RapReviews DVD Reviews

[The Videos Volume 1] Ice Cube :: The Videos Volume 1
Label: Captiol/Priority Records

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

This is exactly what you'd expect from the title - all Ice Cube videos, all the time. There's no biography of Ice Cube here, no footage of Ice Cube live on tour, no introspection by him or others on his importance to the music industry and the evolution of hardcore hip-hop. "The Videos Volume 1" simply put has fifteen of the most important videos from the career of a rapper that has spanned three different decades. While he may be better known these days as the star of Hollywood films like "Friday," there was a day and age when he was better known for rapping with Chuck D and Big Daddy Kane on how he'd rather "Burn Hollywood Burn" the whole motion picture industry to the ground. The irony should not be lost on longtime hip-hop fans though, because it was through these very music videos that Ice Cube developed the acting chops to become a success on the big screen, all starting with his breakout role via "Boyz N the Hood."

No shortage of Cube's hardcore attitude can be found in this selection, some of which were rarely seen because of the fear that Cube's rhetoric and violence were too graphic for television. Of course, the kidnapping fantasies shown in "True to the Game" will seem awfully tame in today's era compared to any of the far more violent scenarios in a typical episode of The Sopranos. In fact truth be told it's actually rather comical, seeing what would be an aspiring Eazy-E like rapper dressing up in Hammer pants and doing the Hammer dance as Cube sardonically quips "On MTV, but they don't care, they'll have a new {nigga} next year" (bleeped for airplay). "Wicked" plays like it's shot right in the middle of the L.A. riots, which is clearly a potshot at critics who by turn said Cube songs like "Black Korea" both predicted it's violence and then proceeded to blame said same songs for INCITING it. The first group of critics were the ones who got it right, as the anger of songs like "Wicked" was symptomatic of the disenfranchisement felt by inner city denizens across the United States. Already a powerful song lyrically and musically, the video makes it into one hell of a statement about the anarchy that results from abject poverty mixed with police brutality.

There is a lighter side to Cube though, something which would at first come as a surprise to those who dubbed him "the world's angriest rapper." Well nobody can stay angry 24/7, no matter how hard they try, and on "It Was a Good Day" Cube reflects back on a 24 during a 7 where everything went his way. The video narrates the song to a T. Cube gets up and eats a breakfast "with no hog," walks outside to get in his lowrider, cruises to the park to play hoops where he gets a triple double balling. Cops cruise by him without stopping. Coffins with dead homies get put in reverse, as instead of throwing mementos on the gravesite they float backwards to the hands of the holder. About the only thing missing is that they couldn't get the Goodyear Blimp to do a fly over with the message "Ice Cube's a pimp" scrolling on it. As the video comes to an end police surround Cube's house, but he just casually ignores them and walks inside. It's all a set-up to the "Check Yo Self" video though, where Cube is hauled off and thrown behind bars, conducting his rap about survival from the place where it's hardest to survive. He exchanges ice grills with wardens and other inmates in his county blues, but gets an admiring glance from a female prison guard. The video ends up being a good day for Cube after all, as said same warden slips him a guard's uniform and helps him break out of the pen at the end.

There's no shortage of classics to be found here. George Clinton and Ice Cube party together on "Bop Gun." Both the cool-out anthem "You Know How We Do It" and the even slicker "Part 2" remix are presented in this collection, where Cube goes cruising the Vegas strip. They're a needed balance to somber songs like "Dead Homiez" and hardcore anthems like "Really Doe" - actually, that's the other way around the more that I think about it. The video collection wraps up with two of his more obscure videos, "Lil Ass Gee" and "What Can I Do?," both from "Lethal Injection." This leaves plenty of room for a "Volume 2," one which could include anything from his work with Westside Connection to songs from his "War" and "Peace" albums. Let there be no doubt though, this collection could have just as easily been called "The Essential Ice Cube" and been just as accurate, as these are the some of the best songs AND videos of his career. There's not much for extras, just a discography, biography, and "Wicked" EPK, but you don't need more with so many dope videos. "Really Doe." At anywhere from $12-$15 at most retail outlets, Ice Cube's "The Videos Volume 1" is tough to beat for the price OR the quality.

Content: 10 of 10 Layout: 9 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 9.5 of 10

Originally posted: December 7, 2004
source: www.RapReviews.com

© Copyright 2005 RapReviews.com, Flash Web Design Exclusive