No peace for the formerly wicked...
Peace does not begin when the final echo of the last gunshot has died away; peace begins with recriminations. [a]Ice Cube[/a]’s ‘The War Disc’ was released last year, but the state of calm that has followed is an uneasy one at best.
From the opening blast of ‘Hello’, which sees Cube reunited with former NWA cohort Dr Dre, ‘The Peace Disc’ represents a renewed offensive rather than a call for calm. “I started this gangster shit”, he bellows over a suitably militant backbeat, “And this is the motherf–ing thanks I get”.
Such fury, but why? The answer lies in an insecurity so badly concealed it must be deliberate. In the 13 years since NWA defined the West Coast gangster sound, Cube has become a successful musician, a scriptwriter and a reasonable enough Hollywood actor; the question that ‘The Peace Disc’ seems keen to address is – has he lost his edge?
“Young niggers tryin’ to tell me that I’m played”, he growls on ‘You Ain’t Gotta Lie (Ta Kick It)’; his response is a blast against his musical progeny. The modern gangsters are part-timers, and while he might have starred in [I]Anaconda[/I], this doesn’t mean he’s any less of a bad-assed, misogynist hustler than they are. As he stitches together this confection of deadpan beats and stern-faced diatribes, he clearly thinks he has proved his credentials. As he purrs on ‘N**** Of The Century’: “It ain’t no mystery/Goin’ down in history/Nigga of the century”
There’s humour on ‘The Peace Disc’ and even a few tunes, but they are all cowering in the shade of [a]Ice Cube[/a]’s immense rage.
Some fine moments, then, and more than a few accidentally funny ones, but this is an angry growl from hip-hop’s retirement home rather than the triumphant return of a master. No peace for the formerly wicked.