Among the topics discussed during Ice Cube’s recent interview with XXL magazine was the upcoming 25th anniversary of his AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted album, and the ways in which the project is still relevant today.
The former N.W.A rapper was specifically asked how he feels about the themes on the album, from political issues to issues with police, being relevant 25 years later. According to Cube, the country remains under “a pyramid system of capitalism” and will only change if people keep fighting “the good fight.”
“It just lets me know what I’ve always thought; the powers that be don’t want it to change,” Ice Cube said. “They want the status quo. Nobody wants to give up power. People will give up money but nobody wants to give up power. I just think that’s really what it is. And America, the system now that we’re under and that we use, is a pyramid system of capitalism. You’ve got the bottom and you’ve got the top. Somebody has to be relegated to the bottom of the pyramid, it just happened to be the minorities in this country who have been relegated to the bottom. And you have to fight your way to climb up that pyramid. And that’s really, to me, the issue and why it can’t change…I think that if people keeping fighting the good fight then things will change. If people sit back and be complacent and not really care then it’ll stay the same. Or not care until there’s an incident, a killing or a shooting. You gotta care when when something’s not going on.”
In regards to rappers speaking up on current issues, Ice Cube revealed that rappers shouldn’t be forced to speak out on an issue they’re not passionate about.
“…Artists should have the freedom to do what they feel,” he said. “So if they don’t feel like talking about it, they shouldn’t. They shouldn’t pretend to be something they’re not. They shouldn’t take on issues that they’re really not equipped or concerned to take on. Just to satisfy who? I don’t care how many records you put out about what’s happening in the world today, they still gonna play the booty records in the club. The radio station who wants to be so positive, all they play is booty records, they don’t play nothin’ positive. They want us to stop rapping about it, but they won’t even play it if we did. It’s crazy. It’s hypocrisy. Rappers shouldn’t deal with hypocrisy. Rappers should just be as real as you feel. That’s what it’s all about.”
Lastly, Cube spoke on the lessons he learned while in the process of creating AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted. He says he learned about the technicalities of creating a record through Chuck D and was encouraged by The Bomb Squad to go through crates of records to find samples for his album.
“Chuck D really taught me a lot about sequencing a record, how to put an album together,” the rapper said. “Because before, I would go into the studio with Dre, I would have a few ideas, but Dre would really mix that shit up, you know what I mean? Throw our ideas on top of what he doin’ and voila. But with the Bomb Squad it was like, our first lesson was, when we went to their studio in Long Island they had a shelf full of records, it was records everywhere. They just walked out of there with two old-school milk crates. ‘Here’s a turntable, listen to these records, find your album.’ I was like, ‘What?’ ‘Listen to these records and find your album. When you fill up these two crates with the shit you wanna do then we’ll start working.’ It took us 10 days to fill up the crates. So once we filled them up, then we went to Greene Street [Studios] and Eric Sadler started saying, ‘Okay, what y’all want to do with this?’ We had to write down everything we wanted to use, where it appeared in the record and the sample information. It was homework. Homework.”