The last time O’Shea Jackson, also known as Ice Cube, released a full length album was over nine years ago with the record, I Am the West. Since then, he’s mostly stuck to movie and television appearances. Ice Cube also released a couple of notable singles since his last album, as well as dropped a couple of guest spots for other rappers and rap groups during the interim.
With virtually no announcement, Ice Cube released the aggressive single “Arrest the President” on October 31 of this year, with a promise that the album, Everythang’s Corrupt, would be released on December 7. As promised, Cube delivered on the new album and re-assured hip-hop fans he has not only refrained from going soft, but still has a serious edge going into 2019.
As the album opens with “Super OG,” Cube keeps things simple and straightforward and prefaces “Arrest the President” with a reference that sets the tone for the rebellious nature of the entire album.
“You know me, super OG, always down to take a knee.”
From track one, it’s clear Cube is not a fan of Donald Trump, and if that doesn’t tell conservative listers to consider walking away, track two will probably do the trick.
When I first heard “Arrest the President,” I felt that, lyrically, Ice Cube was as on point as he’s ever been. Furthermore, Cube still maintains his unique ability to beautifully deliver a line that would be lackluster from a less capable rapper. Cube’s main strength has always been in his delivery and he’s still shining in that department. Originally, my only complaint with “Arrest the President” was that the beat left a lot to be desired. Granted I haven’t listened to the song in about a month, but the instrumental just seems much fuller now, crisp.
That could be due to a new mix or master of the song, or it could just be the track growing on me.
“Don’t Bring Me No Bag” is a return to the drop bass of some of his earlier work, at moments conjuring memories of “Down for Whatever.” Laid back and delicate, but unequivocally sharp. Everythang’s Corrupt maintains a steady, classic sound from Ice Cube that would have fit in just fine in the mid-’90s, but still affects the neck muscles as effectively as ever, challenging the listener to refrain from bobbing their head in time.
As bleak a message as is being delivered from “On Them Pills,” it still manages to make an empty vehicle feel like a full on party.
The triumphant inclusion of Too $hort on “Ain’t Got No Haters” is a nice change of pace, placed wisely in the middle of the album. In subject, the song is completely different, but in tone, it’s difficult to not compare it to “It Was A Good Day,” Cubes biggest hit.
“Can You Dig It” has Cube displaying a choppier flow with a funky bassline interlaced with classic boastful lines, proclaiming Cube’s status as an undefeated force in hip-hop.
“That New Funkadelic” is the newest single to drop from Everythang’s Corrupt, and it’s clearly a banger. Familiar sound, including horns and synth, but a much appreciated update for a new decade. “Still in the Kitchen” might be my personal favorite from the album, conjuring up memories of Westside Connection’s 1996 album, Bow Down.
By the time you get to the albums closing track, “Good Cop, Bad Cop,” it becomes clear, this album isn’t exactly new ground for the Don Mega, but it’s a fantastic mix of ostensibly every Ice Cube era. The sample “black police showin’ out for the white cop” rings across the hook, assuring the listener that Cube might be a long way from his days of struggling on the streets of Compton, but he hasn’t lost sight of where he came from.
From the days of N.W.A., to The Predator, and all the way up to I Am the West, every incarnation of Ice Cube is on display for Everythang’s Corrupt. He’s as nasty, aggressive, and impressive as he’s ever been, and hip-hop is glad to have him back.