By Stuart Sevastos (Ice Cube @ Metro City (29/10/2010)) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
It was back in the early 1990s, Ice Cube dropped Death Certificate, a seething and enraged dissertation on American society that was offensive enough to make Hitler blush. It spurred much criticism, because Cube attacked everyone possible: Whites, white women and white men, Asians and Blacks. He left no one out. I suppose the work represents true equality in the realm of hatred.
The album is reminiscent of the movie Do the Right Thing, in a memorable scene in which each character is representative of a specific race and is attacking another race with slurs and hate.
Both Spike Lee and Ice Cube, if you notice, don’t leave anyone out of this equation. Everyone of them is full of rage and hate and spewing their filth. So, guess what? It’s all of us. And there’s a problem.
The problem runs so deep that it destroys people, kills people and alienates everyone from each other and themselves.
Possibly the epitome of this, Cube’s exposition of this problem, comes in the form of his song from Death Certificate titled “Us”. Quite an appropriate title.
Pure ignorance and self-destruction are exposed; people willing to destroy each other and themselves over nothing more than nonsense. And none of them have the sense to stop it and do something; that is, do the right thing.
Ice Cube hurls the slurs freely in the song, and the whole album for that matter. I admit, I bought the album when it first came out and it was disturbing to listen to, to say the least.
But while Ice Cube leaves no one unchecked or un-attacked, he also portrays hate in his own persona. One can only sense rage and confusion in the lyrics, contradictions and hypocrisy; things born of misery, for certain.
Intentional or not, Death Certificate was an exposition on hate and alienation in America, a society built on division and difference, competition and, yes, violence. Cube is either racist against everybody or trying to show us we’re all doing the wrong thing.
Featured Image: By Eva Rinaldi from Sydney Australia (Ice Cube Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I’ve been listening to Hip Hop music and exploring other aspects of the culture since the early 1980s, my teen years. I’ve seen it go through major changes. But there’s a common spirit underlying this Movement. Hip Hop Ya Don’t Stop!