Dubcnn is right here in Los Angeles with Ice Cube at his video shoot. You're shooting a couple of videos right now…
Ice Cube: Yeah we shot one yesterday and we're shooting two today. We shot "She Couldn't Make It On Her Own" featuring OMG and Doughboy, now we're shooting "Too West Coast" with WC and Young Maylay and then other song I did with my sons (OMG & Doughboy), WC and Maylay called "Ya'll Know How I Am".
Dubcnn: How different was your approach for this album compared to "Raw Footage"?
Ice Cube: With "Raw Footage" I felt that we were in a critical year. This was before Obama was elected, so we didn't really know where the country was going, Bush had fucked everything up, we didn't know if McCain was about to come in and continue it. So that record to me was trying to get us to recognize where we're at and how we can change some of the conditions that we're in, here in America. So it was a record that to me was trying to go back to the old formula of trying to use the records as street knowledge, to get across messages that I thought people needed to hear. So that was the focus on "Raw Footage". This record is just fun, it's just Hip-Hop, B-Boy shit. It ain't big on political commentary or nothing, it's just big on rhymes, dope beats and celebrating who we are.
Dubcnn: You were a superstar in the old analog music world and you're doing it now in the digital world. Something that's changed is that artists are in direct contact with their fans. You've been doing that through your website icecube.com, talking to your people and blogging. How has that changed the way you market your music?
Ice Cube: It's good. I'm just now getting into it full force. Artists of my era resisted to computers for a while because it changed the game. No doubt, the computer definitely changed the game. But since Hip-Hop is more underground now, like it was when I first came out - it was underground before N.W.A. came out - and that's kind of where it's returned. So what's cool now is, it's not just underground but we can talk to the fans. You can hear from them, the good and the bad on what they think of what you're doing, which is cool. I listen to them sometimes - most of them times I'm on my own page. But for the most, it's good to hear some feedback, positive and negative, from fans.
Dubcnn: So you do feel that you should be accessible as an artist in 2010 for your fans to reach out to?
Ice Cube: Somewhat. I don't think you should be too accessible… It might take away from why people like you. My friend got a saying "no matter how good somebody looks, it's somebody in the world that's tired of they ass." A woman, no matter how fine she is, it's somebody in the world that's tired of her ass. It's kind of that scenario. I think too much access ain't good, because fans sometimes wanna participate in your decision making and that to me takes out the surprise in what you're doing and it takes out the anticipation of what you're doing. Some people have been waiting for this record "I Am The West" and when they hear it they're going to love it! Some people when they hear it they're gonna be like "Damn, I wish it was something else." But all that is a part of it, to me. If they know what they're going to get every time and they know everything about every move as I make it, how excited are they going to be to get it?
Dubcnn: It also makes it harder to adapt to change. Like I remember on one of your blogs you had announced that Dr. Dre would be on the album and later you said that he wouldn't be. People were like "What's going on? Why isn't Dre on there?"
Ice Cube: Well you know, when you first start working on music, you feel like some of it is going to make it here and some of it is going to make it there. We never got a chance to finish the music, and if we didn't get a chance to finish it, then it's just a track that's sitting there, half done. So we've got 2 or 3 tracks that's sitting there like half done! When he calls, I'll finish it. It won't make my record, not this one, but you know… I think people will take a Ice Cube and Dr. Dre record any chance that they get.
Dubcnn: What was the last one, "Hello"?
Ice Cube: Yeah the last one was "Hello".
Dubcnn: That's 10 years ago!
Ice Cube: I'd take it when I can get it, but that is one thing about being accessible. You let the fans know something and then it don't come to fruition. But that's part of it, welcome to Hip-Hop! What you thought was going to happen in January might not be popping in June or in September, that's the kind of way that we ride.
Dubcnn: We posted the album sampler on the site a few days ago and people were wondering what had happened to the DJ Quik and E-A Ski beats that you were supposed to get?
Ice Cube: Yeah I got stuff from them too. The songs really didn't fit this album. E-A Ski's track is going to be released on iTunes, it's called "Pros vs Joes" and that's going to be released as a bonus track on iTunes. I put together albums, I don't put together producer lists. I wouldn't care if I did get a beat from Dre or any of the top producers, if it didn't fit the album it's not going on the album! That don't mean it ain't never going to come out, but it just didn't fit this record.
Dubcnn: Last time we talked, we had a conversation about up and coming West Coast artist. At that time I mentioned Young Maylay to you and you said you were feeling him. Now he's on your new record on two songs I believe. What made you want to have him on there?
Ice Cube: He's dope. He's been paying his dues in a lot of ways, he's been with Dub as his right hand man in a lot of ways. It's just his time, to me. He's right, he's seasoned enough, lyrics are right, he's got one of the bombest verses on the record, so to me it was only smart to put him on. He's going to become a West Coast staple like all the other people that you're hearing when you think of straight West Coast.
Dubcnn: You also feature your sons on the album, OMG and Doughboy. Did you ever try to convince them not to rap?
Ice Cube: Nah, cause they have fun with it, it's cool. What I like about my sons is, they don't need me to make a record. They're going to make their own records and mixtapes. They're having fun with it like I used to when I first came out. It ain't all serious, it ain't no pressure on them at all to make a lot of money. The only pressure on them is to be hot, to be dope, spit, have fun with it and be ferocious. As long as they do that, they can be in the game! If they feel that they don't wanna do that, then they'll probably just stay fans.
Dubcnn: You've been in the game for over two decades, you've accomplished everything there is to accomplish in the music industry. What's your personal goal when you put out this new album? Are you looking for commercial success, are you looking to just satisfy your own drive to make music?
Ice Cube: Just doing the record satisfies my drive to make music, which is THE drive, that's the only drive. I have no expectations of this record, I just hope that my fans, Ice Cube West Coast hard core music lovers, love the record. If they don't, I'll be a little disappointed, but right now I don't expect no commercial success because we're independent and we're just not playing their game. I'm not about to pay people to play my music or none of that bullshit. My shit is going to be like either you find it or you don't. That's the beauty of it because to me it's pure Hip-Hop.
Dubcnn: Apart from music, what's next for you career wise?
Ice Cube: Me, I ain't thinking bout nothing but music man. I've got a record coming out September 28th, so to me that's all that matters right now. We're in awareness mode so we just want the fans to know it's coming, it's there. When you're done with dubcnn, go to icecube.com see what else I got going on, then you can come back to dubcnn, you know what I mean? *laughs*
Dubcnn: Alright man before we go is there anything else you want to let everybody know?
Ice Cube: Much love to dubcnn, always putting the West Coast first. We're on an island out here when it comes to Hip-Hop. It's good to see that somebody recognizes and throws out some smoke signals every now and then. That's some cool shit.