Lottery Ticket: Ice Cube Wins, Addresses Critics

On August 20th, Alcon Entertainment, Burg-Koules Production Company and Cube Vision Production aim to continue the growing legacy of everything Ice Cube touches with “Lottery Ticket”. Lottery Ticket starring Bow Wow, Brandon T. Jackson and Ice Cube dives into the universal daydream of what would you do if you hit the mother load? 370 million dollars, to be exact!

Bow Wow is Kevin Carson, a young man living in a low-income community, and is far from being the cool kid around his way… well until he goes against his own mentality and purchase what will become the winning ticket. Brandon T. Jackson is Benny, Kevin’s Ace, and the dedicated livewire with more to his comedic character than shown on the surface. And Ice Cube is Mr. Washington, the underground community resident, an almost urban legend to the youth in the area. There’s a Mr. Washington in every hood; old-school to his traditional core and feels that integrating with the every changing society would change that. He is proud of the struggles he went through in life. Which makes him angry at how the youth are wasting their abilities and talents over nonsense.

Lottery Ticket may or may not have an All-Star Cast depending on your vantage point, but the characters hit home. The characters are relatable and the sub-plots may strike you if you are looking beyond the laughs. AllHipHop.com sat back down with one of our all-time favorite people in Hip-Hop, the Don-Mega, Ice Cube to talk about the movie, the instant criticisms levied on Black Films, and the role that Chuck D played in his early solo career.

AllHipHop.com: The trailer for “Lottery Ticket” focuses on the comedic pieces of the film. But the full-length movie has just as much emotion as punch lines. Talk about both sides of the story and which side, if any, do you believe will make more of an impact on audiences.

Ice Cube: I believe that with movies such as “Barbershop”, we’ve learned that people want their comedy, but people want their substance too. People don’t want just a silly movie. Especially when it’s cutting so close to home. So with “Lottery Ticket” we didn’t want to play the entire time. We wanted to make this solid. We wanted this movie to have longer legs. It was a conscious effort. Promoting the movie, of coarse they’re going to tell everybody that it’s all laughs. It’s fun, but there are some serious moments. I like it like that.

AllHipHop.com: This film is based on the premise, “If you won the lottery, what would you do?” What do you believe is the second most important question this film asks?

Ice Cube: How would you act? How would you act if someone close to you won it? Everybody tells you not to change when you win. What some fail to realize is that you might not be the one that changes; everybody around you does. This movie touches on materialism (and how much value we put on it), who you true friends are; it talks about how people hate on you when you have nothing then love you when you got it all. Nobody really got it all. But it’s not an after-school special, by all means.

AllHipHop.com: Cube Vision production played a role in making this movie possible. Talk about the other key companies that you worked with on “Lottery Ticket”.

Ice Cube: The people at Alcon Entertainment are the ones that approached Cube Vision. My man Broderick approached Cube Vision with the project. Erik White is one hell of a new writer and director. Also my man Matt Alvarez did a lot of heavy lifting on this movie; making sure that it got done in a Cube Vision manner. We must protect the brand. This was a collaboration of talented people creating a project that could stand on its own two feet. We’re following so classic movies. Hopefully we got one.

AllHipHop.com: The chemistry between Kevin and Benny shares small similarities with the role you made famous in “Friday” Craig along with Chris Tucker as “Smokey”. Taking career paths into account, Bow Wow and yourself began as rappers, such as Brandon T. Jackson and Chris Tucker are comedic. Coincidence or predetermined?

Ice Cube: In understanding the history behind “Friday,” the connection between Craig and Smokey, the fans of Smokey are about Erik White’s age. So if you see some aspects of what was before, that’s the foundation. Just like we took some things from Cheech and Chong for Friday. We’ve learned from the movies we liked. It’s only natural. So yes, there are some comparisons. But we aren’t pushing that line saying, “We need to create the new Craig and Smokey.” That’s just not how you should approach it. Every movie should have its own individual thing. You let the director have his freedom to get his vision off. Now, to produce a movie like this is kind of tricky because everybody has their point-of-view. The magic is getting these point-of-views on the screen.

AllHipHop.com: There is a climatic scene between Bow Wow and Brandon T. Jackson that will surprise a lot of people. Were you on set for the taping of this scene, and if not, when you watched the scene, how did you feel about their work?

Ice Cube: I wasn’t on the set during the taping of that scene. But I definitely got a call once it was finished. I was told that this scene would be the anchor for everything that’s going on in this movie. When I saw it, I was reminded of the scene in Friday when Pops got serious with Craig, telling him to put the gun down. This scene reminds me of taking that turn. You might not know you want to take that turn in a movie, but you want to take that dramatic turn. You want to believe that these people aren’t just characters; so real that these could be people you know. This scene was so needed and so on time.

AllHipHop.com: I’m not going to lie to you Cube, you know how it goes with critics. Before the curtains opened, some people weren’t giving “Lottery Ticket” a fair chance. However, there was less talking and a lot of laughter during the film. There are a lot of people out there pondering whether or not to come see this film. What would you tell them?

Ice Cube: You know, my thing is this; without putting too much on it. It’s a funny movie. It’s a good movie; people can relate to it. It’s not about winning the lottery. It’s about coming from nothing, becoming something and watching everybody trip on you. Anyone that already has plans to watch this movie should watch it. You can use this movie to learn how to deal with having something, when you do. Everybody is skeptical. I’m skeptical about every movie I go see. I never think that it’s going to be as good as the trailer. This movie will pleasantly surprise you like every other movie I’ve been apart of. But let me ask you a question.

AllHipHop.com: What would you like to know, Cube?

Ice Cube: How did those same people feel when the movie was over?

AllHipHop.com: Those same people were laughing during the movie. People were very attentive to it. Some talked about how teens would definitely gravitate towards it. But it also had a wide range of ages being covered. But you know how it goes with “Black Films”. People come in putting the film behind the 8-Ball before the lights even dim.

Ice Cube: Everybody expect our movies to change the world. Sometimes a movie is just a movie. It’s not meant to change the world on that scale. It’s a comedy, not a drama. Do you think that we walk in and get a $200,000,000 budget to do a movie? No. The answer is No. It ain’t happening, so… you have to work with what you got.

AllHipHop.com: While talking about Top 5’s, Chuck D talked about collaborating with you on your first album. He talked about your ride to CVS to buy a notebook and you both talked about music theory and accountability before lyrics were written. Is this a vivid memory you can elaborate on, working with Chuck.

Ice Cube: I remember damn near everything about working with Chuck. When I first began working on the record, he was on tour. I’m out in New York. I’m in Long Island and I am seeing everybody but Chuck. Chuck flew in for a few days. I had a meeting with him. He told me, “You need a pen and pad. You need to be writing down everything you see, hear and feel that needs to go on this record, you need to write it down.” Chuck D showed me how to put together an album like that; how to structure it. Back then, sampling was still affordable, so layering it was the key. Layers was to key to their production. I remember the first time he picked me up and we were riding in the Bronco he was talking about on all these records. We were rolling in that. He told me that he wrote “Bumrush the Show” on the L.I., coming in and out of town. He coached me on the importance on why songs should be in a certain order. I’ve learned a lot about writing and putting music together from Chuck D.

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