Ice Cube began his career with the notorious Gangsta Rap group N.W.A. He broke away at the height of their national notoriety. On his initial solo release, 1990’s Amerikkka’s Most Wanted, Ice Cube injected virulent political and cultural rhetoric that stepped above N.W.A’s gangbanging braggadocio. Ice Cube squashed the bi-coastal rap rivalry and collaborated with New York’s hip-hop heavyweights Public Enemy. Their production team, the Bomb Squad, produced Amerikkka’s Most Wanted. The track “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted” was his debut solo single and was Number One on the Hot Rap Single chart. The album sold over a million copies.
Ice Cube became a lightning rod for attracting attacks from rock critics and moralists for his lyrical content. Time has shown that the ruthless words and pointed imagery on both Amerikkka’s Most Wanted and 1991’s pre-LA riots Death Certificate were not included for shock-value. The message construed in his rhymes presaged Los Angeles’s incendiary reaction to the outcome of the Rodney King trial. America was now listening to Ice Cube. Death Certificate debuted at Number One on the R&B Album chart and Number Two on the Top 200 Album chart.
In 1992, Ice Cube continued his vocal incursion into suburban America with a role in John Singleton’s epic film on South Central LA, Boyz in The Hood and by touring on the second Lollapalooza. His next release, The Predator, galvanized him as the premiere multi-platinum West Coast hip-hop G. It debuted at Number One on both the R&B and Top 200 Album charts. The Predator was an epilogue to the LA riots and while “It Was a Good Day” provides a hassle-free moment in a Compton day, there is still dissonance in Ice Cube’s America. 1993’s Lethal Injection sees Ice Cube morphing into his “Don Mega” persona that permeates his War & Peace albums and projects with Westside Connection.
These first four albums set him up for his later successes. In addition to his War & Peace two-album series, Ice Cube has recently starred in The Friday After Next, the third installment of his multi-million dollar earning Friday movie franchise, “Player’s Club” and the critically praised “Barbershop.”