Ice Cube was N.W.A.'s main lyricist before he had a falling out with management over money. (Contrary to his on-wax persona, he didn't try settling this dispute with a sawed-off shotgun.) Now he unloads an extraordinary solo debut, "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted" (Priority), produced by the men responsible for Public Enemy's groundbreaking sound-Hank and Keith Shocklee, Eric Sadler and Chuck D.
Taking nothing away from N.W.A.'s producer, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube has now proven that he was N.W.A.'s crucial element. He's an unusually gifted rhymer ("They ask me did I like Arsenio? About as much as the Bicentennial"; "get the kryptonite 'cause I'mo rip tonight"). And his delivery is even more self-assured than it was when he dissed every cop in the nation.
Boo-Yaa's lyrics don't contribute much to an understanding of the gang problem. It's just run-of-the-mill tough talk. But this debut album, "New Funky Nation" (4th & B'way/Island), is unique in its musical approach. As the title implies, this group has a fondness for the brassy, thumping funk of the late '70s. But instead of recycling old records like most hip-hop artists, Boo-Yaa gives us live guitars! Live bass! Live horns! It makes for a refreshing, organic sound (and judging by an appearance on "Arsenio," a very refreshing show).
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