The Next Cut” is a timely addition to the much beloved franchise, other cinematic projects up his sleeve, as well as the time currently being ripe for Cube to work on his new album, “Everythang’s Corrupt.”
Here are some questions and answers from our one on one candid conversation with Ice Cube:
AllHipHop: Of the three “Barbershop” movies, how does this one rate for you?
Ice Cube: Well, it’s hard to beat the first one. I mean it’s 1 A.
So what does 1A mean?
I mean it’s just as good as the first, it’s just not the first.
Your character comes full circle from the first “Barbershop” movie in “Barbershop: The Next Cut.” In the first one, your character Calvin wasn’t sure that he even wanted the barbershop he had inherited from his father. Now in this movie, he is an elder statesman in the community because of his barbershop and what it represents for so many. Do you think that because of this “Barbershop: The Next Cut” is likely the last of the franchise or is there more that we haven’t seen?
I think there is definitely more there. As long as there’s situations that people go through we can always highlight them and talk about them in “Barbershop.” And I still think Calvin – he was still trying to get out of there. He was still thinking about abandoning the neighborhood and going somewhere else and doing what most people do in these situations, so I still think he has some growing to do.
As a producer on this movie, you came up with a large chunk of the dramatic A story – the barbershop holding a 48 hour cease fire – from an article that you happened to read about a real life barbershop in Memphis, Tennessee that did the same thing. If you hadn’t read that article, do you think that “Barbershop: The Next Cut,” while still very funny like all of the “Barbershop” movies, would have had such a timely but politically based bent?
I think we would have – I was looking to connect it with what was really happening in Chicago, so I think that that element came out of it dealing with the son trying to stay out of the streets while trying not to get shot. I don’t know if the barbershop 48 hour free haircut day would have happened. I think we would have found the story because we were looking for it so hard, looking for what this movie needed to be. Either we would have found it or we wouldn’t have done the movie.
So it really had to be about something.
Yeah. I didn’t want to do it without having a good reason to do it. I didn’t want to do it because – I don’t think nobody did without having that good reason. Maybe MGM did, but we wanted to have a good reason to shoot this movie and talk about things that were really happening on the ground in Chicago.
With “Everthang’s Corrupt,” it’s been awhile since you’ve come out with something new musically. Why now?
You know, I haven’t promised a record yet. I’m still working on it. But I had to put it down for a minute to finish these movies and make sure they were right. To make sure “Ride Along 2” was right, “Barbershop” and “Straight Outta Compton” – and this is going to be the end of it. I did a movie called “Fist Fight.” I just didn’t want to spread myself too thin. Finish these movies and finish this promotion and then finish the record and put it out.
“Everythang’s Corrupt” – was that title inspired by the Oscar nominations snub with “Straight Outta Compton”?
Oh no. I named that album three years ago.
So then where does that title come from? What’s that about for you?
Everything is corrupt. Everything has a form of corruption. It has poison in it. It’s like a cancer. Everything.
So just aside from current politics, Donald Trump and everything else?
Oh yeah. Way aside from Trump. Everywhere. There’s corruption everywhere. That’s the problem.
So is this album your way of dealing with it?
I mean that’s just the title of what I’m talking about on the record. That we have to look at everything because everything is corrupt, and it’s a shame. But you know the hook on the song says: “For my birthday buy me a politician/ It’s a shame that we gotta teach the children/ Everything is corrupt/ Everything is corrupt.” Everything is corrupt so it’s kind of like that’s the theme.
Do you think you’ll be working with your son O’Shea Jackson Jr. at all? Does he rap?
Yeah. Yeah he do. He’s good too. He’s real good. I don’t know if he want’s to do that yet. He’s still in the process of landing his second movie, so I think he wants to be a movie star. I’m fine with that.
So he can’t do both like his dad?
Yeah, he can if he want’s to. I think he should focus on one over the other. I think the movie lane is open. You know, he’s second generation Hollywood. I think he should go that route and do music after he solidifies himself in the industry.
Having been very successful both industries, do you see one as being easier than the other?
The movie industry is a lot cleaner than the record business – it’s dirty. It’s a dirty business. It’s still harder to get a movie made than a record of course, but they pay you. They pay you right.
You talk about the music industry being dirtier and of course you’ve got that whole business with Ke$ha and her lawsuit that she lost against her record label Sony\****, and her producer *Dr. Luke*\ based on her allegations of longtime sexual abuse from Dr. Luke. What’s your take on that?** What happened with her?
In a nutshell, she’s accused Dr. Luke of having been sexually abusive to her since she first signed with him at 18 years old. Her contract with Dr. Luke’s company, Prescription Songs and his label, Kemosabe Imprint\****\, which is a Sony imprint, stipulates that Dr. Luke must produce at least six songs on all of her albums. Ke$ha claims to have sued because she doesn’t want to continue working with him, even though she has no problem staying with Sony, but Sony won’t let her out of her contract. Different female artists have come out in support of her since the ruling went against her. I know that this particular brand of ugliness hasn’t been your experience, but do you think that this level of “dirt” might be due to the fact that the music business might not be as transparent as the movie business when in comes down to it?**
I think the same sort of stuff happens in the movie industry. If you really dig deep, there’s probably people who are victims of the casting couch, so to speak. With her, I think as a record label, I understand them not wanting to release her cause she’s a hit artist and they didn’t do nothing to her. If they assigned her that producer, they might be at fault but as a producer I think the fault is with the producer and they just need to get her a different producer.
According to Ke$ha, that’s what Sony won’t do – though Sony has legally claimed otherwise.
Oh well then yeah – I definitely wouldn’t record for them again. They might as well release me because I’m not doing another record. I’m definitely not working with this motherfucker. So I side with her if they feel that way.
And so what’s next for you? Because you were talking about your next movie “Fist Fight” – what’s that about?
Charlie Day is in that movie and we play two teachers who decide to have a fight after school at 3 o’clock. Kick yo’ ass.
It seems like you are doing all of these projects that are speaking straight to being a dad or a father figure and things that men have to teach to the youngsters about manhood and what you should do as a real man versus what you might want to just run off and do. Is that a calculated choice or just an organic thing that has happened with you career?
I think so. You know, I think it’s really organic to just be going that way. You know, I ain’t no young buck no more. I’m big daddy.
Has time mellowed you out at all? It would seem that it hasn’t if you are writing “Everythang’s Corrupt” paired with what you wanted to get across as a producer in “Barbershop: The Next Cut” in regards to real life community situations for many people living in Chicago.
I haven’t mellowed out at all as a person. People might see a character I play and for some reason they think if you play a preschool teacher on a movie then you’re into doing kid’s movies now and you’ve changed your life and that’s what you’re doing. It’s like naw, I just played this dumbass preschool teacher and there’s nothing different about me. I’m just trying to be a good actor.
See the most recent featurette for “Barbershop:The Next Cut” here in advance of it’s release nationwide in theaters April 15, 2016: