Friday, March 09, 2007

Laugh Now, Cry later

Ice Cube
Laugh Now, Cry Later
Universal, 2006
Another homie got murdered on a shakedown
His mother is in the corner having a nervous breakdown
Two shots hit him in the face from the blast
Framed picture
Closed casket

That, my friends, is genius, pure and simple. On those lines from Ice Cubes 1991 "Dead Homiez", Cube sums up the horror and tragedy of South Central violence succinctly and powerfully. Compare that to the chorus of "Stop Snitchin'", on his 2006 release "Laugh Now, Cry Later".

You can have whatever you want
In the hood, it's do's and don'ts
So when it get hot in this kitchen
Stop snitchin, n*gga stop snitchin

Why even fucking bother? That’s what kept running through my head listening to this track and this album. For most of the album he sounds merely half-assed, but on some of it he sounds downright shitty. Why is cube rapping about not snitching?

The album opens up with the generic but decent Scott-Storch-produced “Why We Thugs”. Its sparse synth and claps beat is very familiar, but works well and is sufficiently head-bobbing. There are other decent tracks on the album, like “The N*gga Trap”, in which Cube returns to the angry social commentary that all us old farts love him for:

The ghetto is a n*gga trap, take the cheese
Soon as you do it here come the police
Invented and designed for us to fail
Where you gon' end up, dead or in jail

In the face of all of the bullshit going on in the world today, and all of the bullshit coming out of hip-hop, Çube’s anger is cathartic and much-needed. It is not, however, enough to justify all of crap on this bloated dis, or forgive clumsy, amateur lines like

I love all my fans cause they know I'm a man
And not a little boy or some fuckin play toy

Shit, cube, should we just be cool, not act the fool and stay in school? You’ve been rhyming for twenty years and you come up with THAT??

I read an interview with cube and he said he didn’t give a fuck about album sales and this was all for his fans. Well, if only that were true. Instead he follows the same tired lil jon/ scott storch production, the same half-assed features, and treads the same played-out subject matter. He also wastes a lot of breath an wack rhymes and in trying to defend himself as the OG. Guess what, cube, you never WERE a gangsta, and that’s exactly why we loved you – because you were angry as fuck at both the racist white system and the suicidal elements in the black community that were killing off the people that the police and prison system let pass. Stop being hard and just be real.



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