Ice Cube Hopes ‘Ride Along 2′ Will Set 2016 Off Right, Talks ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Sequel and New Music
Get ready to see and hear a lot more of Ice Cube in 2016. The legendary Compton MC is one of the few rap vets to parlay his music career into something much bigger. Cube has had his hand in over 75 films since 1990, selling the public every possible image of himself: from roughneck hoodlum to lock-jawed cop to warm family man.
2014's Ride Along grossed $154.5 million in the box office during the post-holiday season, proving that Ice Cube and comedian Kevin Hart are a formidable comedy duo for Black audiences. With equal parts action and antics, Ride Along followed detective James (Cube) and his hilariously bumbling brother-in-law to be, Ben (Hart).
Of course Ice Cube, born O'Shea Jackson, is no stranger to box office success. The first film the 46-year-old wrote and starred in himself, Friday, catapulted him from West Coast gangsta rapper to legitimate actor. And 2015's Straight Outta Compton has made history as the highest grossing film by a Black director and is up for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Ensemble Cast. Not to mention it fostered Dr. Dre's star-studded final album, Compton: A Soundtrack.
Now, Cube and Kevin are back together again for their comedic cop sequel, Ride Along 2, out Friday (Jan. 15). Before the film hits theaters, XXL caught up with Cube to discuss his new movies, his involvement (if any) in the rumored Straight Outta Compton sequel and if the MC in him still has music on his mind.
XXL: Congrats on another installment of Ride Along. First, whose idea was it to take things down to Miami for the sequel? It seems like it was reminiscent of Bad Boys.
Ice Cube: I think it was Will Packer’s idea to bring it down to Miami. It kinda seemed like the space had been a little vacant for a long time when it comes to these movies so we just wanted to come to a spot where everybody loves. And that’s a great comparison. Bad Boys, they did some great movies. People hope they get back together and keep it going and you know, they welcomed to shoot in Atlanta if they want to. I don’t think any franchise owns any one town, it was really about where you can make the best movie.
You and Kevin have such good onscreen chemistry as a comedy duo. How many of your scenes were scripted and how much was improv?
I think if you put it in percentages, I think maybe it’ll be 70 percent script and 30 percent adlibs. We start off with real good scripts and we make sure our scripts are laugh out loud funny and then we go in there and add the texture to it to make it feel real and we were really trying to bring it to life. I kept laughing during the first scene when Kevin confronts the first gunman and his badge falls out just because we didn’t know what he was going to do [laughs]. He just had us in stitches. Kevin, sometimes he won’t tell you his funniest joke or funniest adlib, he’ll just hit you with it.
And with your extensive background in music, how involved are you with scoring the movies?
Not at all, really. I leave that up to the guys we hire because I really don’t have time to deal with the score of the movie. But you know, Tim Story overseeing it and Will Packer, they know what to do and you know, everything is handled to my liking. It’s really good to have them so involved. I trust them with any movie.
How is Ride Along 2 helping you set the tone for 2016 with the other movies you got coming out this year?
Well, you know hopefully, it’ll help me set it right. We have a major movie that’s still doing well in the box office called Star Wars. So, we’re hoping people are ready to come back down to Earth and ready to see something funny and we hope Ride Along is that movie. We want everyone to come check it out.
What can you tell me about Barbershop 3 coming out in April? How was it working with the newcomers like Nicki Minaj?
Oh, Nicki was great. She’s a great actress. We really kinda let her shine in this movie so it was good to see her talents really used on the big screen. Common came in and did a great job, JB Smooth was extra funny. Deon Cole, Anthony Anderson, Eve, she’s always fabulous so it was just all around good. And Malcolm Lee, the director, [his] take on this movie and make it unique and make it stand alone and still deal with real topics that need to be addressed in our community. So, it’s a great movie, I’m proud of it.
Dope. And then rewinding a little bit back to 2015, you're still riding off the success of Straight Outta Compton. How involved are you with the Dogg Pound sequel?
Not at all. We’re not even thinking about the sequel or considering on one. I don’t know who’s calling it a sequel or working on one. They can’t really call it that though technically to Straight Outta Compton. So, I really don’t know exactly what’s going on with that project but anybody that’s working on that is welcomed to give me a call.
And would you consider doing a Lench Mob biopic or just your personal biopic?
Hmm, I don’t know. You know, Straight Outta Compton was a long process so I’m just really still kind of enjoying the ride of Straight Outta Compton before I consider something else.
Back in June 2008 you did a cover story with XXL and you talked about the importance of gangsta rap in ‘08. You said “It’s all about brain food not booty food.” You remember that?
[Laughs] Yeah, I remember that.
So what do you think is the status of gangsta rap in 2015?
I mean, it’s still to me could be needed, powerful music if it’s coming from a real place. People have made it into whatever they wanted it to be. Whether they want it to be believable or fantasy or whatever but to me, it’s still is some of the most powerful music out there. It’s really in the hands of the artist to make it great again and not make it feel so much, a bunch of lies. But when they do it right, they make an impact, you know, how we did. And that’s what it’s all about. And that’s what it’s like with every form of music. I like Kendrick Lamar. I don’t know if J. Cole calls his music gangsta rap, but it definitely do what it’s supposed to do. Kanye is always interesting even though I know he don’t call his gangsta rap. He get a little gangsta on them records. So, it’s music, it either moves you or it don’t.
And what’s the status of your new music?
I have to finish all these movie projects, between this, Straight Outta Compton and Barbershop 3. After I finish promoting those movies first half of the year, then I’ll get back to it and finish that record [Everythang's Corrupt]. I’m in no rush at all, I just want it to be right. For me, it’s more important than putting it out. Once it’s right, then it’ll come out. I may have some music coming out in 2016. I don’t know if it’s going to be a full album, but it will be some cool records. I don’t put no dates on there because it’s like until I got the record mastered, in hand, I don’t want to put no date on it.
Watch Ice Cube in the Ride Along 2 Trailer
See New Music Releases for January 2016