Release Date: Sep 28, 2010
Record label: Lench Mob
Genre(s): Rap, Gangsta Rap, Hardcore Rap, West Coast Rap
While his 2008 effort Raw Footage brought aggression and bitterness, I Am the West leans back a bit, assured in its status and wisdom, showing hip-hop how to grow old both gracefully and gangsta. Ice Cube’s first album since turning 40 masterfully lays it all out on key track “No Country for Young Men. ” This witty, rapid-fire damnation of the ringtone rapper generation and their foolishness declares them “bitches” with “Rappers go to jail like Oprah go to Gayle/Stedman’s policy: Don’t ask don’t tell," along with a laugh-out-loud Redd Foxx line that shouldn’t be spoiled.
Ice Cube :: I Am the WestLench Mob RecordsAuthor: Steve 'Flash' JuonTwo years after "Raw Footage" proved that Ice Cube's rap career wasn't done yet, the self-proclaimed Mega Don of hip-hop has come back to make a powerfully broad assertion: "I Am the West. " When tracking Ice Cube's relationship to hip-hop, he has routinely thrown a shoutout to the "Westside" or been the rest of America's Westside Connection to what's going on in Cali-for-nigh-A, but never until now has he proclaimed himself to be the ENTIRE West coast. Whether he means it figuratively (as in he inspired the majority of today's popular rappers from out West - a fair assertion) or literally (as in the West coast rap scene or perhaps the entire Western seaboard wouldn't exist without him) he's definitely not lacking in ego on this go around.
Studying the cover art of Ice Cube’s latest album, I Am the West, it appears as though the hip-hop veteran is defending something. In a throwback to the Old West, he’s pictured slouched in a rocking chair with a shotgun resting on his lap, guarding the sanctity of the west coast rap that he helped pioneer. His lyrics only serve to expound on this theme, as he takes shots at Jay-Z (“Without Alicia Keys, without going R&B/This ain’t Motown, this is R.A.P.”) and any pretenders to his supposed throne.
Here's where I'm supposed to make a bunch of jokes about Are We There Yet? and Barbershop decimating whatever street cred Ice Cube carried into the 21st century, but I can assure you that I Am the West might have the purest artistic motivations of any hip-hop record this year. Cube is clearly not in it for the money; an independently released rap album is about the least financially beneficial project he could dedicate himself to at this point. Which makes I Am the West exciting in a way Ice Cube albums haven't been for years.
The gangsta rap legend isn’t going down without a mouthy fight. Adam Kennedy 2010 Not every hip hop game-changer follows the hackneyed rhyme-fast-and-leave-a-good-looking corpse route to rap immortality. Survive into middle age and suddenly losing cutting edge relevance is the chief pitfall to circumnavigate, as gangsta rap pioneer Ice Cube discovers on this infuriatingly incoherent California-repping set.