Hope for Hip-Hop

Ice Cube's story in a nutshell: one day you're "Kicking that shit/Called street knowledge" and the world is scared—or at least seriously thinking about what you have to say—while blood-lusting cops are taping your album cover to targets at the shooting range. Ten years later, your movie poster is next to an ad for a Rob Schneider flick—and the Schneider poster is more offensive.

But we're not here to once again bemoan the inverse correlation between Cube's street relevance and his ever-cornier Hollywood career. We're here with a message of hope. We've got it on good faith from respected DJ and rap journalist Davey D that Ice Cube—the firebrand once accused of racism, sexism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, spurring the LA riots, creating the East Coast/West Coast rap war and pretty much everything else that's wrong with the country—is back. D reported that Cube's upcoming album, Laugh Now, Cry Later (due out on June 6—6/6/06), is ripe with critical beatdowns that will probably get the rapper back on a federal surveillance list—turns out he doesn't like the president or the governor. While that may sound like shooting fish in a barrel, anyone who appreciates the stunning vitriol of an angry Ice Cube rant is definitely looking forward to the carnage.

As much as Ice Cube's lyrics shined lights into places the establishment did not care to see, it was his delivery that made the self-righteous censors so terrified. Cube's voice towers. When he's really bringing it, you hear him from a defensive position. His commanding cadences brought a little power to the people—and Lord knows we need some more of that.

Ice Cube with Dogg Pound at the House of Blues, 1530 S. Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, (714) 778-2583; www.hob.com/anaheim. Thurs., April 20 (4/20), 7:30 p.m. $35-38. All ages.

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