Ice Cube Names Chuck D His Favorite Rapper & Bomb Squad His Favorite Producers (Audio)
February 21 UPDATE: The video interview of Ice Cube from The Combat Jack Show has been added below, along with the existing audio stream.
Starting in 1990’s “Endangered Species (Tales From The Darkside),” Ice Cube made some of his most notable collaborations with Chuck D and the producers of Public Enemy, The Bomb Squad. In a career that has included collaborative work with Tupac Shakur, The D.O.C., Snoop Dogg, Scarface, and Kool G Rap, Cube tells The Combat Jack Show about just what Public Enemy’s Carlton “Chuck D” Ridenhour means to him.
At 31:00 into the interview, Combat Jack mentions to Cube that he’s worked with two of Hip-Hop’s most celebrated production acts in Dr. Dre and The Bomb Squad. “The Bomb Squad was…they’re the standard. When it comes to sampling [in] that era, nobody could do it like The Bomb Squad. They was mad scientists. They were dudes who were more creative. Their beats hypnotized you.” After leaving N.W.A. in 1990, Ice Cube and longtime collaborator Sir Jinx traveled to New York to work with Public Enemy and The Bomb Squad on his AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted solo debut. That team including brothers Hank and Keith Shocklee, Eric “Vietnam” Sadler, Chuck D, and G-Wiz.
Cube continues, “Sonically, [they are] on a whole ‘nother level. These dudes were geniuses with sampling and putting music together in that era. I know I worked with Dre [chuckling], but The Bomb Squad is my favorite producers. ‘Cause they were what [N.W.A.] was trying to emulate in a lot of ways with Straight Outta Compton [which has] a lot of them break-beats [including ‘Fuck Tha Police’]. The start of [that record] is ‘Bring The Noise’ [mimics the beat]. We’re using these same break-beats to create our stuff because we’re so influenced by Public Enemy.”
“They were, to me, more politically-focused than N.W.A.,” admits Cube. Straight Outta Compton released less than 40 days after P.E.’s sophomore LP, It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, which included the aforementioned “Bring The Noise.” “We got one or two [political songs]; they got 30, 40. [Chuckles] Our focus was just a little different than theirs. They had Knowledge Of Self; we were still mental zombies, as far as our place in the world. We was just thinking that the police was the biggest obstacle, until we got the letter from the F.B.I. Then, we started to really understand our place in the world, and me personally, started to understand what it is to be Black at that time. These dudes helped us get over the hump with that. I’m always [saluting Public Enemy]. Chuck is my favorite rapper of all time, because of message and content. [Those skills in Chuck D are] off the meters compared to any other rapper in the game. Salute to Chuck; he really kicked this off.”
Ice Cube and Chuck D would work together again on Bootsy Collins’ Tha Funk Capitol of The World.
At the close of the interview, Ice Cube lists his Top 5 of all-time as Chuck D, KRS-One, Rakim, Grandmaster Melle Mel [of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5], and LL Cool J. Cube maintains that list is not ranked.
Cube’s Fist Fight film opens this week. He is presently preparing for a 25th anniversary re-release of Death Certificate. It will reportedly contain three new songs.