In a promotional video for art documentary Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980, Ice Cube recently opened up about being a huge fan of Los Angeles architecture and Charles and Ray Eames. The film is aa collection of exhibitions on the Southern California art scene post World War II organized by the Getty Institute.
Cube displays his love and knowledge of Los Angeles, its freeway and particularly the Eames House in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood in Los Angeles, California.
“A lot of people think L.A. is just eyesore after eyesore. Full of mini malls, palm trees and billboards,” Ice Cube says. “So what? They don’t know the L.A. I know. The good, the bad and the ugly about L.A. The traffic. Each freeway has its own personality. The 405, bougie traffic. The 110, that’s gangsta traffic right there.” He adds, “You gotta know the difference.”
While walking around the Eames house, Ice Cube takes in the fact that the house’s frame was built in two days and included green elements.
Cube commented, “In a world full of McMansions where the structure takes up all the land, the Eames made structure and nature one. “This is going green 1949-style, bitch. Believe dat.”
He also spoke to the NY Times on his love for LA architecture. Ice Cube studied architectural drafting at a trade school in Arizona before becoming a rapper.
NYTimes: I enjoyed hearing you tick off your favorite buildings in Los Angeles, including one I was unaware of: 5 Torches.
Ice Cube: The 5 Torches is an elegant ’hood restaurant. This is where all the old players went to hang out.
I didn’t want to show off the monuments that everybody knows. I wanted to highlight the ones in the neighborhood that we grew up in, like Brolly Hut. That’s just a hamburger stand, but it’s uniquely made, like a hat or a hut. Or Randy’s Donuts.
All these things are monuments to us — or were to me, growing up.
What about the Memorial Coliseum, where your beloved Raiders once played?
I think it’s great. But it’s a blessing and a curse. You don’t want to tear it down because of what it means to Los Angeles: Super Bowl I and the ’84 Olympics were held there. But it’s outdated, so nobody who wants a luxury box wants to play a game there. It’s the reason we don’t have a team right now.
Growing up, what was your experience with the more affluent areas, like Beverly Hills and Bel-Air?
My grandmother worked at one of those Bel-Air mansions and we would go — not too often, but every now and then — to pick her up. Hollywood was probably 12 miles from my house, but it might as well have been a million miles away.
The only time I saw that world was on TV. Until I started making records.
Did you move to a big house in the hills once you became successful?
Ain’t that what it’s all about: providing a better way for your family than you had? It’s a Mediterranean-style house and it feels, to me, like an Egyptian palace. Though I haven’t been on my architect game in 25 years.