I wasn’t planning on writing a review of the Ice Cube concert, but a good friend of mine, Phil Schuhmann, used to write reviews of every concert he attended, so I thought I would write this review in his honor.I know I can’t match his wit (or anything else of his, for that matter), but I feel inspired after seeing this concert, so I thought I’d give it a shot.
We arrived fairly early, about 8:30 for a 9:00 show, and I immediately felt like we should have gotten there earlier, because clearly the party had already started.DJ Cash from the local hip-hop station V103 was running the show.Even though I thought some of his voice-overs were a little out of place, his song selection was impeccable.The tour was named “I Am The West,” and DJ Cash started things out right by spinning West-Coast staples, like Warren G’s “Regulate,” Snoop’s “Ain’t No Fun,” TuPac’s “Americas Most Wanted” (aka Gangsta Party), and newcomer Too Short’s “Blow the Whistle.”When he played Eazy’s iconic “Boyz in the Hood,” I seriously worried about the structural integrity of the building, because the crowd, clearly showing their reverence for Eazy, absolutely erupted to the point that the entire building shook (and they knew every single word to that song!).
The opening act was Killer Mike.Honestly, I wasn’t familiar with him, and I started to dismiss him as filler.However, he put together a rather strong performance, highlighted by the somewhat disturbing “Burn”.His a cappella rap closing out that song was particularly powerful, and even a rap-novice like myself could recognize his talent.Killer Mike kept his act short, which paved the way for Ice Cube to take the stage.
From the second Ice Cube hit the stage, the crowd was his.He said a few words discussing his early days, and he gave the impression that his set list would be somewhat chronological.He stated that in 1989, he was a member of the “World’s Most Dangerous Band” (one guess what he was referring to!) and then he launched into the seminal gangsta rap anthem “Straight Outta Compton.”I have to say that it was somewhat humbling watching the guy that rapped the first verse in the song that started the entire gangta rap movement perform it live, and I could tell from his energy that it was going to be a special night.He only did the first verse, stopping before Ren’s would traditionally kick in, but I suppose that was appropriate.He followed that with “Gangsta, Gangsta”, and “How to Survive in South Central.”Both of these were outstanding.(“Gangsta, Gangsta” was incendiary, and might have been the highlight of the show).
I have to admit, I was a little concerned when I realized he was going to go chronologically, because I thought he would use up all of his good songs early, and his later stuff wouldn’t be able to keep up the pace, but I was wrong.“Check Yo Self,”” We Be Clubbin,” his later “duets” with Dre, and “You Can Do It” were all standouts, and to be honest, there was never a lull in this show.He did break from the chronology in one case; he saved “It Was A Good Day” for the end.Surprisingly to me, “It Was A Good Day” got the biggest reaction from the crowd. I guess I kind of thought the hardcore Ice Cube fans would react more to the less radio-friendly tracks, but that wasn’t the case.And yes, the entire crowd did shout in unison “Ice Cube’s a pimp!”
He only played two songs from his latest album, one featuring his two sons, and finally his latest single “I Rep That West.”This might seem like a small point, but to me, it spoke volumes about Ice Cube and his relationship with his fans.How many times have we gone to see a concert, and the performer skips over songs that he knows his fans want to hear only to focus on the new songs so that he can sell more CDs?Ice Cube knew what his fans wanted and gave it to them, and that impressed me to no end.Actually, everything about this concert impressed me to no end.I never was an Ice Cube fan.I always preferred the Dre line (Dre, Snoop, Warren G, Dazz, Kurupt, etc), but after seeing Ice Cube live, he easily moves to the top of my list, and it kind of makes me wonder why there was ever a time when he wasn’t there.This was an outstanding show, and an experience I’ll never forget.
So that’s my review.I hope you enjoyed it; just know that Phil’s review would have been better.Hopefully somewhere, somehow he’ll get to read it.We love you and miss you, Phil.