Ice Cube talks Hollywood challenges, staying humble and thoughts on Drake, Kanye and Kendrick Lamar
Check out some extras from my interview with Ice Cube:
On whether he envisioned this level of success when he started out:
I didn’t see that at all. it’s just been a journey and an amazing ride, an amazing career that I just took advantage of my opportunities. I never took them for granted and just work hard, stay on the grind and look up and hopefully you can have something you can be proud of. That’s kind of how I always approached it. Because I love to create. That’s really what it’s all about for me. The fame and all that stuff is lovely, and there’s benefits out of it, but the joy I get in the stuff is just creating, working, and damn near when it’s finished I’m like on to the next.
On balancing music and film:
I love ’em both. I’m blessed to be in a position where I can do a movie and go on tour without people saying that I’m trippin. So just to be in that position to be respected in both arenas is unique, and so I ain’t taking shxt for granted. I put in as much work on both of them as I possibly can to make sure it’s top notch.
On an unauthorized NWA movie:
I ain’t heard about that one. I know it’s like when we first got this movie, I think Jerry Heller was trying to do one off of his book. That motherfxcker don’t know what was going on. He just knows his side of it, so the movie company was like, ‘We’d rather do the movie with the artists than some manager who thinks he know what’s going on.’
On the challenges facing a producer of color in Hollywood:
I don’t think it’s just a producer of color. I think it’s all producers. You know, you’re asking people for millions of dollars, you know what I mean? They’re gonna run you through the ring. I don’t care who you are. Can’t nobody just walk in there and get a check. Not even Steven Spielberg. Shxt, he gotta give a presentation too and get an OK and it all gotta make sense. So I think it’s the same fight every time, you know what I mean? You gotta go in there and prove that this is the movie they should do, and it’s more than just telling ’em. You gotta show ’em, you gotta show ’em numbers. You gotta show ’em history, you gotta show ’em the reason why they should spend millions of dollars on your idea.
On rappers he’s currently excited about:
I don’t really get excited about artists no more. It’s like these are my peers, competitors, so. There’s a few of them that’s good, that’s great. I like Drake. I think his music is dope. I like Kanye. I like Kendrick Lamar.
[On Kendrick’s style]: I love it. Everybody think L.A. is all about hardcore gangbang hip hop, but it’s always been different styles out in LA, Tone Loc to the Pharcyde to will.i.am and Black Eyed Peas to Kendrick Lamar. So that gangsta shxt is what put Compton on the map and I guess put the West Coast on the map, but our artists there are very diverse, but it’s like people are just now opening their ears to the diversity of the newer generation.
[On Drake] He’s a dope-ass producer. Lyrics, hooks, music, yeah. He to me is one of the best out there as far as producing a rap, so, shxt is bangin’ to me.
[On Kanye] Creative. You know, he’s one of those rappers that can produce his own music, and I think when you can do that, your shxt is gonna be superior, because you can tailor-make your music to your rhymes. And he throwin’ that knowledge in there, but that’s always been there all the way from “Jesus Walks.” He’s a true artist.
On staying down to earth and humble:
You know the whole thing of what goes up must come down? Well, I never went up, so I don’t have to worry about coming down. I always kept my feet on the ground. I just never took that ride like ‘Oh yeah, I got this.’ I never bought into that. People call me Ice Cube, but I’m still O’Shea, you know? I’m still the same dude I was in the neighborhood, and I refuse to let the industry suck that out of me or take it away.
For more Ice Cube, check my story in the Metro.