Late last week, author and award-winning music journalist Touré spoke with HipHopDX regarding tonight’s On The Record interview with Ice Cube. The FUSE program is the latest in Touré’s series of speaking to top artists in music including Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Lady Gaga and more. “[Ice] Cube was really interesting,” said the author of three books. “One of the things that jumped out at me was that he wasn’t in a gang. He talked about growing up in South Central, and he repped that gang-life mentality in N.W.A. and his solo work, but he personally was not in a gang.” Hip Hop fans largely know Cube working alongside a South Central Crip and an Inglewood Blood in one of his later groups, Westside Connection.
Touré said that he focused on that irony in Cube’s life and lyrics. “I [asked] how was it that [he] was able to not get sucked in. He talked about the influence of his dad, mostly, in terms of being a disciplinarian and a tough guy and a guy who’s like, ‘I won’t let you join a gang.'” To the interview host, this answer provided greater social commentary and insight into Cube’s evolution from hood to Hollywood. “We definitely know that the lack of black fathers is a big reason why many young black men go astray in life. Here’s a concrete example of a guy whose father kept him on the straight-and-narrow so he could rep the gangsta mentality and make money and become a wealthy individual – and not actually go into the gangs and end up the only two ways that ends up.”
That anecdote is more telling of Touré’s deeper approach to his FUSE work, some of the most watched interviews in Hip Hop in 2010. “In all these interviews, I try to push for realness. [I try not] to really talk to people’s image, but who are you really? And talk to them as real humans,” he said. “When they’re talking about their parents or being parents, that means a lot. That’s being really honest and candid.”
Frequently programming days devoted to Rap artists such 2Pac, 50 Cent or Eminem, Touré was asked if the network plans its content with the novice Hip Hop fan in mind, or to educate the new students of the culture. He explained, “FUSE is classicly focused on Rock & Roll. In the last year, it’s been like [devoted to] serving Hip Hop too in a big way. I think you have [two types of] audiences. I think you have people for whom they’ve watched Tupac Resurrection 100 times, but then FUSE puts it on, and they want to see it again. Then there’s people who aren’t so aware of these things. Maybe they’re younger, maybe they’re newer to Hip Hop, so they’re coming new into the party.”
Whether a new fan or an expert on music, Touré affirmed FUSE’s dedication to the art at a time when past music networks have moved towards reality TV. “I think that we’re the only channel on TV that’s really doing music in a proper way,” he said of the New York City-based FUSE. “Lifestyle that goes around the music rather than an [active] approach to giving you the music. We’re going deeper. I think we’re taking artists, music and music culture much more seriously. I think real fans will appreciate that.”
On The Record With Ice Cube, hosted by Touré airs tonight at 8 pm EST.