November 17, 2020

Ice Cube "The Predator" (November 17, 1992)

If The Predator doesn't pack the hammer-in-the-forehead wallop you might expect at first, don't blame the artist -- blame the reality that's outpaced his and our nightmares. As despicable, and perhaps inexcusable as many of Cube's pronouncements have been, none of them have been as damaging as the ill-made decision of the 12 jurors in the Rodney King trial. "I told you it would happen / You heard it / read it / But all you could call me was anti-Semitic," Cube ruminates on the furious "We Had To Tear This M.F. up," his justification for the riots and one of Predator's three crucial cuts. Cube's dangerous genius is for bringing his listener into the center of the storm. The other two outstanding cuts are the ones directly preceding "M.F."; the almost humorously hyperbolic title-cut-statement-of-purpose (where, among other outrages, Cube calls the Statue of Liberty a "lazy bitch"), and the stunning "It Was a Good Day." Behind a groove that's as close to slinky as he's gotten, Cube recounts a rare 24 hours of no hassles - "plus nobody I know got killed in South Central L.A. / Today was a good day." The rest of the record is fairly solid, with more than its share of disconcerting moments -- Cube's nyah-nyahing ("Now you ask if I'm a Five Percenter?") in particularly, um, charming, but it bogs down in the second half, weighed with a tired bitch-hating scenario ("Don't Trust 'Em," gee, there's a new spin) and a follow-up to AmeriKKKa's "Gangsta's Fairytale" that cries out for an Andrew Dice Clay cover version. By the time Cube mounts his own cop-killing sketch of the last cut, it comes off as more than just a bit of pro forma. The music is a big help throughout -- riffs reminiscent of Sly and Funkadelic but put into an atom smasher, enriched with noise and compressed till they create a backdrop as dense as a black hole. But as always, it's the voice that grabs you, holds you, and demands to be heard." - Spin Magazine (01/93).

The full album review in Spin Magazine, January 1993...