By Carlos Delgado
When it comes to legends of Hip Hop, it doesn’t get much bigger than Ice Cube. From his early days as a founding member of N.W.A. to his subsequent and hugely successful solo career, Cube has done it all and more, shaping Hip Hop as we know it along the way. But perhaps most impressive of all was Ice Cube’s ability to transcend the very musical movement he helped create, becoming an accomplished actor, screenwriter, director, and movie producer.
It’s a feat that isn’t lost on Ice Cube. He reflected on his long film career Friday morning when he phoned KROQ’s Kevin & Bean to talk about his latest project, Ride Along, starring Kevin Hart, Laurence Fishburne, and, of course, Ice Cube himself (listen here). He even claims that the N.W.A. era young Ice Cube would be “impressed” with what he has been able to achieve in his near 25 years since he first began acting.
“I would, no doubt,” Ice Cube said. “I ain’t just saying that cause it’s me. That’s how I thought back then. I was a big movie fan.”
Ice Cube made the transition from “movie fan” to movie maker with his portrayal of “Doughboy” in 1991’s Boyz n the Hood. Surprisingly enough, however, Ice Cube wasn’t entirely confident about his ability to deliver onscreen.
“When (director) Jon Singleton approached me to be in Boyz n the Hood, I was like ‘Man, no. What are you talking about?’ Ice Cube admits. “I didn’t want to do it because I didn’t think I was qualified. I’m like, ‘I ain’t no actor. I can’t do what these big-time actors can do on the screen.’ But (Jon) convinced me. ‘I got you. I’ll make sure it’s right. I know you can do it.’ I’m just glad he believed in me.”
Ice Cube also had some help from what he calls “The Lawrence Fishburne School of Acting.”
“(Lawrence) taught me like ‘Do you know who Doughboy is?” Ice Cube recalls. “I was like, ‘yeah, hell if I know anything, I know who Doughboy is.’ So then he says, ‘So what the hell are you trying to act for? Why are you trying to act? Go do Doughboy!'”
Since his acting debut, Ice Cube has been in the movie industry for nearly 25 years, starring in over 20 movies and even forming his own production company, Cube Vision Productions. It’s an experience he calls “fun and humbling.”
“It’s everything I always wanted it to be,” Ice Cube said. “I wanted to do these movies that I loved, that I grew up on like Car Wash, Uptown Saturday Night, Let’s Do it Again, Hollywood Shuffle… movies that touched me growing up. The movies I always enjoyed to watch a lot. We called them hood classics.”
As successful as his film career has been, though, Ice Cube still find the time and energy to record new music, including his upcoming 10th studio album, Everythang’s Corrupt, due out May 13th.
“I’m a b-boy at heart,” Ice Cube declared. “If I wasn’t doing any movies I’d still be doing music. It’s where I can be the most creative. When you become a part of a movie you just really become part of a big project. It’s like building a house. You can’t really do it on your own. You can really only help with other people to get it done. With a record, it’s the freedom of doing what I wanna do, saying what I wanna say, creating what I wanna create.”
Having been born and raised in L.A., Ice Cube is also a passionate Lakers fans and can often be seen courtside during games. But even he is having a hard time handling the turmoil the Lakers are facing this season.
“You know, even though I knew it was coming; it’s still hard to watch,” Ice Cube admits. “You know you’re going to the dentist but it’s always hard to get that root canal. Even though you know what’s going to happen and after you get it you’re going to feel better, it’s still hard to go through it. That’s where we are right now. We’re getting a root canal.”
But in the end, Ice Cube’s passion lies with filmmaking with the aim of producing movies “that people can watch over and over again. I try to do movies that you can see more than once.”
Ride Along opens today (Jan. 17) at theaters everywhere.