Ice Cube, Cypress Hill, D12 review – old school hip-hop heroes are still masters of the mic #hiphop

theguardian December 06, 2023 hip-hop 35
Ice Cube, Cypress Hill, D12 review – old school hip-hop heroes are still masters of the mic #hiphop

Hydro, GlasgowThe focus of the 80s and 90s stars’ High Rollers tour is on storytelling rather than flashy staging, but it is a high-intensity show of real fire and focus‘Can he still get on the mic and do what you like?” Ice Cube asks as he kicks off the UK leg of his High Rollers tour in Glasgow. It’s a question that hangs in the air – semi-rhetorical and positioned as a challenge by the veteran rapper, whose CV has exploded in all directions since his early gangsta rap days.Ice Cube is joined on this tour by 90s stoner-rap legends Cypress Hill, with MCs B-Real and Sen Dog presenting a slick yet frenzied set of their best work. Flanked by clouds of customary weed smoke, they pack in a wealth of activity – from DJ Lord’s mixing of KRS-One’s Sound of da Police with Metallica’s Enter Sandman to the lone piper who appears on stage and fills the Hydro with a satisfying rendition of Flower of Scotland. Tracks such as Tequila Sunrise and (Rock) Superstar are given extra weight thanks to the drumming of ex-Beastie Boys percussionist Eric Bobo, while B-Real and Sen Dog’s rhythmic prowess shines on I Wanna Get High, Latin Lingo and the suitably trippy finale of Insane in the Brain. Continue reading...

‘C an he still get on the mic and do what you like?” Ice Cube asks as he kicks off the UK leg of his High Rollers tour in Glasgow. It’s a question that hangs in the air – semi-rhetorical and positioned as a challenge by the veteran rapper, whose CV has exploded in all directions since his early gangsta rap days. Ice Cube is joined on this tour by 90s stoner-rap legends Cypress Hill , with MCs B-Real and Sen Dog presenting a slick yet frenzied set of their best work. Flanked by clouds of customary weed smoke, they pack in a wealth of activity – from DJ Lord’s mixing of KRS-One’s Sound of da Police with Metallica’s Enter Sandman to the lone piper who appears on stage and fills the Hydro with a satisfying rendition of Flower of Scotland. Tracks such as Tequila Sunrise and (Rock) Superstar are given extra weight thanks to the drumming of ex-Beastie Boys percussionist Eric Bobo, while B-Real and Sen Dog’s rhythmic prowess shines on I Wanna Get High, Latin Lingo and the suitably trippy finale of Insane in the Brain. The gig would have been a west coast trifecta had opener the Game made his way to Glasgow as planned. Instead he was replaced by a scaled down version of Detroit collective D12, who are just about to begin a 20th-anniversary tour. Swifty McVay and Kuniva serve as quintessential hype men for an audience not necessarily expecting their presence, tearing through hits such as Rap Game, My Band and Purple Pills to warm the crowd. There’s even a cover of Eminem’s Lose Yourself, accompanied by guitarist Jake Bass, the son of the track’s original co-producer and riff composer. Sen Dog and B-Real of Cypress Hill at the Hydro. Photograph: Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns Ice Cube then makes good on his promise to “keep it gangsta” with the fast and furious introduction of Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It, Natural Born Killaz and Hello. Against a backdrop of photos and clips from his music and film careers, the focus is on lyricism rather than gimmickry or flashy staging. He is joined by his Westside Connection bandmate WC, who adds emphasis to career-spanning favourites such as Check Yo Self, You Know How We Do It and Why We Thugs, as well as No Vaseline – proclaimed the “best diss track ever made in the history of hip-hop” – and NWA’s Straight Outta Compton. Ice Cube’s flow has always been characterised by defiance, whether in response to racial tensions, the brutality of street life or trauma in the Black community. But what sets him apart is his skill at weaving in the mundane and peppering even his most anthemic and provocative stanzas with humour and levity. On stage tonight there is real fire in his storytelling and streams of consciousness, and his focus never dips even for a minute. Ice Cube’s credentials over the past two decades may have included actor, film producer, director, basketball league co-founder and more. But tonight he is back to being one of the west coast’s finest rap exports, and evidently still doing what he likes on the mic. Read more


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