In the 20-plus years since Ice Cube decided to focus on movies, he has taken on key roles in filmmaking — acting, writing, even directing. But it’s his work as a producer, with his own production company, Cube Vision, that has given him the most satisfaction, and perhaps the most success.
It was Ice Cube who made the decision to cast super-hot Kevin Hart for his buddy flick Ride Along, which was key in helping the film gross over $140 million since its mid-January release.
Ride Along is the latest in a line of film hits for the 44-year-old rap legend, who got his start in the gritty, Oscar-nominated Boyz n the Hood. He’s responsible for cult classics like Friday and The Players Club, starred in kiddie-friendly flicks such as Are We There Yet? and, in addition to the sequel to Ride Along, is working on a film with a subject he knows plenty about — N.W.A.
Ice Cube talked about his filmmaking career, rap and his legendary group’s omission from the most recent class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during an interview with The Associated Press.
1 You’ve appeared in everything from dramas like Higher Learning and Three Kings to comedies and kiddie movies like The Longshots . Which genre do you prefer?
It’s easier for me to get comedies made because of my track record. Everybody needs to find their niche. I love dramas, but I understand that I am still just a young man in moviemaking. I know there will be some time to get back to that.
2 You’re still recording music, but why make the transition to also making movies in the 1990s? Were you seeing that music wasn’t as fruitful?
The creative process of making a movie really turned me on. I’d started getting behind the scenes with a camcorder and VHS tape when making music videos. But when I did Boyz n the Hood with John Singleton, I saw someone my age who was really doing it behind the scenes. I felt like I needed to be doing it on that level. (John) challenged me to start writing. My first two scripts [were bad], but my third was Friday.
3 But unlike John Singleton, you chose to focus on the humor in your South Central Los Angeles upbringing.
Growing up in my neighborhood, the comedy was right there. Friday was our look at the neighborhood: Dope-dealing out of an ice-cream truck, crackheads, drive-by shootings — how bad is that? But it was actually fun at times. That is what the movie was conveying. It was how we saw the neighborhood versus how the news saw the neighborhood.
4 Shifting to music, reflecting on this year’s Grammys, what are your thoughts on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis beating Kendrick Lamar for best rap album?
It’s typical. It’s the Grammys, what do you expect? But for them to pass up true skills for what could be fly-by-night success. … I don’t want to dis anybody, but seriously.
5 Are you upset that N.W.A. wasn’t nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
I’s understandable. We really only had one album together. I’m sure that groups that have been together longer can make a better argument. But this just lets you know how much we need a hip-hop hall of fame of our own.
— Jessice Herndon, The Associated Press