Ice Cube's latest CD In The Movies features the
gangsta rapper's biggest singles from the movies where they were
placed. I was wondering why the music sounded like old-school
rap/hip-hop from the early '90s, especially since his CD War
& Peace in 2000 refreshed his sound with more emotive
pop/rock accents. The songs on In The Movies sound dated,
coming from such '90s movies as Next Friday, Player's
Club, and Boyz 'N The Hood. The gangsta rap culture
has made impressive strides since the hardcore pounding and urban-techno
phrasing of the '90s by incorporating more classic piano, ambient-pop,
and orchestral tones like in the music of Antonio Delgado.
In The Movies is a retrospective of Ice Cube's most popular
singles like the disco-tinged "How To Survive In South Central"
from Boyz 'N The Hood, the hard hitting robotic hammering
of "Natural Born Killaz" with special guest Dr. Dre
on background vocals for the movie Murder Was The Case,
and the catchy parody "You Know I'm A Ho" from Player's
Club. Ice Cube's music shows a visceral understanding of the
trends in rap/hip-hop culture with lyrical content that expresses
redundant profanities and controversial commentaries on social
conditions that were written to shock people and stir up emotions.
The movement in which Ice Cube was involved through the '90s
started a revolution that has accomplished its task - for rap/urban/hip-hop
to become a viable global music force. Ice Cube began his career
in rapping in the bad-boy group N.W.A. and gradually became
a solo artist and parlayed that into acting, which people may
remember from the George Clooney drama Three Kings
or the comedy series Are We Done Yet? and Are We There
Yet? Rap artists like Will Smith, LL Cool J,
Queen Latifah, Bow Wow, and Ice-T show that
in the soul of every rap artist [there] is an actor eager to come
out. There seems to be a direct connection between rapping and
acting that is not as strong in any other field of music. It's
like the music of rap artists is more than just about the music,
but reflects their personality. This would explain why so many
rap artists often don't go by their birth name but create a persona
like Ice Cube has done - he was born O'Shea Jackson in
South Central Los Angeles to parents who taught at UCLA.
Looking over Ice Cube's catalog of songs from In The Movies,
so much of his music goes into overkill with anger and lust that
it feels redundant and stuck in a rut. It's a perfect album for
fans of Ice Cube's music or fans of old-school gangsta rap, but
as for appealing to different audiences, it does not have the
goods. The rap/hip-hop culture has moved ahead from what was produced
in the '90s. The album is like going back in time, which is great
for a visit but you probably don't want to stay there.
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