Ice Cube: Raw Footage

Once upon a time (in the projects, yo), Ice Cube was easily one of the most respected rappers in the world; the prototype for East Coast props and West Coast love, aided by a scowl that spoke volumes without saying a word. Then, the guy who once sang "burn Hollywood burn," quite literally went Hollywood, releasing forgettable albums and PG-rated family movies where he — gasp! — smiled. But on Raw Footage, his eighth solo album since 1990, Cube is back to being the n-word you love to hate. He blasts Tinseltown and declares himself to be the "only rapper [who] wanna fistfight the President" — outgoing President, that is — on "It Takes A Nation." Cube does sound slightly aged here, coming off like that uncle who's young enough to be kinda cool, but still old enough to be your parent's sibling. The good is that he's savvy enough to school the local bully by dropping nigh-clunky but powerful barbs like "You muh'fuckas worry 'bout flossin' so much / You don't know the fundamentals / You forgot how to brush / These 32 teeth / Will give yo' ass grief / Bite you like a Fatburger if you got beef." The bad is that he compares himself to Lou Ferrigno, which is, like, totally embarrassing.

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kris ex