Thursday, August 29, 2013

396 of 1001 Albums: Ice Cube's AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted

Ice Cube's debut album tells a lot about the life in the projects and it introduces a catchy sound of hip hop that uses rap. While the beats and raps are interesting there is also a ton of sexism in the album that upholds a lot of negative connotations about the genre. To referring to women with a lot of sexist terms and sometimes just downright in a sexually degrading way. As a woman it's just not something that is empowering to listen to as a woman. It has some culture value though and the beats are hard to deny as catchy.

History: The album released with very little promotion, so when it hit charts at #2 it came as a surprise critical and commercial success. The album is met with controversy as it attacks Arsenio Hall for acting "white", and refers to people of black and white heritage as "oreos". It does mix in a lot of social content to showcase how rampant racism still is though with newscast mixed into the music.

Vocals: Ice Cube does have catchy vocals. His raps move with the hip hop well, and in "A Man's World" the song uses a female vocal well to give us that battle of the sexes theme that sounds as if a fun but lyrically savvy war is going on between the two. He also makes the verses clear and gives them the power to resonate with the listener so we feel the emotion he is feeling as he is singing.

Instrumentals: The instrumentals are very catchy, and while it definitely sounds like 90's hip hop I think it always remains timelessly catchy. The engineering on the album keeps the instrumental more prominent and it allows for more diversity in sound than making it sound all like bass or too many drums. You have these crazy brass sounds. It would be fun to move to, and it does match the tone of the lyrics as well.

Recording: As said, it does sound like 90's hip hop. For many that is more enjoyable than the sounds of modern hip hop, which I can see why because there is something lighter and less constricted about the sound. There is a wide range of vocal talent on the album as well, so you have diversity outside of Ice Cube's performance.

Overall, I think the sound is enjoyable though nothing that has caught with something I listen to. I found the lyrics the hardest for me to get past. As a female I just don't see how someone can expect to appeal to my branch of audience with such degrading lyrics. There is a way to be masculine without throwing off on women or treating them as purely sexual entertainment for yourself. The album though does try to bring light to other issues though like racism and poverty in the projects, which adds depth that is needed.

Rating 3 of 10.

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