Heritage Edition – The Legacy of Ice Cube

Image via Spokesman

Image via Spokesman

Gus Reyna, Writer

Ice Cube is one of the most monumental and influential rappers from the West Coast. From creating rap groups in the 80s to starring in countless movies, he’s worked long and hard to build both his career and his legacy in the entertainment scene. 

Ice cube started his career in a group called C.I.A. (1984-1987) with other rappers, K-Dee and Sir Jinx, but it wasn’t until he left the group to join another that his name was known. His new group, N.W.A. (1987-1991, 1999-2002), had made a breakthrough in the music industry. Together, they changed the world’s perspective on rap, becoming one of the biggest names in the recently created subgenre of gangster rap. 

N.W.A. was brutally honest with their lyrics. Their explicit and carefree tracks were controversial and considered risky at the time. The group was forced to overcome riots, racism, heavy criticism, and more. It was difficult for African-Americans to make it big in the music industry, meaning they had to work harder than others if they wanted to succeed. This made their overwhelming success a great accomplishment not only for themselves but for the others following in their footsteps as well. 

In 2016, N.W.A. was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, making them one of six rappers to ever be inducted. N.W.A was an enormously important and influential portion of Ice Cube’s career. He’s been described as a “storytelling genius” and he doesn’t hold back when it comes to painting pictures of how he grew up in Compton (“Kendrick Lamar Inducts N.W.A at the 2016 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony”). Being so honest and so real is one of the main reasons the group was able to reach the hearts and minds of the residents in Compton, California. The success of N.W.A. gave the people hope and a voice. They represented their hometown with pride, showing that if they could do it, so could anyone else. 

In the early 90s, Ice Cube was convinced by one of his interns to try out acting. With that suggestion, Ice Cube ended up giving it a try and starred in the hit film Boyz n the Hood (1992), which was the beginning of his separate career as an actor. Since then, he’s been in a plethora of different movies including, Friday (1995), Anaconda (1997), and even family movies like The Book of Life (2014). Seeing such a beloved and admired rapper in movies was a huge moment for Ice Cube’s career, as it allowed him to branch out and reach a whole other audience while providing something new and exciting for the supporters he already had. It also gave him another chance to display what life was like growing up for him. Instead of writing hardcore lyrics to tell his story, Ice Cube could put them into films. He also put in the effort to create Straight Outta Compton (2015), a movie showcasing the beginning of greatness and hardships of N.W.A while also giving tribute to Eazy-E, one of the group members that unfortunately passed away in March 1995.

Ice Cube has and continues to do his part in bringing the reality of his story to the light. He’s influenced the way rap and hip-hop are represented and produced, even with popular rapper Kendrick Lamar saying “my debut album, you was the blueprint on how I wanted to approach it,” during his speech for inducting N.W.A. into the hall of fame. He has blazed trails with his monumental music and messages, creating a legacy for others to look back on. Ice Cube once said, “If you believe in yourself, believe in what you’re doing, nobody can stop you,” and he proved that with his success. He believed not only in himself but in the message he preached. We can do the same by following our passions, telling our stories, and changing the world. We can leave our legacy.