Everythang’s Corrupt by Ice Cube
"Everything's corrupt. Everything’s fucked up. Everything by the book. We’re shit out of luck.” The opening bars to Mr. Cube’s aptly titled latest LP, “Everythang’s Corrupt”, just might convey that the former NWA lyrical driving force and the later self-declared Amerikkka’s Most Wanted is back with a bloodthirsty vengeance; but at the same time, reminding us that he never went anywhere at all. Perhaps the victim of accused selling out; rather it be Disney movies, or lackluster “dad rap” records, whatever it may be, it’s clear those criticisms never bothered him any. The impenetrable force of Ice Cube seems to just be gaining strength from the so called haters because on this record he’s standing in front of his self built empire with two middle fingers far stronger than any “current and popular” rapper’s strongest lyric. Not to mention he’s armed with his best record since his batch of classics. This LP will rattle the walls with themes of political corruption, social and racial oppression, revenge, anger, sex, drugs, and rock ’n roll whom’s bones echo the gospel that he himself helped forge for us all decades earlier. If that’s not punk rock enough for you, just wait for the opening single, “arrest The President” that’ll have Chuck D himself banging his head and punching windows out.
Not to name drop Mr. D, but rather to “drop the mic and hitting the floor like Thor,” Cube hits us with an old-school, foot-stomping, fist-in-the-air, anti-trap-rap beat that paves the way for his classic socio-politically charged lyrical content. The flow is not only smooth, smart, and lyrically aligned with the golden age of hip-hop; but also flows with the blood in the same vein of those classic records such as from NWA and our friends in Public Enemy, to bring it full circle back to Chuck D. Sure, Ice Cube is far from the young man on the album cover wielding his AK at this point, but apparently success and fatherhood doesn’t render him any less pissed off, as he can articulate a targeted revenge in a way better than any current rapper could at this point. Case in point: “You’re so basic with your vape stick.” Truer words never spoken as he cleverly and effortlessly injects humor and wit into his revolution-inciting political anthem, and taking on the critics and the current mainstream competition in the process. This record is presented as if he’ still saying “fuck the police,” just with a more sophisticated tongue and sharper production. You can’t change who you are or where you come from, Cube clearly is pointing out, in case you forgot who incited this revolution in the first place. Respect your elders, kids.
Being in the so called game a long time (30 years) at this point, just makes it all the more impressive at the sheer content of this record. A classic rap record in many senses of the word, not only with sound and production, but certainly in the sense that it is a true album… a fully loaded, complete, album. Take your pick at almost any golden-era rap album, you can bet there’s hardly any filler, and they’re at minimum 10 full tracks. The debut NWA record? 13. It Takes A Nation? 16. The Chronic? 16. Need I remind you that expect for a track or 2 these are full on, 3-4 minute songs; complete with multiple verses… quite unlike modern day rappers that push the quantity but the quality is far from there. The majority is the same regurgitated awful beat and filler during the 2 minute duration. Save that for actual punk rock, please. Pushing the one hour mark, with 16 full songs, and absolutely no filler whatsoever; Ice Cube explores territory rappers today wouldn’t dare shine their soon to be burnt out light upon. He even shares some much appreciated drug education and infinite wisdom with the critical track “On Them Pills” relating to the massive opiate epidemic in our beloved country. I think it’d be smart to listen to grandmaster Cube here, real weed only. A little more good music and a lot less prescription drugs would make the world a better place. Dare I say Cube is WOKE? I do. And I not only challenge you to find such insight in new rap, but old rappers like himself still amazingly articulating and commenting on relevant subjects in a way as cool as Ice himself… or itself… or… whatever.. it ain’t gonna happen. Claiming he’s like a bad drug, here to fuck you up. Speaking of new rappers, the only time Ice Cube employs a modern-era trap rap resemblance of a beat is on “Don’t Bring Me No Bag” when it is used sarcastically, to mock the absurdity of the celebratory trap game rap game. More or less, to check yourself before you wreck yourself, straight from the mouth of the OG himself. He’s doing what he does best and what we love him for: simply being Ice Cube. He is not chasing any styles to appeal to a new audience by a long shot, but also not reminiscing too hard on the old days or drawing influence from nostalgia (many, many, bands are guilty of being mediocre and throwing a nostalgic tag or art on top of it to trick the listener into thinking it’s good/classic.. it’s not. And that’s another article entirely), it is legitimately fresh. Mad blessings.
Think of the legacy of the Cube, if you will. The parallels between punk rock and rap are often drawn, although not often as they should be (IMHO), and are rather obvious. As a true rebel, Ice Cube abandoned his band, NWA, at the hight of their fame; only to record better solo records and become more successful. In a parallel to rock ’n roll, that hardly ever happens. Alice Cooper? Sure, but even as a huge fan, his solo records were never near as good as his original band. Rob Zombie? Thats about it. David Lee Roth tried, failled. No one in Led Zeppelin could pull it off. The Beatles kind of did it…and they are the fucking BEATLES. Punk rock? Hell, even Henry Rollins BARELY did it, musically speaking., anyways. All the love to Henry but if you like the Rollins Band better than his time spent in Black Flag I think you’re lying. Mr. Danzig’s solo career took off rightfully so from the Misfits, but that might be it. Either way. Ice Cube IS rock ’n roll. This IS punk rock now. There’s more “fuck the system” songs on here than this years best rock ’n roll records combined.. what happened to that attitude? That spirit is something lost and in a climate like today, where everything IS INDEED corrupt, that’s something that CANNOT DIE. His classic records, along with the majority of the late 80’s/ early 90’s classic rap record not only rock; but, the themes and content of those records are so packed with rebellion and punk rock attitudes that it’s almost not fair to punk rock. Not to get too serious or anything, but music is a valuable and absurdly powerful tool to incite change, instill new (or in this case, old..better) ways of thinking, to cause a cultural and political revolution and in the words of the Almighty Jack Black, to stick it to the man. Because THAT’S what rock ’n roll always was and always should be about. The most ironic and coolest part about this is, this is Cube’s first record back on a major label; and this is the shit he drops. The anti-corporate, anti-system, “fuck you” record coming straight from the source and going straight to the source. A rebel without a pause, he is. And he is NOT playing it safe, he says what he wants, just like good old rap is and what rock ’n roll should be today. Where’s the newest punk rock band on a major label calling to take the president out in handcuffs? Kings of Leon? Foo Fighters? WHERE YOU AT? So if THIS is the new rock ’n roll? If so,I’ll take it. If it’s up to Ice Cube, then so be it. Im in. Full Throttle. Charlie’s Angels two.
Whew. That’s not to say Ice Cube has become solely the new political, riot-inciting figure head of rap, there’s plenty of good old school weed smoking and speaker breaking fun to be had as well. Tracks like “New Funkadelic” and “Can Ya Dig It?” are completely unapologetically for the old school and from the old school that have replay and hip shaking value with the best of them. “Fire Water” touches on the subject of death in a tongue in cheek way, claiming he’ll die of the good life.. “too much salt, too much sugar, too much smoke, and too much liquor.” Amen. Played very interestingly next to “Streets Shed Tears” a far more serious and slightly somber take on death and the legacy he will undoubtedly leave behind when it’s time for afterlife to gain some more attitude. And he’ll be saying fuck the police up there too, you can bet.
Playing very cohesively, which is something many rap albums fall short on as most of them feel like a collection of singles; Cube has regenerated the old-school hip-hop album in the best of ways. There is honestly not a weak track on the thing, and he even raps things up (pun intended. You didn’t think you were gonna get away without one, did you?) With Good Cop Bad Cop, originally to be found on Death Certificate. And if you don’t know Death Certificate, might wanna do some homework. Death Comes Lifting Certified. Speaking of legacy, I bet Cube never thought some white kid with a business in weight lifting and heavy metal would be praising his 10th album in 2018 and publishing it on the internet… and that’s the beauty of music. The good shit is timeless, much like death. Til next time, freaks, fight the power!!
Gym Rating: 5/5
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