"Everything you wanted to know about the riots was on the records before the riots," says a voice on "The Predator" (Priority Records). Ice Cube's third solo album, which opens this week at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, is a counterattack to the LAPD's assault on King and south-central L.A.'s residents, as well as an indictment of the American social system. Even in the acknowledgments, he lets you know who the release is for: "Ice Cube wishes to acknowledge white America's continued commitment to the silence and oppression of black men. ... Ice Cube wishes to acknowledge America's cops for their systematic and brutal killings of brothers all over the country."
"Dirty Mack" and "Now I Gotta Wet'Cha" are Ice Cube doing what he does best, rapping rhymes saturated with overblown machismo and playing up his self-described gangster-pimp image. The tongue twisting reggae rappers Das EFX help out on "Check Yo Self." And then it's back to the album's central motif with "Who Got the Camera," in which Ice Cube suffers an unrecorded police beating fit for a King after being pulled over by the "devils" in blue. On the album's final track, "Say Hi to the Bad Guy," what starts as a familiar police harassment scenario ends in a blaze of street justice and the question: "What kind of cop killer are you?" It's a question that goes unanswered, like some prayers. (To hear a free Sound Bite from this album, call 202-334-9000 and press 8141.)
Both Ice Cube and Da Lench Mob appear on the "Get the Fist" benefit single (on Mercury Records) as part of the Get the Fist Movement, which also includes West Coast rappers Compton's Most Wanted, Cypress Hill, Yo-Yo and Threat. Recorded days after the riots for the benefit of the community-based Brotherhood Crusade, the single and accompanying video were delayed, due partly to the song's incendiary lyrics. The project has received negligible promotion and is relying on radio airplay to reach its target inner-city audience.
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