The Predator (1992)—Ice Cube
The Predator record was a change of pace for me. Songs like “It Was A Good Day” were less political because we had been so political to the point where people didn’t even think I could rap anymore. People didn’t think I was an MC! They were trying to turn me into some political figure. And I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, hold on…we are doing music. I’m just injecting what I feel is the truth in my music.’ So I wanted to get back to the music. And then in another way I felt Damn, we can’t get a song in rotation, but the [non-political] form of gangsta rap was getting played all day. I knew there was a difference. The music I was making was institutionalized-breaking shit.
The shit that me, Public Enemy, Ice T, and KRS-One were doing was not the status quo. We were making highly charged political arena shit. So, if I was MTV or any of the radio stations, I would make it my business to get us off of that political tip. And if I was a fan I would think, Man, President Clinton is in office. It’s time to party. No more Reaganomics…it’s time to let loose, man! Let’s hit the club…let’s get some weed, get a car, and get some pussy like Bill. Fuck all that political shit. We won. That’s when escapism rap became the standard. It was time to indulge.
I decided to use the track from [Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s] “The Message” for “Check Yo Self.” Those beats back then, even the shit Whodini was doing, that wasn’t sampling. Those were motherfuckers in the studio making real music. Every time I heard the music for “The Message” it made me feel a certain way. It made me feel like I had to do a hip-hop B-boy rhyme off that. I had released “Jackin’ For Beats,” but this time I wanted to push the envelope. Instead of sampling R&B, jazz and rock all the time, let’s sample hip-hop too. But thinking back, the whole gangsta rap style of the early ‘90s kicked off the Mafioso style that Biggie and them were doing. After that was the ice age with Cash Money. Now we are in the 2000’s with the same escapism shit.