Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Ice Cube - Kill At Will 12"


Priority (1990)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for 25+ years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

I can't be positive, but I think the first time I ever heard Ice Cube was from one of the videos released from this EP.  If it wasn't from that, it was probably his guest appearance on the Public Enemy song "Burn Hollywood Burn."  The song from this EP that I remember super vividly from the Yo MTV Raps era was "Jackin' For Beats."

The fist thing that caught my ears was that the song starts off using the same music as the D-Nice song "Call Me D-Nice."  It then moves through beats of other songs of the era including sections that include Public Enemy, Digital Underground and others.  It wasn't a concept that made a ton of sense to me as a kid, but it made for a hell of a song and I really liked it even if I didn't totally understand what Cube was up to.  It holds up extremely well all of these years later and it really makes me think that D-Nice probably doesn't get as much credit as he deserves for his first album.

The rest of this EP is a mixed bag.  There's some interesting remixes of a couple of tracks from Ice Cube's debut album. There's a track of nothing but shout outs and a thirty second skit.  The next most famous song from this LP is "Dead Homiez."  It's a serious track, that is slower than a lot of what Cube was doing at the time.  It's not one that I ever really gravitated to.  Lyrically it's pretty powerful, but the delivery is so laid back that I think it loses some impact.  The other standout to me on this album is "The Product."  It's fast and Ice Cube is fierce on the mic.

To me, the best era of Ice Cube is Amerikka's Most Wanted, this EP and Death Certificate. There's a few good moments after that, but his first three releases are pretty untouchable.  The Kill At Will EP is definitely part of that really important era and I still would probably say "Jackin' for Beats" is my favorite Ice Cube song (at worst, it's a very close second to "Steady Mobbin").

Ice Cube - Kill At Will (Youtube full EP playlist):

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