Rapper Ice Cube’s career was launched with him rapping “F—k the Police” alongside his often scrutinized N.W.A. group members in the late ‘080s. From there, the Crenshaw emcee became known for his no-holds-barred lyrics and his signature scowl that made him appear to be nothing remotely close to mainstream America’s friend.
Couple his tough demeanor and gangsta rap lyrics with roles in films like “Boyz N Da Hood” and “Trespass” and it’s no wonder Cube’s transition to being the comedic family guy took audiences by surprise. In fact, Cube, real name O’Shea Jackson, credits his ability to make people laugh as the reason he was able to pivot into roles attracting a larger fan base, and got him out of the pitfall of being typecast.
“I think with doing the comedy movies, making people laugh from ‘Friday’ to ‘Barber Shop’ to ‘All About the Benjamins’ you know when you make people laugh they can’t hate on you,” he told HipHopDX. “They got a special part in they heart for you ‘cause you just made them laugh, they enjoyed something with you, something you did, or they enjoy it over and over and over again.”
But in 2005, the “You Can Do It” rapper released his movie “Are We There Yet,” adding a new generation to his already large fan base: kids. Starring alongside Nia Long, Cube portrayed a playboy bachelor hoping to win over a newly divorced woman’s heart all the while proving he can also wrangle her two kids together for a whirlwind holiday trip.
“That’s really where it started, and then you know doing a movie for my fans, doing a movie for they kids, a movie like ‘Are We There Yet?’ people was like, well you know, ‘What kind of move is that for Cube?’ But at the end of the day my fans got little kids that watch that movie over and over again and now they know who Ice Cube is,” he said. The rapper has four kids of his own and understands firsthand how childrens’ connection to a genuinely good and funny movie can equate to repeat customers.
“You know what’s good about my movies is you can watch them over and over and over again, they don’t never really get old. It’s like they already know, so it’s good to be able to grab newer generations every time because the movie might get old but the kids are always kids and they always want to see a good movie. That’s to me when it started to turn around.”