When you’re one of the creators of gangsta rap, there’s always a story to tell. Nearly 25 years into his career, Ice Cube is feeling cocky. And why not? His contributions to hip-hop are mammoth. From his groundbreaking days as a founding member of “the world’s most dangerous group” N.W.A. to his fire-and-brimstone politically-charged solo statements, Cube is indespensible when dissecting the evolution of rap. Yes, there are critics who will point out that the influential visionary lost his sneering bite during his impressive turn as a major Hollywood player, starring, directing and producing in films like Friday, The Players Club, Are We There Yet?, Barbershop and Lottery Ticket. But the grizzled West Coast vet is not about to put down the mic anytime soon. With a new album, I Am The West, in stores, a defiant Cube breaks down his indelible musical career one song and album at a time. He’s not going anywhere, folks.
“My Posse” (1987)—C.I.A.
I first met Dr. Dre in 1983 going into ’84. He was the most famous person I knew at that time [laughs]. He was in the World Class Wreckin’ Cru who just dropped a record called “Surgery.” Dre was the only person I knew who actually released an album, so I was excited to meet him. When he heard me flow, he took me under his wing. He would be at the house making records and I would help him write whatever I could to just get in where I fit in. Before N.W.A., we were in a group called C.I.A. We were on Epic Records and we had a song called “She’s A Scag,” which Dre used the Tears For Fears track “Shout.” It was a cool little song, but it wasn’t particularly hot, so we ended getting dropped from the label. Then we got on Crew Cut Records and changed our name to C.I.A., which stood for Criminals In Action. But the label didn’t want us having the word ‘criminals’ on our record [laughs]. So they made us change it to Crew In Action and needless to say we were mad about that shit!’
That’s when we came out with “My Posse.” We recorded that record six or seven days after the Beastie Boys’ License To Ill came out. And Dre was like, ‘Y’all gotta rap like these dudes…real loud and screaming and shit.’ We thought, ‘Man, this style is kind of crazy.’ Dre had us on “My Posse” fucking screaming our heads off like we were Adrock because that was the new sound; the new style. We were a little bit out of character on that song [laughs].