Ice Cube: Former NWA rapper on playing a cop, ignoring the FBI, and career advice for his son

"I don't like bad cops, I don't like abusive cops. I definitely don't like crooked cops. I like cops that do their job, that care, that give a damn"

From "Fuck Tha Police" to playing a cop. How have your attitudes to the police changed since your NWA days?

They're pretty much the same. I don't like bad cops, I don't like abusive cops. I definitely don't like crooked cops. I like cops that do their job, that care, that give a damn. Those views haven't changed. Playing a cop is kind of cool. As a youth, I played cops and robbers; it's pretty much the same thing but on a bigger level.

Straight Outta Compton was one of the first records to have a parental advisory sticker. Is there anything you don't let your kids listen to?

I let them listen to everything, as long as I'm right there with them. It's better for you to introduce that stuff to them than for them to get it from their friends.

Did rap play out how the Ice Cube of 1987 would have expected it to?

No. I think the biggest double-edged sword for rap music has been the internet. In one way, it's let artists become independent to the point where they can promote themselves. But it's hurt the music because people think it's free now. You have a generation who don't know what it is to buy a CD or a record. That's kinda whack.

What about in terms of big-money endorsements? Your Coke and Nike tie-ins. Rap used to be anti-system.

Rap has always been down with whoever is down with it. Back in the day, Run-DMC advertised Adidas. We shouldn't be anti-everything, we should be anti-whack, anti-bulls**t, but not anti-cool.

Are the kids still angry?

Yeah. I definitely think it's out there. When I first started, kids didn't have a whole bunch of ways to express themselves so they did it through the music: "This is the kind of music I like, this is the kind of group I'm with and y'all know who I am". But I think now, with social media, people don't feel anonymous. They don't feel like they're not getting heard. If you look on those sites, you'll see what people are angry about, what they're pissed off about. The anger is just redirected.

And what makes you angry now?

The same things. My position in life has changed a lot from how I grew up. But my feelings haven't and I'm not the kind of person who feels like "Yo, I made it, everything's cool, the world is great". Now, I feel more that I can be a voice for the voiceless, or I can talk about things that piss me off. People are like "Cube, you're not going through that," but my people are, my relatives are.

The FBI wrote to NWA in the Eighties saying they took exception to Straight Outta Compton. Did you write back?

No! We actually never took that letter serious. We were too young and naïve. In '89, the FBI was something you saw on TV. We weren't really thinking about the FBI; we were thinking about LAPD, about the LA sheriffs, about the police who were really gonna come and fuck us up. If we'd have got a letter from them, we'd probably have taken it more serious.

If your son came to you and said "Dad, I want to be a cop," what would you say?

I would try to talk him out of it. My thing is, "You want to get shot, or you want to see somebody get shot?", because that's what's gonna happen. I take my hat off to police officers. Somebody who has the wherewithal to go into crime scenes and see some of the worst parts of human life. To see people wounded and hurt and victims every day, that would drive me a little crazy.

Biography

Ice Cube, real name O’Shea Jackson, grew up in the South Central area of Los Angeles. He was a founding member of NWA, along with Dr Dre. The group received international acclaim for their 1988 album, ‘Straight Outta Compton’. A forthcoming NWA biopic will see his son O’Shea Jr playing his father. Ice Cube’s new police action film, ‘Ride Along’, is released on Bluray and DVD on Monday

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Chief Executive

£28, 700: Whiskey Whiskey Tango: Property Management Company is seeking a brig...

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?