The curl has dried, the AK-47 is shelved, and Ice Cube now makes children/family-oriented movies. Saturday however, Cube was put to the test, as over ten thousand Austin, Texas fans, many of whom were children when he was still the "n**** you loved to hate," some of whom probably banned their own kids from listening to him back then, patiently waited for Ice Cube show whether he could still get busy. That answer was a resounding "yay yaaay!!"
Cube has always been a show rocker and he did not disappoint. Book ended by two blown up hands in the classic "W" formation, Cube ran down his twenty year musical history across many different eras, melding his timeless classic solo work, with early N.W.A. and Westside Connection material, with his new independent material.
Songs like "The Message" influenced "Check Yourself" remix, along with other classic Cube hits like "You Know How We Do," "We Be Clubbin," and the timeless "Today Was A Good Day" remind you of just how rich his musical legacy is.
Long time collaborator WC and a legend in his own right joined him on stage to rip through their West Sdie Connection hits and put the quesiton to the crowd of which side was the best side. Of course you know the answer to that.
Cube performed his newer material as well and bolstered the crowd's unfamiliarity with banter, particularly when introducing his recent smash "Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It." The audience felt him and the show continued into the night.
The highlight came when Cube went to his early N.W.A. material. The verse that changed the world sent people to a frenzy as Cube tore into "Straight Outta Compton." 20 years later and that verse still gives you the chills.
From there he did "Gangsta, Gangsta," and surprisingly closed that set with the scathing diss record "No Vaseline." In all it was great to see a veteran command thousands with the hunger of a young emcee. Ice Cube had the presence, the command and the catalogue to get it done for the fans at SXSW.
For Cube to rock an outdoor venue with that many people is a testament to his career and his artistry. No one wondered "Are We There Yet," because the former "N**** You Love To Hate" can still "Kill At Will."
Special shout to Matt Sonzala, Lindsay Powers, Deuce, Boogie and the rest of the Crew from Hot93.3 FM in Austin.