How do you measure the relevance of an emcee in Hip-Hop culture? Some point to the simple word of mouth on the streets a given rapper generates. Others reference more tangible evidence such as Youtube hits and ringtone purchases.
And for a dwindling select few, some still reference actual album sales. With iconoclast legend Ice Cube, you can take your pick of his continued success in film and TV. And after a recent sold-out turn away show in Atlanta, you can confidently add music to that list as well.
After solid opening acts from Atlanta standout Kid Kaos and Detroit hard body Trick Trick (with Yung Bergs Transformer chain still in tow), Ice Cube and Westside Connection comrade W.C. burst onto the stage with an inspired version of the classic Natural Born Killaz. The Atlanta crowd was heavy with California transplants who proudly sang along word for word.
Although the gangster Rap icon teased seminal tracks like No Vaseline, Cube centered the majority of his set on his most popular singles. Despite being denied such classics as Steady Mobbin and Amerikkkas Most Wanted, the Don Mega appeased longtime hardcore fans with flawless renditions of Jackin For Beats, Check Yo Self, and his trademark verses from N.W.A.s Straight Outta Compton and Dopeman.
Cubes much maligned singles We Be Clubbin, and Bop Gun had no resistance from the audience, as the radio-friendly tracks fit perfectly with the party atmosphere that had taken over. New school emcee Young Jeezy made a surprise appearance to the delight of the Atlanta faithful for I Got My Locs On.
Even with a generation difference between them and their styles of gangster Rap, Jeezy and Cube showed great poise alternately working each side of the audience and concluding with a poignant photo-op moment of them triumphantly standing side by side.
After ripping through the Westside Connection numbers Bow Down and Gangsta Nation, Ice Cube ended appropriately with his biggest single ever, Today Was A Good Day. The timeless, smooth sample of the Isley Brothers Footprints In The Dark blared throughout the venue as Cube was nearly drowned out by every fan in attendance reciting each verse line for line. At key lines (Last week f*cked around and got a triple double), a clearly touched Cube would pause and turn the mic towards the crowd.
Leaving to a thunderous ovation, Ice Cube reminded everyone in attendance that twenty plus years of Hip-Hop doesnt make him a relic, but a living legend who continues to build a blueprint for emcees seeking to transition from hungry spitters to established moguls. This concert was not just a good day for Cube, but one for Hip-Hop.
Ice Cube Featuring Young Jeezy
"I Got My Locs On"
"Check Yo' Self"
"Today Was A Good Day"