Today, The Shade Room celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop and its impact on music and culture. Recently, rap veteran Ice Cube sat down with the publication’s Director of Social Content for TSR Teens, Taylor Bickham, and discussed his impact on Hip Hop culture. Additionally, the 54-year-old shared his thoughts on Hip Hop today and even spilled the tea on what happened with the ‘Friday’ film franchise and who he blames for delaying a new sequel from hitting theaters.
RELATED: Ice Cube Shares That He’s Trying To Get His ‘Friday’ Franchise Out Of Warner Bros.-Says They Rejected Two Of His Scripts For Another Potential Film
Ice Cube Explains The Difference Between Hip Hop Music & Street Violence
Taylor Bickham: Busta [Rhymes] received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2023 BET Awards. His speech talked a lot about the music industry and how people need to love on each other. I wanted to get your thoughts as someone that is a trailblazer in Hip Hop. How do you feel the genre has changed, and where can it grow?
Ice Cube: We always got to separate the music from the streets… Street s**t ain’t hip hop. Battling is the essence of the game… But whenever that gets physical, it goes from hip hop to just regular old street s**t… So always think there’s room for battles, always think there’s room for diss records. Beef is part of it — but once it goes past that, it’s crossing the line, and it’s just regular old street s**t.
So what we have to stop doing is blurring the lines — saying because of this music, this stuff is happening in the street. It’s not necessarily true. Music is actually taking stuff off the street and putting it in a creative way. If somebody reverts, then that’s on them… I just want us not to blur the lines… We have to understand that we can’t give street s**t no credit. It’s become a part of the music, and it’s never been part of the music.
A musician might get shot, and a musician might get killed… a musician might shoot somebody or kill somebody, but it still goes to street s**t. Anybody can do that. So I just want us to keep it in perspective [because the sentiment now is that] if it weren’t for this music, none of this stuff would be happening. And I’m going to tell you that’s not true. It was all happening before the music.
The Rapper Shares His Thoughts About Using Hip Hop Lyrics During Criminal Cases
Taylor Bickham: So what about when artists talk about their experiences, and they put it through their music and lyrics? Then people take that, and they put it in court.
Ice Cube: You shouldn’t talk about crime — nothing else needs to be said. You shouldn’t talk about the crimes you’ve done… to nobody. On record, on the phone, in the womb, in a jail cell — anywhere! It’s illegal business. So if you put it on a record, yeah, you’re going to be in court. It’s evidence. You’re admitting your crime.
Taylor Bickham: They recently asked fellow rapper Bow Wow how he feels hip hop is going and who he feels will be played 20 to 30 years from now. So, I’m asking you the same thing in terms of hip hop today. Who are the people, if any, that you feel are going to move the needle when it comes to hip hop?
Ice Cube: I don’t know… At the end of the day, a lot has to happen for artists now to be relevant 20 years from now. So it’s hard to say who’s the one. But I’m going to tell you what the ingredients [to longevity] are.
Taylor Bickham: Tell me.
Ice Cube: You have to be an artist that stands for something. If you’re an artist and stand for something, then you have a chance. If you’re an artist chasing hits, chasing the radio, and chasing this sound and that sound… and you don’t talk enough, you won’t be around.
Ice Cube Talks About His Son O’Shea Jackson Jr.
Taylor Bickham: You have a son following in your footsteps regarding acting. But also, I’ve been wanting to know, can he rap?
Ice Cube: Yeah, he can rap. He can bust. He put out a mixtape a while ago. “OMG” is what he called himself. Oh, My Goodness.
Taylor Bickham: Are you guys going to go on tour together? What does that look like?
Ice Cube: Umm… He’s a movie star now! He doesn’t go out on the road no more. [I be like,] “Want to go to the show with me?” He’s like, “Nah, man… I got this thang to do.” But I’m very proud of him. He’s in Spain now doing “Den Of Thieves 2” [and] having a ball. You know, living his best life.
The Rapper Talks Preparing His Son For His First Acting Role
Taylor Bickham: I saw a video where you told someone that… he had to go through the process [for his first acting role in “Straight Outta Compton.”] I think sometimes people feel like you were like, “You! Come on.”
Ice Cube: The coach’s son or the coach’s kid… they get it too — worse, They have to go through hell. So it was that same philosophy because, for one, I wanted him to be good. I wanted him to create a career for himself with his performance. So we had him study in Los Angeles. We had him study in New York. [Then] he got bit by the acting bug [and] he was going to study with or without us. And he did that for two years… [But] he did everything we asked him to do and more before it was time to shoot it. I’m proud he did all that because he’s a great actor.
Taylor Bickham: Yeah, he’s great. It was hard for me to watch “Straight Outta Compton” because he looks just like you.
Ice Cube: It was hard for me to watch. There was one time when we were editing the movie — they do the edits, you give them the notes, and they do more edits. Sometimes you go in and sit there with them, and then sometimes, they send you the progress of the movie. So you’re watching the movie all the time. You watch the movie 35 times before it’s cut.
Taylor Bickham: I think the public assumes that you all were able to watch it at the end.
Ice Cube: No, you have to keep cutting [scenes] and shaving. It’s like a sculpture… you keep shaving [and] shaving until it’s perfect. So you have to watch it a lot. And [as] I’m watching the documentary, I had to shake my head like, ‘No, no, no, no, this, this is not us. It feels like us. But it’s not us. That’s not Easy E; that’s not Dre. [But it] feels like us.’
So I was like, if this film can do me like this… the audience ain’t got a chance. They’re going to fall into it.
Ice Cube Spills The Tea Of What Happened With Warner Brothers & The Movie “Friday”
Taylor Bickham: I feel like the culture wants to know, what happened with ‘Friday’? Is a new film coming?
Ice Cube: I’ve been wanting to do it… for years. The thing with me and Warner Brothers [is]… it’s my movie, but they have the distribution rights. So they have the right to distribute the movie and the sequels…
Now, with the first ‘Friday’ movie… what was done was it was called a negative pickup. It means they give us all the money to make the movie, they get out of the way, and we bring them back a finished movie. Ever since ‘Next Friday’ and ‘Friday After Next,’ they want to give me notes. They want to tell me what it should be. And I’m like, “Y’all don’t even know what’s going on… How are you going to tell me?” So, fast forward, I give them the script in 2013, and they don’t like it. They bug the s**t out of me… four or five years after that, like, “Can you write another one?”… I write it, and it was great, and we should have shot it. [But] they start f*****g around again with the notes — dragging on eight to nine months…to a year. You know, it’s not getting over the hump — John Witherspoon passes away. Tiny Lister Jr. passes away. Anthony [AJ] Johnson passed away. And so that deads the script we had because they were all in it.
So… I lost it because, you know, they let these great people pass away who really wanted to do the last one… so it’s kind of, like, in a stall right now. But you never know. The new people [at Warner Bro’s] may come to their senses…
Ice Cube’s Special Message For Those Dealing With Gatekeepers
If you recall, Ice Cube also sat down for an exclusive interview with The Shade Room, published in July. At the time, he revealed that he would be going on a “F**k The Gatekeepers Podcast Tour” to bring awareness to the lack of media coverage his basketball league, the Big3, is receiving. During the previous interview, Cube also blamed NBA executives for their alleged role.
RELATED: (EXCLUSIVE) Ice Cube Says The NBA Is Responsible For Limited Big3 Media Coverage: ‘They’ve Been Told Not To Cover Us’
During this sitdown, the 54-year-old shared his additional thoughts.
Ice Cube: I want to say this about my gatekeepers because I want people to understand what’s going on. But they’re out there — everybody has to deal with them. Identify your own gatekeepers… [you] might not want to call him out, but you need a strategy on how you’re going to get over that gate. You need to strategize how you’re going get over that gate without [them]. They’re gatekeepers, but they can’t stay up 24 hours a day — you have to catch [them] sleeping and handle your business.
Regardless of Ice Cube’s current obstacles as a black-owned business owner, one thing they cannot take from him is his impact on Hip Hop music today. Check out the entire interview below!
Roommates, what is your favorite Ice Cube bop?