Ice Cube Discusses His Canadian Tour, Growing Up in South Central, and the Need for Feel-Good Music

Hip-hop icon Ice Cube discusses hip-hop, his current Canadian tour and how his lyrics are still relevant decades later…



Ice Cube, press photo

Hip-hop icon, film star and head of his own Basketball League, Ice Cube, is one of the most iconic figures in entertainment. He’s also one of the most outspoken. Ahead of the second leg on his Canadian tour, V13 had the opportunity to have a quick conversation with the man himself about what hip-hop means to him, the problems he has faced in the media and what is coming in his future.

Really appreciate you talking to us. The Canadian tour has started, is it good to be back in Canada?

Ice Cube: “It’s great. We had an amazing time last time we was here and we were so on point and it was such a good synergy between us and the audience. It felt like an event.”

When were you last back in Canada?

“We was just here a couple of months ago.”

Ah, it’s a two part tour, isn’t it?

“Yeah, this is the second leg and it’s fun. We talked about coming back here a lot.”

I’ve been watching a few recent interviews that you’ve done. You’ve talked about being banned off TV and radio and things like that for your views in the States. Do you experience the same issues in Canada at all?

“It’s a little hard to gauge, but every time I come to Canada, it’s nothing but love the same as from everybody. So I don’t have those issues as much here. America is polarized in a lot of different ways, especially around politics so whenever you try to move the needle that way, you’re going to piss off certain people. We knew the job was dangerous when we took it, but we big boys, I’ve lived through all kinds of controversy throughout my career.”

You grew up in South Central. From an outsider’s point of view, it is painted to be a very brutal, tough area to grow up in. When you come to somewhere like Canada and you meet fans and you travel around the communities, do you see those same issues and injustices that you experienced?

“In different ways, it’s slightly different. We come from an area that is pretty heavy and gangbanging. Police dealt with everybody in those neighborhoods in a different way. I don’t know if anybody’s absolutely happy with how things are going in their community. I think everybody has things that they would want to change, things that they don’t like that make them upset so, yeah, you see the same frustrations. People have frustration with their Government and how things are being ran and how their tax dollars are being used. It’s really a sore spot for most of us. It’s enough to complain about, you know, everybody got something to complain about no matter what side of the fence.”

Voicing those frustrations is what led you to hip-hop and rap which you’ve been part of for all your life. In terms of the music and why you started getting into that what does it mean to you now?

“Same thing it meant to me in 1984. It’s like asking a painter what does a canvas mean to him? It’s everything. It’s what gets your juices flowing. A blank canvas to me that’s like a beat with no lyrics on it. It’s ready for you to turn it into magic and make it special. Hip-hop is the same thing. I get the same excitement for the opportunity to create something cool that other people dig. That’s like a painting or a movie that’s going to be around when I’m gone so it’s important. It’s the most important thing at the time because I’m creating something that hopefully will last for decades, hopefully centuries.”

I spoke to Dave Mustaine from Megadeth many years ago about how lyrics that he’d written in the 1980s, were still relatable 20 years later. He found it quite scary. Looking at some of your earlier material, does it scare you that they are still relatable now?

“It shouldn’t just scare me. It should scare everybody who hears that and understands that for that to be true. That means the same people who were in power when I wrote those lyrics are in power today. Nothing’s changed but the date and so that should scare everybody because it means nothing’s going to change. It’s up to us to change.”

Just to wrap up then, what can we expect from you in terms of new music?

“I think the new music is going to be amazing, especially for Ice Cube fans. I think the music is a little more soulful than people will know me by. My music is usually hardcore hip hop so it’s cool. It’s an examination of where we are today. There are some party records in there at the same time.”

We all need a good party these days. Where does the more soulful inspiration come from considering there is still a lot of frustration and anger in your music?

“It’s always been in my sphere of music. I’ve used grooves before so just leaning into that a little more, I think that’s missing in today’s music, the flavor of today’s music. Everybody wanted to be on this, on this different kind of energy. It’s really time to get back to music that make you feel good. Even with the hardcore lyrics.”

Catch Ice Cube on his Canadian tour. Tickets, details and further details can be found here.

Ice Cube “Straight Into Canada” tour admat


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