When listening to Ice Cube’s new album “Everythang’s Corrupt” I couldn’t help but think that Ice Cube has turned into the hip-hop equivalent of the aging rock star and how he fits into Sick Boy’s “Unifying Theory Of Life” from the movie “Trainspotting” (careful clip isn’t safe for work, but is available down below). If you can’t watch the clip I will paraphrase it, with artists they have a strong peak and then once they are beyond their peak they are never really as good and everything else they do after their peak is hot garbage. Well, that is what “Everythang’s Corrupt” is.
There are many problems with “Everythang’s Corrupt” by Ice Cube the first is probably Ice Cube himself. I do believe that what Ice Cube is saying he feels and has experienced but it seems like he is trying to force that feeling. In Ice Cube’s work with N.W.A. and his first four solo albums, he had a raw intensity and a menacing experience. Now it doesn’t have the same fervor and the lyrics come across as contrived. The track “Still In The Kitchen” perfectly encapsulates this where Ice Cube raps about still working hard and still having that same anger and drive. In this and most of the tracks, he just sounds like he was obligated to rap like that.
The production of Ice Cube’s “Everythang’s Corrupt” is another factor that lead to my dislike of the album. The simplistic but theatrical beats have been what Cube has been using since “War And Peace Volume 1” and that was 20 years ago. The thing I don’t understand is when many artists get older they experiment and sometimes the results are poor Cube went the other way and just thought I like this one sound and won’t change.
There were some bright spots on “Everythang’s Corrupt” but they were very hard to find. The song “Ain’t Got No Haters” is a song that evokes a lot of nostalgia and feels very reminiscent of the “Lethal Injection” period of Ice Cube’s career and felt like a slight breathe of fresh air in comparison to the rest of the stale production. Also the track “The New Funkadelic” was an enjoyable song that had a nice bounce and lighter feel. The last good track on the album was “Good Cop Bad Cop” but that was a song on the reissue of Ice Cube’s legendary record “Death Certificate” from two years ago.
If you have never heard of Ice Cube I would recommend the first N.W.A. album or the first four Ice Cube solo records. That’s where Cube was at his best and really made listeners feel his emotion and thoughts. Now Ice Cube still has the same thoughts but hasn’t evolved the way he delivers them and it just became derivative of his own work. I would tell readers to check out the songs I mentioned that were bright spots and skip the rest.
I do have a note for readers. The rest of the year is very sparse with upcoming album releases so I will be reviewing stuff from this week’s release and last week. I apologize for this but I can’t control the music industry.
*Photo by Adam Bielawski