Arts & Entertainment, Music

Ice Cube : I Am the West

“Ice Cube is the West Coast” is the mission statement for his new album. But after 16 tracks loaded with self-indulgence, Cube and his small posse of gangster no-names, has-beens, and never-weres can’t give a decent reason for why he deserves the title of “Best in the West.”

The album isn’t all bad. Tracks like “Life In California,” “Y’all Know How I Am,” and “I Rep That West” have strong, quick hooks over catchy beats, but it’s the lyrics that drop the album from tolerable to vapid. The first half dishes out the phrases “West Coast” or “California” ad nauseam, while the second half bashes Kanye West, Lil’ Wayne, Eminem, and sends a huge “F-you” to the American system that took Ice Cube out of the slums of L.A. and made him a multimillionaire.

There was a time in the early 1990s when Ice Cube could have said he was the best in the West and all of California would have believed him. But it’s 2010, and he just doesn’t have the same storytelling style or energy he had on his ‘91 classic Death Certificate. The concept of representing your side of the country is irrelevant today, and it makes Ice Cube sound bitter, cranky, and short on material. If he doesn’t realize this soon, he’s going to wonder why the incessant gratitude and appreciation he shows for California isn’t mutual anymore.

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