Saturday, October 29, 2016

25 Years: Ice Cube's Death Certificate remains the best West Coast solo rap album

The biggest shock for me as a hip hop fan is how people forget early Ice Cube. If you’re my age - 32 - you might remember “Check Yourself” and “It Was a Good Day” but you probably remember Cube from Westside Connection and the late 90s when he had more club records.

“Straight Outta Compton” might have reinvigorated interest in NWA but it only had a brief glimpse into Cube’s solo career after he left. People may know Cube was NWA's chief songwriter besides MC Ren and The D.O.C. but modern fans forget that from 1990-94, he was as great as anybody who ever touched a mic.

I’ve gone as far as to say Ice Cube is better than Tupac. Tupac was brilliant with his emotion and passion but the fact some of you raised an eyebrow showed why Ice Cube is probably more underrated than he should be.

Death Certificate is the crown jewel of that early run. AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted was a powerful debut that showed Ice Cube could hold his own away from NWA. Death Certificate was a step forward in taking that rage and skill and making it more West Coast friendly. The Bomb Squad handled most of the production for AMW but DC was all Cube and Sir Jinx making it funkier.

It’s also one of the most controversial albums ever made. A town in Oregon banned copies of it and several of these songs probably couldn’t be made today (Giving Up The Nappy Dugout!). It still reached No. 2 on the pop charts and it showed why Cube was the most popular and most feared rapper out. I've already written before why I think it's the best West Coast solo album but now that my musical ears have grown, I'm breaking it down even further.