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Ice Cube (w/ Cypress Hill & D12) Shows Who the G.O.A.T. is at Manchester AO Arena [Photos]

Ice Cube, Cypress Hill and D12 show the newcomers who the G.O.A.Ts are at Manchester AO Arena. Check out the review and photos here…



Ice Cube at Manchester AO Arena, photo by Frank Ralph Photography
Ice Cube at Manchester AO Arena, photo by Frank Ralph Photography

Ice Cube is on fire! Manchester’s AO Arena paid host to one of the best hip-hop bills to appear on this side of the Atlantic in a long time, probably since the time De La Soul and Wu-Tang Clan last popped over for a visit together.

In a last-minute swap around, The Game, who cancelled his appearance due to ‘logistical issues,’ was replaced by Detroit hard-hitters D12. They are currently a much slimmed-down version of the D12 you remember, but still as energetic and lively as they ever were. “Purple Pills” and a cover of previous member Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” both featured in a hectic warm-up set, which got things going in fine form.

Stoner legends Cypress Hill were up next. It’s been nearly 30 years since I saw them headline at the ’94 Reading Festival when the whole site was pretty much a cloud of weed smoke so pungent that there are probably still trace levels in my system.

With the legendary DJ Lord on the decks busting out a beatdown version of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” introducing the band, they take to the stage bathed in green light and clouded in smoke. They have way too much energy for stoners. Sen Dog is a little more restrained holding down the stage, but B-Real bounces around it hyping up the whole crowd with some of the biggest hits of the ’90s blasting out into the arena.

“I Wanna Get High” and “Dr. Greenthumb” sound great, but the closing salvo of “I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That,” “How I Could Just Kill a Man,” “(Rock) Superstar,” “Insane in the Membrane” and a cover of “Jump Around” shows you how big a presence this band truly had back then.

Nowadays, rap is a pale, materialistic version of its former self, with today’s protagonists happy to wax lyrical about drivel such as Instagram followers or mumble their way incoherently through a voice effect, but back in the day, when rap had something to say, it was Ice Cube, among others, saying it.

He may be more recognizable to a generation as an actor nowadays, but as he storms onto the stage and attacks some of his biggest hits with the aggression and rawness that made him and his N.W.A. bandmates icons, he reminds everyone instantly that he is one of the best to ever do it.

There were no gimmicks and not much in the way of staging – just a big screen showing clips of his past, yet the whole thing was captivating, with his personality and lyrical content being big enough to hold everyone’s attention for what was a long set. (More tour dates here.)

There was fire and intent in everything he did, with the added humour and confidence of, for example, dropping 2 NWA tracks and following them with the N.W.A. diss-track “No Vaseline.”

Three legends of hip-hop, three great sets and one true G.O.A.T. Safe to say, it was a good day.