This album probably suffers a touch from being front loaded like Death Certificate, with a bit of a drop-off in quality toward the end, but when there are classics like 'Wicked', (my favourite Cube song), 'It Was a Good Day' and 'When Will They Shoot?', to name a few, it is hard to keep that quality up. Overall, the production is great with a funky aggressiveness to many of the tunes, and Ice Cube makes this one of the better albums in the hip hop genre. A top 5 hip hop album of all time from my pov.
Death Certifcate has one of the best openings to an album you are going to find with most of 'The Death Side' tracks being incredible. From there, while still mostly very good, I don't feel the production quite as much on the 'The Life Side' until 'Us' and the great diss-track 'No Vaseline' which finishes the album, and Cube ain't as intense either. The content is obviously here that Cube does in a fun way, unlike some other political rap artists, with anti-drug, anti-gang, racism and safe sex among other things being the messages. What more can you say, an essential rap release from one of the best to do it. Some highlights are 'My Summer Vacation', 'Steady Mobbin'', 'Givin' Up the Nappy Dug Out' to name a few.
Lethal Injection certainly isn't as lyrically profound as Cube's previous albums, certainly not as influential, nor are there a lot of tracks, but I love most of the production on this and I don't rank it too far behind his other albums for pure enjoyment. There are some great beats and uses of samples, throughout the tracks also, which make it stand out - see the fun funk-filled 'Bop Gun'. 'Lil Ass Gee' and 'Down for Whatever' are the only things I find to be near average here. Another great album in the best album-run of any rapper. I've always found this to be underappreciated by the hip hop community.
A consistent solo debut album from Cube, but not enough blows me away. There ain't as many classics here for me as his later albums would have. This is no doubt due to my favourable feelings toward mid '90s production compared to the '80s/early '90s beats that often just lack that extra punch. An original important hip hop album, but not Cube's best in my opinion. The best here are: 'The Nigga Ya Love to Hate', 'What They Hittin' Foe?', 'You Can't Fade Me' and 'Who's the Mack?'
Without ever hitting the heights of his earlier career, with Laugh Now, Cry Later, Cube created another solid worthwhile album again providing some thoughtful content. The topics vary from race on the Scott Storch produced 'Why We Thugs' & 'The Nigga Trapp', current hip hop on 'Child Support' and Cube coming up on 'Growin' Up' among others. There ain't a bad song here with some bangers that make you wanna turn the volume up such as 'Why We Thugs' and 'The Game Lord' and others that make you wanna listen to the lyrics more carefully such as 'Child Support' and 'Growin' Up'. Some of the production is fantastic such as on 'Smoke Some Weed', that's incredibly-Bud'da killed it. A good comeback album after Cube released his worst at the time six years prior.
This album may have been my first taste of Cube, it was either this or Vol. 2 which I first acquired, so there may be some nostalgia associated with it, but nevertheless I've always enjoyed this album. It begins bangin' and angry, loses some steam in the middle with 'Cash Over Ass' and some others, but still features some standouts and I don't think there is anything too poor here. As 'Lethal Injection' began losing some of the content Cube's earlier albums are known for, this continues that trend. There is a bit of a theme about money and the greed of record companies, and my favourite track here in 'Extradition' about being wrongfully arrested, with '3 Strikes You In' and 'Penitentiary' having a similar theme. He still has the presence and sounds like he cares about what he's saying, and some of the metal influenced beats are fairly bangin' and different than what Cube had done in the past. 'Ask About Me', 'Dr. Frankenstein', 'Fuck Dying', 'The Peckin' Order', 'Limos, Demos & Bimbos', 'Once Upon a Time in the Projects Pt. 2' and 'Extradition' are the best of them.
If you enjoy early to mid '90s Cube, where in my opinion he did very little wrong on any of his projects, you'll love most of these songs. A number are ones you would have heard before as they were added to anniversary issues of his classic albums, but in '94 when this was out, they would've been first time listens. The remixes are dope, add something to the originals and in some cases are better. Non-remixes like 'My Skin Is My Skin' and 'You Don't Wanna Fuck Wit These' are bangin'.
Released as a follow-up to AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, the music here doesn't surprise. The EP features five hard tracks, including two remixes of songs from the aforementioned album, with an interlude and a shout-out track. Many adore 'Jackin' for Beats' due to its many beat switches, but there is nothing here to put up with Cube's incredible list of best songs. The remixes don't differ a lot from their original counterparts either. The opener and 'The Product' are my picks.
This is Cube's most hit or miss album. 'Life In California', 'Too West Coast', 'No Country For Young Men' and 'Hood Robbin' are great. I particularly enjoy the hard west coast bangin' production of the first couple just mentioned, featuring the legend, WC, but songs like 'It Is What It Is' and some poor hooks on songs like 'Urbanian' reduce the album's quality.
I quite like the singles from this album, 'It Takes a Nation' and 'Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It', but apart from them the album never really takes off as you expect from an Ice Cube project. That was my opinion after a spin or two, but being a fan I gave it more time and while still no classic, the quality never dips too much. The main issue is that after his last effort before this in '06, and WC's album 'Guity by Affiliation', released around the same time, which Ice Cube worked on, I expected some real bangin' beats (which those had) and you don't get those on this. It has a different feel to it. I think this is the most level Ice Cube project. The albums lower, and even some higher on the list, like 'I Am the West' probably have higher highs and lower lows. Still a good dose of Ice Cube on offer. Singles aside, 'Cold Places', 'Jack N the Box', 'Do Ya Thang' and 'Thank God' are other strong cuts.
This pretty much lacks any of the content Ice Cube made his name from, but there is still some stuff to be enjoyed I feel if you are a fan. The N.W.A. reunion opener, 'Hello', is a good banger. The next couple of tracks are average, and while the album never excels, I quite enjoy the funky beats on tracks like 'Gotta Be Insanity' and 'Roll All Day', and then 'Record Company Pimpin'' is the last track of note sampling EPMD's classic 'Please Listen to My Demo'. The majority of this isn't the Cube we know, but in creating this 'Peace Disc' after the War, maybe as much political rap was never going to be featured-not that helluva lot was on the previous album. Even his lesser albums are worth checking out because he is such a commanding MC and the production, for the most part, holds up.
In last place is his most recent effort to this day. Everythang is decent or better and nothing is too poor unlike the album before this, 'I Am the West', that had songs that really didn't feel like Ice Cube, but there wasn't much that got long term repeats. Its biggest issues are that there is too much brag rap, the songs that should have more lyrical depth like 'Arrest the President' don't, see "Orange Man" bars, there is more hypocrisy when he calls right-wingers violent but then raps, "String his ass up by his nuts", and the beats feel safe and none go beyond that 4 out of 5 star good level. I like the anti-drug theme on a few songs such as the standout, 'On Them Pills', and 'Good Cop Bad Cop', that despite coming out 18 months prior to this release, probably has the most fresh and enjoyable production with intelligent rhymes too. Still worth a listen even though it's his worst.