Bootlegs & B-Sides

As a founding member of N.W.A, Ice Cube was a gangsta seven years ago, when it was actually shocking to hear violent lyrics about cops, Crips, Bloods, and shotgun blasts. He has survived and prospered as a solo artist mainly because he had the foresight to wait for the rest of the world to catch up with him, while generally keeping his pit-bull baritone intact. As a survey of his post-N.W.A career, Bootlegs & B-Sides may not represent vintage Cube in his rawest and roughest state; on this collection of remixed singles and flip sides, his voice rarely sounds neck-strainingly strident, and the beats lack the punch that Dr. Dre provided as part of N.W.A. However, unlike most of his contemporaries, he is still able to make sexual boasting sound genuinely naughty (”You Don’t Wanna F— Wit These”), and he’s still able to portray gang life with clarity and vividness (the stone-cold sober ”Lil Ass Gee”). In the end, what resonates most are Cube’s strong senses of humor and irony (as in his thoughtful hit single ”It Was a Good Day”), which is why he’s still going strong after all these years. B+

Bootlegs & B-Sides
  • Music