There appears to be tension brewing out in Cali. Last Tuesday (March 16) Ice Cube went on his blog to address up-and-coming West Coast artists who are upset over not being a part of his recently announced new project, I Am the West.

“They’re just mad I don’t fuck with they wackass,” the living legend wrote. “They ain’t on my level. Why should I waste my time? ...It ain’t my job to make nobody famous.”

Cube’s off cuff commentary ruffled a few feathers amongst new school rappers out West. Namely, 2010 XXL Freshman Jay Rock, who took offense to the comments and took to Twitter to voice his opinion. The Watts MC stirred up some controversy of his own in the process, as rumors began to circulate that there was beef between the O.G. and rap rookie. recently connected with Jay to clear up all the drama. Here, the gravely voiced rapper shares his true feelings about Cube and the state of affairs on West Coast hip-hop. Let’s cut right to the chase; is there any beef on your end with Cube?

Jay Rock: There’s no hard feelings or beef between me and Ice Cube. I just take it personal when somebody says fuck us [the new West]. I’ve worked extra hard to get to where I am and I’ve done it with no co-sign from no one and I’m not looking for a co-sign from Cube or any other rapper. Like I said [on Twitter] all I need is my mic, my fans, my hood and this big ass gun on my side and I’m good to go. But still, it sounded like you were calling him out?

Jay Rock: Yeah, I was calling him out. I wanted him to say who he was talking about instead of making it look like he could’ve been talking about all of us new rappers. It’s a lot of people that’s hot about what he said but I guess I was the only nigga that felt the need to speak out about it. Where I’m from in the NG’s [Nickerson Gardens housing projects] we don’t bite our tongue. We was taught by our O.G.’s to call a nigga out on whatever. From your perspective, what’s the situation out West? Does that play a part in why you decided to speak up?

Jay Rock: From my perspective we coming for the No. 1 spot again. It’s a lot of young hot new rappers—including myself—grindin’, making a name for themselves and helping pick our coast back up. So when Ice Cube said, “Fuck these new wack ass L.A. MC’s,” he got me hot, man! Did you get any flack from other artists for what you wrote?

Jay Rock: Since I spoke on it a lot of rappers been calling and saying they was happy I spoke on it. But I tell everybody it’s no problem or beef with me and Cube. I’m just asking that he make it clear to the world who he’s talking about, or who he’s not talking about, so the fans won’t be lost and think every new rapper on the coast is wack and need a lifeline. Do you feel like Ice Cube was talking about you specifically?

Jay Rock: Hell, nah! I know he wasn’t talking about me but some of my fans felt like he could’ve been talking about me and I was like, “Nah, he not talking about me.” I don’t need no co-sign or lifeline from no nigga. I’m already doing my thang. I never had a convo with homie and never dissed him… But then folks from other coasts that I fuck with was like, “What’s up with that shit? Who’s he talking about?” If you didn’t feel he was talking about you, then why did it seem like you took it so personal?

Jay Rock: I felt without him saying who he was talking about, that was a slap in the face of all the rappers in L.A. that’s been grindin’ hard and it confused a lot of fans because they don’t know who he talking about and what’s going on behind the scenes.

Besides this ain’t the first time where he said something foul. The Source asked him something like, “What did he think of myself, G. Malone, and Bishop [Lamont]?” His response was like, “They ain’t saying or doing nothing new.” This kinda been going on for a minute. So I addressed it. A lot of people are going to say that you’re just salty or bitter. Is that the case?

Jay Rock: Let me clear this up for all the Ice Cube dick riders who feelings got hurt… I’m really a Cube fan and I know he paved the way for niggas like me. In my comments I never dissed him. I’m not looking for no attention in that way. I’m on the cover of XXL right now and I’ve been in every other magazine out. I’ve had videos on BET and MTV so attention is not what I’m looking for from this. To be real, it’s the same thing he was on when he was coming up. Shit, the name of his group was “Niggas With Attitude.” They spoke up on whatever they was feeling. So why is it so wrong when I say something? But I don’t need no verse or no co-sign because I’m already on, champ, and I got crazy bars! How would you have liked to see Cube handle this situation to begin with?

Jay Rock: Like an O.G. would have. Pull the young homies to the side, check ’em if he have to and let them know what they doing wrong and why he don’t fuck with them. Every rapper on our coast respect what he has done for our coast and they will listen to what he has to say. He’s done what we are trying to do. Any final message for your fans before you go?

Jay Rock: I just want my fans to know as long as I have them, I don’t need nobody else. I do respect legends in the game but if they playing while you playing you have to match up against them sometimes, like Kobe did with Jordan and Larry Holmes did with Ali. I’m sure y’all know the outcome of those match-ups. So believe me, I’m not looking for beef with nobody but I’m ready for whatever comes my way. Don’t be mad at me, that’s just how I was raised. Life in the Nickerson Gardens is rough and that makes this rap shit easy. —Brooklyne Gipson

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