The albums that shook a nation

By Gus Bode

a href=””bDE Staff Reporter/b/abrspan class=”realsmall”bDaily Egyptian/b/span

The albums that shook a nation

Priority Records to re-issue Ice Cube catalog


Factoid:The following Ice Cube albums will be re-issued by Priority Records:”Amerikkka’s Most Wanted” and “Death Certificate” on Feb. 25; “The Predator” and “Lethal Injection” on March 11.

The music catalog of one of rap’s most controversial figures is getting a breath of fresh air, and an upgrade for the 21st Century.

Ice Cube’s “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted,” “Death Certificate,” “The Predator” and “Lethal Injection” are being re-issued over the next two months by Priority Records. The recordings will not only feature bonus tracks not available on the original releases but will also be made available on vinyl for the first time in years.

As many people know, Cube began his rap career as a member of the Compton, Calif., gangsta rap group N.W.A. He broke the mold and went off on his own to pursue a solo career as well as Eazy-E and Dr. Dre. Ice Cube went even further to shake the foundations of rap by collaborating with New York’s Public Enemy in a bi-coastal effort, which was unheard of at the time.

The fruit of his initial efforts produced “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted,” which produced the single by the same name. The single shot to the No. 1 position on the Hot Rap Single chart and the album ended up selling more than a million copies.

Cube has brought the plight of the inner city to a broader audience with his biting satire and his frank and sometimes abrasive language. But, it is this abrasiveness that adds to his legitimacy as a lyricist and has solidified him as an enduring rap artist in an ever-changing tide of rap and hip-hop artists.

His next release, “Death Certificate,” received harsh criticism from so-called music journalists and parental interest groups claiming that his lyrics were too vulgar. Some even dared to claim that Cube wrote his lyrics as he did merely to promote a certain shock-value to drive album sales. Although this is a fair argument, the American public began to realize the harsh reality when the L.A. riots erupted.


All of a sudden, people not familiar with such surroundings as Cube had experienced were listening to gain a better understanding of what was really going on behind the scenes. What they found was police corruption, borderline poverty of epidemic proportions and a place where people needed to carry guns not only to enforce gang territory, but to merely survive.

In 1992, Cube participated in a portrayal of suburban life in South Central L.A. He also produced his third solo release, “The Predator.” Like its two predecessors, “The Predator” also went platinum, solidifying Ice Cube as a rap megaforce. The album also served as an epilogue to the L.A. riots, and the song “It Was a Good Day” provided a rare look into an uneventful day in Compton.

“Lethal Injection” was Cube’s last album before he entered the acting game full force, producing the “Friday” series and the recent film “Barbershop.” In recent times, figures like Reverend Al Sharpton have criticized “Barbershop” for perpetuating negative black-American stereotypes.

For Cube, this is yet another slice of life that he is all too familiar with, and his first four albums are in-your-face reminders of that fact. Priority Records is in fact doing the public good by keeping these albums in circulation for other generations to be reminded of how far society has come, but how much still needs to be done.