dubcnn: You look back on an amazing career,
is it ok with you if we take a little trip back in time with you for a moment?
Dubcnn: You started off with CIA, describe
the CIA Ice Cube, who were you then as a person?
Shit, a youngster
trying to be down any kind of way I could in Hip-Hop, try to get better as an
MC, looking for a battle wherever I could find one. Into sports, into hip-hop.
Dubcnn: Did you sense that there was something
huge that you would be a part of?
Na, not really cause I thought
what I was a port of was huge, just being able to just dig through crates for
the parties, getting in free every weekend, that was big to me, we was young and
LA Hip-Hop was kinda local so we just figured no one gonna be bigger than the
local dudes and I was doing it so I was trying to get some kind of love off anyone
who heard us rap.
Dubcnn: When N.W.A exploded did you really
know what you’d done?
Um, after they told us we had a show in Chicago…up
til then all our shows was on the Westcoast, but when they said we had a show
in Chicago with Big Daddy Kane and groups like that I was like “god damn we really
made it” and then it starts to hit you, up til then we were just some guys from
California, that was the extent of it.
Dubcnn: Wasn’t it weird
to leave the group? I mean the reasons were understandable but wasn’t it weird
to leave a group you helped build up?
Na cause we all came from other
groups anyway, it wasn’t like we was all NWA from little kids, we were an all
star group anyway, so leaving it was like, you know I just I cant be around somebody
who aint doing me right, I just cant do it no matter what the situation is, cause
I felt relief back then cause I just wanted to get away from dudes before I get
Dubcnn: Would you like to say something about Eazy E,
you were mad back then but you made up before his death?
E is amazing, he was the godfather of what we did, he the one told us to do it,
he the one who put the money up, he put it out on his label as far as, what we
were doing was trying to do a commercial record to get on the radio - but Dre,
to make extra money was doing mixtapes for swapmeet’s in LA and uh, on the swapmeet’s
we would rap dirty on it and shit and talk about what’s going on in the hood and
Eazy was like; what your doing on the mixtapes we should do on a record – so…as
far as Ice Cube as you know him, without Eazy E….
you could relive those days would you handle things differently?
Um, I don’t know man, to me the ball was in they court, it wasn’t like I found
out I didn’t get my money and just left… I gave them opportunities to make it
right, if they made it right I woulda stayed in the group and said nothing - but
they was like, “We don’t owe you nuttin” and when I say they I mean Eazy E and
Jerry Heller, we don’t owe you nothing and we aren’t gonna pay you cause we don’t
owe you - so I was like yea you do, its right here – they was like no so im like
I’m gone. So the ball was in they court to make it right, the trip thing about
it was, six months after I left the group they paid the money…
I was like ya’ll should’ve done this six months ago I would’ve
still been in the group.
Dubcnn: Damn. People close to Eazy such
as Dresta and Lil Eazy say that Eazy having AIDS was bullshit and wasn’t the cause
of his death, what you think of that?
I can believe that, you know
I can believe that, no telling how he died. I know he wasn’t sick the day I seen
him which was about two months before his death, he didn’t look like he was dying
of full blown AIDS…
Dubcnn: Damn, Ok. You didn’t really have
a reason to worry when you felt, cause your solo career has been just as spectacular.
What has been your favourite solo release aside from the new one?
AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted.
Dubcnn: Yea the first huh?
Yea with the Bomb Squad.
Dubcnn: How was it to go to the Eastcoast?
It was fun, it was real fun, we group up admiring Eastcoast Hip-Hop,
we grew up on Eastcoast Hip-Hop so to get a chance to work with the best producers
who had the Eastcoast in the palm of they hands, was like you knew you were in
the best hands you could be in for a record – like being with Dre.
Dubcnn: Do you have any anecdotes or memories from the days like studio sessions?
Dubcnn: That’s probably a hard question huh?
Yea um, man the fact that we did the album in 30 days, we worked from
6pm to 6am every night. They made me spend two weeks in Long Island at a Warehouse
full of records…they said fill up 3 crates of what my I think my records should
be and then we go to the big studio so, me and Sir Jinx spent all that time trying
to find breaks and samples and loops, and outing the crates together, and soon
as we did that we took the crates to Eric Sadler and sat down with him and he
would um, say he’d like this and he’d flip it, do a bottom beat to it and once
we had about six or seven bottom beats we went to the big studio and we started
Hank Shocklee, Keith Shocklee and Chuck D would put all the
shit on top of the beats all the scratching, all the change-ups, all this all
that - including Sir Jinx who don’t get a lot of credit on AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted
but Sir Jinx was one of the architects of the record too, like an Executive Producer…
Dubcnn: You still fuck with him?
Yea every now and then,
he helped me on the Terrorist Threats album…
Dubcnn: Your related
to him right?
Na its Dre’s cousin.
Dubcnn: Oh its
Dre’s cousin…your related to Del, Del The Funky Homosapien right?
Yea that my cousin…
Dubcnn: You two haven’t really worked together
in the past…
He doesn’t like the kind of records I do!
Dubcnn: Yea your on a different page…
He doesn’t like, gangsta
rap at all, he doesn’t like any rap that can do a video and make money and all
Dubcnn: He got some classic shit out though, he got
a good catalogue…
Yea, but ain’t nothing fucking with “I Wish My
Brother George Was There” though, me and Pooh put that together so yea…
Dubcnn: Do you remember the producers Madness 4 Real?
Dubcnn: Yea you did some classic shit with them too,
I’m trying to get them in touch with Toones so maybe they can send you some beats,
they got a lotta shit popping!
Yea that’ll work!
They out here in Europe
Dubcnn: When you look
back at tracks like “Cave Bitch” do you regret anything that you said?
Nope…raps are like time capsules man…time capsules.
does the Ice Cube of today compare to the Ice Cube that recorded that song
Same person, he ain’t went no where.
Dubcnn: Would you
put a song like that out right now?
Do you still perform that song?
Na I don’t perform the song regardless,
It aint hitting like that, rock a crowd like; you know…
What I was trying to find out, you were always militant and always voiced an opinion
and people say that when you go into the corporate world, the business world and
into Hollywood you cant really say the same shit
Dubcnn: Cause it’s a different place, a different kind of people
Shit no it ain’t, people are people, ain’t no different, people get caught up
too much in titles. The same people…lawyers and shit were bumping “Straight Outta
Compton” not just the hood so…people are people, they can take it, you gotta be
yourself man, I cant worry about that, worry about doing numbers and being myself.
Dubcnn: You and Dre were set to put out a duo album called Helter
Skelter, how many songs were recorded for that project?
on Dre man *laughs* when its all said and done, that record and the N.W.A record
are questions for Dre man cause if he don’t produce the records then is it an
Dubcnn: I mean but you had the Natural Born Killaz
and that album would have been a timeless classic at that time with you and Dre
Yea I know - but its on Dre, in his defence when we tried to put that
record out Eminem blew through the roof then when Eminem was settling down a little
bit - 50 Cent blew up so…
Dubcnn: Yea you talking about the N.W.A
record I’m talking about the Helter Skelter project in ’95 or something…
Yea I mean after we decided that record was dope to do, Dre started going through
his issues with Death Row…so…
all falls down to if the man has the time to do it and if he feels inspired, we
Dubcnn: So it’s all on Dre huh?
Yea it is.
Dubcnn: So with Boyz in the Hood it was clear rapping wasn’t your only
talent, when did you start pursing an acting career seriously?
I did that movie.
Dubcnn: So that’s when you thought, I’m gonna
be an actor as well?
Yea when I felt like I could pull it off.
Dubcnn: Looking back what’s your favourite movie you ever did, there’s
been a lot of different ones?
Boyz in the Hood is my favourite cause
it was my first, Friday was my favourite cause it was the first I wrote and produced
and The Players Club is my favourite cause it was the first I directed.
Dubcnn: Ok that’s about it for the questions man, are there any last words
for the fans?
Yea, yea, thanks for supporting me all these years,
we been doing it 20 years now and I got 20 more years for ya’ll if you down! Glad
ya’ll like the record too!
Ice Cube “Laugh Now Cry Later”
– In Stores Now.
Ice Cube Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That Here
Full Interview In Audio : Here