interview ICE CUBE (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 Ice Cube.

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: nima@dubcnn.com

Interview was 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

Dubcnn: 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 in awhile.

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?

I 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.

Dubcnn: 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.

Dubcnn: 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.

Dubcnn: 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, common man.

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 coming out.

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!

Dubcnn: 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.

Dubcnn: 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…

Dubcnn: You two did some good shit together but thats it huh?

Yea that’s 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?

Dubcnn: 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 money issue?

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 differences…

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 now?

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?

Yea sure.

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. Uh..you know.

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 fizzled.

Dubcnn: Would you like to say something about Eazy E, you were mad back then but you made up before his death?

Yea Eazy 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….

Dubcnn: If 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…

Dubcnn: For real?

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 recording.

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 that shit.

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?

Yea vaguely!

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!

Dubcnn: 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.

Dubcnn: How 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?


Dubcnn: 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…

Dubcnn: 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

Why not?

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?

Nuttin…its 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 N.W.A record?

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…

Dubcnn: Okay

But it all falls down to if the man has the time to do it and if he feels inspired, we do it.

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?

After 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


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