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L.A. from Every Angle
Posted April 01, 2010 to photo album "L.A. from Every Angle"
As Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg shows, there are many different L.A.s inside the city limits. Joel Bleifuss takes us on the tour of how artists imagine Los Angeles.
Slide 28: L.A. of the Gangstas
Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson) (1969- ) Ice Cube, hailing form South Central L.A., is one of the originators of “gangsta rap.”
Sportsman Cube is an artist whose repertoire ranges from bad-ass rapper (left) (“I didn’t even have to use my AK/Today is a good day”) to Hollywood funnyman (right) in Are We Done Yet?, the sequel to Are We There Yet?
Cube started out as a member of N.W.A. (Niggaz Wit Attitudes), which released its first album in 1988, Straight Outta Compton, which included the famous anti-police brutality tune “Fuck tha Police.” N.W.A. didn’t call their music “gangsta rap,” preferring the moniker “reality rap.” Cube went on to become a successful solo performer and an actor, screenwriter and producer. He once said: “I’ve got a phone, answer machine, TV set, computer, hand grenade—everything you need to run a business in Los Angeles.”
Cube and his hop supergroup Westside Connection have released two albums. The first, Bow Down, came out in 1996, and was made, he said, “ ‘cause we thought it was needed. We’re all individual artists, but we hang together, run together, clique together, support each other. We felt that somebody needed to take it up for the West Coast, and it needed to be more then one artist, so Bow Down was conceived.”
Westside Connection’s second album, Terrorist Threats, came out in 2004. “We felt that hip-hop is [now] soft,” he told VH1. “We come from the days when rap used to agitate the mainstream. Now it’s more buddy-buddy. That doesn’t sit well with me. So what we need is [a bit more] street politics, bringing up issues, agitating you a little bit. And nothing can agitate you more now than a terrorist threat.”
Cube’s latest film venture is the documentary Straight Outta L.A., which tells the story of the move of the Raiders football team from Oakland to Los Angeles in 1982, and how the team inspired black Angelenos and the burgeoning hip hop music scene.