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Music

Ice Cube's 'Death Certificate' Soundtracked the Rodney King Era

It was during the period between the Rodney King beating and subsequent court verdict that Ice Cube cut Death Certificate, a chilling glimpse into the anger and frustration South Central Los Angelinos were feeling.

Recent
Music

Dr. Dre: Compton (take 2)

After 15 years of largely playing mentor to developing artists, Dr. Dre makes a triumphant 11th hour solo return.

Music

Dr. Dre: Compton

A rapper/producer that started in the '80s raps and produces a surprisingly good album three decades later.

Music

The 10 Greatest Lyricists in Hip-Hop

From the type of honest and revealing storytelling that some have mastered to the wit-centric, mind-bending lines that ooze with double entendres and third, fourth, and fifth meanings, the best hip-hop will forever be contingent on the power of its lyrics. Here, PopMatters takes a look at 10 of the best lyricists the rap form has to offer.

Music

Counterbalance No. 109: N.W.A's 'Straight Outta Compton'

This week's LP is expressin' with its full capabilities. It's not livin' in correctional facilities, though, it's the 109th most acclaimed album of all time. A West Coast masterpiece is this week's Counterbalance.

Film

High Art or Hood Film: John Singleton's 'Boyz n the Hood'

When Boyz n the Hood was released in 1991, I wanted to see it. All of my friends wanted to see it. We were all 11 or 12, and we all wanted to see it for the same reasons our parents didn’t want us to see it; it was about the hood.

Danny McCaslin
Music

Holmes: Covers

From Queen to the King, Roy Shakked's covers album provides old fashioned fun.

Music

Hip-Hop's Laboratory of Language

What do William Wordsworth, Robert Frost, Ice Cube, and Ghostface Killah have in common? Finally, they all appear in anthologies.

Music

Keeping It Real: Dreams, Mind-Alteration, & Misperception in Hip-Hop

Hip-hop has been engaged in an ongoing tension between fantasy and reality, art and artifice but rappers, like all good artists, sometimes have to lie in order to tell the truth.

Music

Hip-Hop Storytellers: The Heist Motif

Bluster and bravado are considered par for the course in hip-hop, but rappers adopt cunning personas to tell stories of money, power, and respect.

Music

Hip-Hop Storytellers: The Vignette

"That story is over, but my rhyme ain't done." Vignettes are important tools in hip-hop's rich and plentiful storytelling tradition.

Television

It Was Only Yesterday L.A. Went Up in Flames

Langston Hughes’ proverbial California raisin in the sun exploded to a funky beat. I stared blankly past the familiar storefronts, into a world I could barely grasp. How civil a society was it that my daughter was about to join?

Film

Fear of a Rap Parody

Underrated in the annals of hip-hop cinema, Rusty Cundieff's Fear of a Black Hat is biting and unflinching, and forces hip-hop fans to stare soberly at the culture's flaws and to revisit their own reasons for loving the music.

Film

Part 3: The Sixth Sense to Fight Club (August - October 1999)

Films that have left a lasting impression on their creators (M. Night Shyamalan, Sam Mendes, David Fincher) make up the majority of Part Three of our Films of 1999 overview.

Music

Seven Ways to Detox

It's 2009, and that means it has now been a full decade since Dr. Dre's last official release. Here are some suggestions for survival while you continue to await his long-gestating follow-up, Detox.

Music

Ice Cube: The Essentials

It’s hard to give a thumbs-up to an album that calls itself The Essentials when there’s so much essential material missing.

Music

Songs in the Key of Rap

The relationship between singing and rapping has had a transforming effect on hip-hoppers and singers alike.

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The Return of the Popcorn Circus: July 2008

And it just doesn't stop. If part two in this three-ring play was packed with well hyped product, July just keeps the receipt treats coming.

Reviews

First Sunday

Of all the players, Katt Williams appears to comprehend the unpleasantness of the entire exercise.

Reviews

Are We Done Yet? (2007)

A showdown with a raccoon who steals his Corn Nuts grants Ice Cube, Mr. AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, the opportunity to mutter, "You should know not to mess with a man's nuts." I can't tell you how painful it is.

Music

Snoop Dogg: Tha Blue Carpet Treatment

Snoop Dogg invites a bunch of friends to the studio, records a small army of songs, accomplishes not much of anything.

Music

Ice Cube: Laugh Now, Cry Later

Ice Cube's been livin' large off his gangsta boogie and movies like Boyz-N-the-Hood and Friday. So why does he want to be a "microphone master"?

Reviews

XXX: State of the Union: Special Edition (2005)

D quotes Tupac -- 'Wars come and go, but my soldiers stay eternal' -- and hip-hop saves the nation.

Cynthia Fuchs
Film

XXX: State of the Union (2005)

Ice Cube makes an unusual action hero, cooler and shorter than most.

Cynthia Fuchs
Film

Are We There Yet? (2005)

Nick (Ice Cube) is defiantly ungrown-up. In other words, he's ripe for a life lesson.

Cynthia Fuchs
Reviews

Barbershop: DVD Collector's Set (2002/2004)

The Barbershop movies focus their energies on familial feelings and communal inclinations, and Cedric's wily jokes.

Cynthia Fuchs
Reviews

Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004)

Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer) comes to understand a new place for himself, and, no small thing, frames an acutely political history by his own story.

Cynthia Fuchs
Film

Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004)

These first five minutes grant Eddie and the barbershop some specific background, of resistance and community.

Cynthia Fuchs
Film

Torque (2004)

Along with Will Yun Lee, Jay Hernandez provides bookends of street-cred color for pretty white star Martin Henderson.

Cynthia Fuchs
Film

Friday After Next (2002)

'I look at myself and the movies I do as a brand,' Ice Cube tells 'Variety'.

Cynthia Fuchs
Film

Barbershop (2002)

Barbershop's multiple charms are all sweet.

Cynthia Fuchs
Film

All About the Benjamins (2002)

'All About the Benjamins'... relies heavily on the considerable chemistry between Epps and Cube: sometimes it's just fun to watch them entertain one another, which they clearly do.

Cynthia Fuchs
Reviews
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