LINK: Ice Cube Talks Gangsta Rap With Complex

In a new interview with Complex gangsta rap icon turned movie mogul Ice Cube has an interesting perspective on the evolution of rap in the last 15 years. According to Cube, “escapism” gangsta rap became so much more popular than music with a message for a few reasons. Check out this excerpt where he breaks it down:

C: In NWA, you guys said what you wanted to say and you never held back-how different is it today?
Ice Cube: I don’t know if it’s different. I don’t know if rappers are holding back. I think the rappers are going with the audience. At some point mainstream media decided to promote hardcore gangster rap to the masses on a big level, and you can’t blame the rappers for that, it was something that [the media] did in the mid ’90s. Now they want to blame us for them taking it and blowing it up. The Viacoms and all these people in the world got to take the blame too. They ain’t no innocent bystanders in this shit either. So if it got out of control or whatever, it ain’t just because of the artist.

C: Interesting…
Ice Cube: What it is is that they kind of pushed escapism rap, and they pushed the political rap to the back. Political rap is more of a threat than shake-ya-ass, titties, get drunk, take an X pill, whatever the hell type of music-so that’s what they wanted people to be focused on. They didn’t like things were said in the early ’90s, late ’80s,that have been lost until now. In the late ’90s there was no market for this kind of rap. Now through YouTube and people getting their own information through the computer and things like that, people are getting what they really want and they’re not being programmed. This kind of music that’s coming back is real. There was a wave to stomp it out. But it never went all the way out.

to read the full Complex interview.

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  • JDreppinSD

    Good excerpt of the interview, can’t wait 2 read it in its entirety in complex. Cube is an O.G. in the rap game and arguably still relevant cuz of his social-political messages in his music and this interview is proof! Keep tellin the real homie.

  • moresickaMC

    I agree. f*ck ignorant rap like Lil Wayne”pill poppin” ..lean bullsh*

    bring back the real

  • CL

    Now that is what I am talking about. Why in the HELL wasn’t ice Cube invited on Oprah to talk about hip hop? This was the one thing that was not said on her show.

    • Mr.Wang

      My nigga I totally agree.

  • TraitRazor

    never been a huge cube fan…

    but dude seems to have his head on straight, let’s see if he can save his career

    • Triple D

      Cube never lost his career. he’s one of the few rappers who’s been real his whole life.

    • Around and Around

      Save his career?
      Not surprising from someone with a myspace page….what are you 13? You only know about Cube since your balls dropped right?

  • deandre surrell the greatest ever

    ice cube shut the fuck up ok…..yo definition of rap dont sit well wit other people.

    the definition of rap is….it is what it is,anybody wit da concept of what it should b got shit fuckd up….u understand me?

  • Mac Sleepy

    Cube is Always on Point… I remeber his Early stuff was so Politically Charged, So for him 2 speak on it Is No suprise… i’m Glad somebody Doin It!

  • Jeopardy

    Save his career? The guy just did amazing indie numbers and made more cheese off of his album then a lot of major label artists.

  • Loony T

    Cube is the fuckin truth. yall keep listening to ya favorite rappers lying on wax while this cat is drppin knowledge. how can u hate on that.

  • jonathan

    i love you cube but you gotta understand dog! Martin Luther King, Jr. – “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

    today its me next year it will be you! without you knowing getting tortured without you knowing getting sold halfway accross the planet without you knowing! you understand! i love rap trust me! i just hate jayz 50 wang and diddy! point blank! it aint about no bitches! its about them niggas being fucking sellouts instead of looking out! seeing an oppurtunity to pimp and steal from a nigga! and doing it! they would never do that to you! and that means i gotta deal with shit legally!

    Martin Luther King, Jr. – “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” you would never let niggas destroy your kids! regardless of how fucked up they momma was! trust me!

  • Koolkidkulture

    talk to ‘em, cube.

    Boost Mobile Anthem 2.0
    Behind the scenes with Jeezy, JD and Mickey Avalon


    save his career? c’mon man????

  • green eyes

    of course its more of a threat.. its knowledge being dropped. thats always more dangerous than a jigglin ass

  • paychexx

    cube aint never let a nigga down, been down since nwa, nobody wants it with cube.

    like he say ” aint nothin like a man that can do what he wanna”

    keep givin us real life. a fan for life. peace

  • niggafrommemphis

    The interview wasn’t long enough,it’s been awhile since he’s dropped and lookin at the game now,compared to like 95,96 when he was at his rap artist peek,gotta be sad.But this is an election year,the world needs Cube and P.E etc. But cube is right and I’m gonna tell you how.When he said “they look at rap as a threat to them,think about it:WHite folks have gotten away with shit I don’t have the time to be going thru,and they have a systm designed to lock us up and keep us out of institutions and shit.You can be a square ass nigga,white folks scared as hell of your ass.And why?Aint like we got money and power and shit,they just know that they won’t control the politics and businesses in our hood forever,and we don’t have no excuse to not be able to see this for what it is.Cube was on point,we all can agree on that one,unless you with the shit.

  • gkid12345

    I was never into icecube all like that, but his new single, Gangsta rap made me do it is off the chain

  • triplesixninja

    January 8th, 2008
    at 6:15 pm

    TraitRazor says:

    never been a huge cube fan…

    but dude seems to have his head on straight, let’s see if he can save his career

    I dont know what the fuck your talkin about. ice cube has done about everything you could do in the music biz and 1. he has dropped like 15 platinum solo junts, and made himself a nice little film career as well.

  • Lucky

    ice cube is one of the greatest from the west side. gangster rap made me do it was and still a great song. i hope they play it on mtv-2 or bet any hiphop show. i will vote for it to be played. i hope you dudes do too so suport real music.

  • allen benjamin

    Cube was on point! We have to be honest with ourselves. Black artists no longer have control. Over black music that is distibuted to the masses.

  • TheRefriedMexican

    Ice Cube Fo’ life!

  • Fixda

    NWA was the shit!
    And Cube still got it!

  • The Hidden Truth

    Cube is on point, knowledge has always been POWER!! In the slavery days they always killed the slave(s) that spoke well and spoke the truth about what was going on because that slave was a threat to spread power & knowledge to all slaves. The masters knew they couldn’t control smart slaves so they kept slaves dumb. Sounds familiar to me!! Todays music is designed to keep us dumb & hood minded. Back in the day we actually learned something from music.

  • Facescar

    I remember Cube and Dre announced a NWA reunion album around 2001, with Snoop replacing Eazy-E…what ever happened to the project?


    Thank you, Cube. Music with a STRONG MESSAGE will make you more memorable then any ass shaking, money making, drug taking song on the radio waves.

  • Suanny
  • co
  • sean_izzle

    bring back real Hip Hop! fuck all the Big shit poppin, Lean wit it Rock wit it, Walk it out and the rest of the wack ATL bullshit and Soulja boy

  • Neven

    everyone knows real will never sell but cats like I will search for it deep down it the crates. Cube is right with all this youtube and myspaces with a touch of Itunes. We don’t have to dig deep anymore and artist with real message is coming up look at immortal technique he has some of the realist lines out there and still he aint going major 50 thousand on the street is 50 thounsand in his pocket.. time now for a musical revolution

  • C-Money

    Why can’t niggaz just praise Cube for doing his thing and portraying a strong message rather than trashing the south artist in the process.

    Everyone is not supposed to be a spokesperson for rap music (see: Yung Joc on CNN). Let them do their dance tracks and let Cube drop knowledge.

  • Smoove

    Smh at the “saving his career” line…Cube is a legend, he doesnt have to make songs anymore, his position is solidified in Hip Hop history.

    You know he’s tryna get his Denzel on, anyway.

    I understand what he’s saying though, and it’s what has been said…the media controls what they want you to see and hear, so they push back the music that has the ability to inform you, and they give a big shove to the music that manipulates you. DGMW though, I bust a move every now and then, but I just wish we could get back to, (or at least somewhere in the area of), the balance that the game had in the 90s.

    But as we all know…History repeats itself.

  • Knuckz

    Cube is my favorite MC of all-time. He is a legend in the game and can still spit venom with his new “pyroclastic flow.”

    @Traitrazor: Do you know what a career is? Cube’s career is pretty solid for a 20 year veteran. He is still relevant and he has his own label. Name another veteran that has pushed 500k+ of an indie album. Every west coast artist pays homage to Cube and even the east coast respects his skills. Do you research before you you make asinine statements dude!!



  • furbdogg

    Fuck soulja boy, fuck lil Wayne and all the other ‘lil’s’. Bring back that real ish

  • sssj

    raw footage ! cant wait, just like laugh now cry later!

  • Detroit

    Cube 1 of the realest in the game. And fuck any rapper wit lil, young and boy (except big boi) in there name