Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Ice Cube - The Predator 2xLP


Capitol/Priority (2003, Reissue)

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 twenty-five plus 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.

It took me a while to find a reasonably priced copy of this, the third Ice Cube album.  This version came out in 2003 and is a double LP that comes with a few bonus tracks and remixes.  It's been out of print for ages, so the cost had gotten prohibitive.  Now, I did pay a decent price for this, but nowhere near the $200-$300 range I've been seeing it in lately.

I wasn't even sure I wanted this record again until recently.  I had the CD back in 1992 and enjoyed it quite a bit.  But over the years the album as a whole was overshadowed by its biggest single "It Was A good Day."  I never liked that song.  I thought it was too slow and the lyrics were kind of goofy.  So the record fell into the rearview and eventually at some point I sold the CD during one of my purges over the years.  The Predator was never in the same league as Amerikkka's Most Wanted or Death Certificate and in my brain I just sort of forgot about it.

For whatever reason, I decided to revisit it within the last eight months or so.  I was surprised by how many of the songs were instantly remembered by my brain, despite not having heard them in ions.  I have sorely overlooked this record and it holds up way better than I had expected.  I still don't like "It Was A Good Day" all that much, though I probably can tolerate it better now than I did in '92.  But the rest of the album is remarkably good.

The "We Will Rock You" drum sample in "When Will They Shoot?" kind of sets the stage for the entire record.  Hard beats with Cube's fiery lyrical delivery.  It's one of several truly great songs like "Wicked," "Now I Gotta Wet 'Cha" and "Check Yo Self."  "Check Yo Self" in particular was one I didn't remember being as great as it is.  I think part of that was due to the over saturation of its remix that basically took the lyrics and dumped it on top of the instrumental of "The Message."  That version still kind of sucks, but the LP version is great.

So, I didn't evaluate this album properly.  I thought Death Certificate was Cube's last stand, but in fact the bulk of The Predator is just about as good.  There's a few tracks that musically have a little bit more G/P-Funk than I typically prefer, but as a whole, a great listen.  I also checked out the 4th Ice Cube record Lethal Injection, to see if I wasn't giving that one the credit it deserved.  But I can assure you, I didn't overlook that one.  It's still pretty not good, so I won't be adding that one to the collection.

Ice Cube - The Predator:

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