Will Ice Cube Ever Get His Groove Back?

There was a time when Oshay Jacskson aka Ice Cube, could do no wrong. Nothing. He was untouchable, almost a surrogate role model to white surburban kids who felt as if they were hearing a new language. His flow was never really a flow, it was more an attack of pre-meditated couplets/punches. It was the cadence of a news report. Riots before the riots. Is there a slipping point? I don't remember enjoying Predator that much -- buying War and Peace I and II and realizing Cube has become more stunted in his style. It was no imagination, just imagined hardcore. His connection to the West Coast was hardwired to Hollywood eventually. Before we know it -- Are We There Yet? : The Musical. Still, as much as Ice Cube and Ice-T produce questionable musical fodder in their later years, it's hard no to root for them to one day reign again. Not sure if it's their legacy or their entirely genuine personalities?

Soon you'll be seeing Mr. Jackson's comeback in motion. Surely all the usual suspects are there -- perhaps a Snoop track, WC (most underrated of the gangster era), a fairytale, a song about "jacking" I hope -- but can we believe? Can we call Ice Cube hard after he's headlined a Gathering of the Juggalos and appeared clowning for the camera in a sitcom byline during an NBA game? His documentary on the Raiders started great, but eventually jawned about how linked the team was to N.W.A. ("cause Al Davis/never paid us"). Surely the day N.W.A. is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they'll smile in unison, say a prayer for Eazy and watch a lesser group (Bone Thugz) assassinate their greatest hits. This day is coming soon.

For now. Cube sounds angry enough in "Drink the Kool-Aid" and "I Rep That West," so much "the West is going to tell (him) it's too West." But it's like the man has had a stroke that debilitated his ability to retain his witty/cutthroat beginning. That said, it's effective. "Rep" sparkles in bubbling synths and fake strings, while "Kool Aid" is a mesh of Public Enemy's furious alarm with old-school beat and rudimentary rhyme (still stunted). Both singles do hint at better things, a rise in rap stock, a revival. Let's hope he let loose a bit more on the deep cuts.

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