I Am the West is the ninth studio album by American rapper Ice Cube. It was released on September 28, 2010. Ice Cube has said this album will be different than any one of his other albums, having a different direction for the album. The album was released independently under his label Lench Mob. Ice Cube stated that "being independent is beautiful because we can do things 'out the box' that record companies would usually frown at. Instead of working from a ready-made cookie-cutter marketing plan, we can tailor make a marketing plan specifically for me".
In a recent interview with Baller Status, Ice Cube speaks on two songs that are going to be on the album, "Man vs. Machine" and "Hood Robbin". "'Man vs. Machine' is talking about our obsessions with machinery and how it's taking over," he said in an interview. "Automation is taking over human beings in all our relevancy in this world. Pretty soon, machines are gonna take over and that's just real...['Hood Robbin'] is talking about how big corporations is now stealing from the poor and giving to the rich. It's a whole thing about the things we're going up against with housing and medical insurance ... just everything people are going through. Real shit that ain't got nothing to do with money, cars, and all the shit most rappers talk about."
Young Maylay has made guest appearances on the album. Ice Cube confirmed that Dr. Dre would no longer be on the album in August.. He received beats from West coast veteran producers such as DJ Quik, Dr. Dre, E-A-Ski, and Sir Jinx, not having worked on a solo album with the latter in nearly 20 years
I Am The West, like several previous Ice Cube/Westside Connection albums, features interludes by Keith David.
Not every hip hop game-changer follows the hackneyed rhyme-fast-and-leave-a-good-looking corpse route to rap immortality. Survive into middle age and suddenly losing cutting edge relevance is the chief pitfall to circumnavigate, as gangsta rap pioneer Ice Cube discovers on this infuriatingly incoherent California-repping set.
From angriest screwface in Compton trailblazers N.W.A. to Hollywood actor, the man born O’Shea Jackson has undergone an intriguing transformation. Now aged 41, I Am the West is quite a statement. In the main, unfortunately, that cocksure claim isn’t backed with requisite originality to suggest Ice Cube genuinely does support an entire side of America on his shoulders in 2010.
There are moments of vitality, sure, notably when hip hop’s east/west coast wars are briefly re-ignited as Life in California takes New York’s king of grown-man rap to task. "If Jay-Z can rap about the NYC / Why can’t I talk about the s*** I see? / Without Alicia Keys / Without going RnB / This ain’t Motown / This is R-A-P," Ice rails in its fiery opening exchanges. Nothing Like L.A. makes a barbed point too, knowingly intoning "You don’t go Hollywood / When you from Hollywood".
She Couldn’t Make it on Her Own, meanwhile, is the album’s pinnacle by some distance, mixing addictively repetitious, slurring motifs with pinches of crunk minimalism. That it near enough wholesale jumps on Texan duo UGK’s southern rap bandwagon, though, is a measure of the shortcomings here.
Too West Coast epitomises the wide-of-the-mark misses, somewhat ironically employing a hook delivered with twang dangerously over-indebted to west coast big gun Snoop Dogg. And sub-genre-jumping stylistic inconsistencies mar the clutch of aforementioned tracks that, in isolation, show Ice Cube hasn’t forgotten how to effectively channel his simmering ire.
Where N.W.A. shaped the standard for no-nonsense depictions of inner-city life, making Ice Cube’s name in the process, he’s no longer at the vanguard of hip hop’s evolution. The cruel might even argue he hasn’t unleashed an essential album since the early 1990s. While the leader has become absorbed by the pack, however, at least I Am the West doesn’t go down without a mouthy fight. User Comments