Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Ice Cube Effect: Kill At Will

After his incredible debut "Amerikkka's Most Wanted," Cube decided to return almost 2 months later with this EP.
Release date: July 1, 1990

1. Endangered Species (Tales From The Darkside) Remix  
Featuring Chuck D  
Produced By: Sir Jinx

This was a dope remix featuring the same lyrics from the original, which I actually prefer over this version.
*5 out of 5*

2. Jackin For Beats
Produced By: Chilly Chill

"Gimme that beat fool, it's a full time jack move!"

This was, and still is, a very popular song, definitely one of my favorite songs from Cube. Contrary to what some may have believed, Cube wasn't dissing the artists by rapping over their beats, but rather doing it in the spirit of "friendly competition," albeit on the aggressive side, in my view. Oh, and it doesn't end there. Speaking of EPs, N.W.A. released "100 Miles And Runnin" the same year, and on this title track, the first lyrical shots were fired at Cube, courtesy of Dr. Dre ("Started wit' five and yo one couldn't take it/So now there's four cause the 5th couldn't make it/The numbers even, now I'm leavin"). Cube shot back with "And if I jack you and you keep comin'/I'll have you marks 100 miles and runnin!" The battle lines were indeed drawn and I'll go more in depth when I get to "Death Certificate." As for this song, it's awesome, especially the way he flows over each beat and not losing one step.
*5 out of 5*

Recipients of the "jackin" 
D-Nice (They Call Me D-Nice)
EPMD (So Wat Cha Sayin)
Public Enemy (Welcome To The Terrordome)
Digital Underground (The Humpty Dance)
LL Cool J (Big Ole Butt)
X-Clan (Heed The Word of the Brother)

3. Get Off My Dick and Tell Yo Bitch To Come Here (Remix)
Produced By: Sir Jinx

This remix was an extended version of the original. Dopeness all around, reinforcing the idea of "not ridin on anyone else's jock."
*4 out of 5*

4. The Product 
Produced By: Sir Jinx

This banger finds Cube talking about being the product of his environment, from birth to adulthood. Cube tells the story in such a captivating form that it's hard to ignore.
*5 out of 5*

5. Dead Homiez
Produced By: Ice Cube

The seemingly never ending violence in predominately Black neighborhoods across the country at the time, particularly in some of the toughest areas in California, is highlighted here. You can hear the sorrow and frustration in Cube's voice with lines such as "And it's gettin' to my temple/Why is that the only time Black folks get to ride in a limo?" and "I remember we painted our names on the wall for fun/Now it's rest in peace after every one/Except me, but I ain't the one to front/Seems like I'm viewin' a body after every month." Saying this is thought provoking and powerful is an understatement. Not too long after this, you began to hear more songs like this in hip hop. Much credit to Cube for starting this.
*5 out of 5*

6. J.D.'s Gafflin (part 2)

7. I Gotta Say What Up!!!
Produced By: Sir Jinx

In fitting fashion, Cube closes the EP by sending shout outs to fellow MCs from the East and West coasts.

Wow, this is quite possibly the best EP in hip hop history. It's THAT good and I simply can't think of any other EP since that comes close to matching the quality of "Kill At Will." Cube was on such a roll at this point, definitely the hottest MC on the West coast in 1990. This momentum would continue heading into 91. 5 stars. 

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