Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Ice Cube Effect: Lethal Injection

I've always liked the symbolism of this album cover. Cube is saying he got that "lethal dosage" of dope ass West Coast hip hop for your ears, no question.

Release date: December 7, 1993




1. The Shot (Intro)
Dr. Ice Cube is in full effect to bring in this album, however, the "patient", Mr. White, was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He thinks he's in for a routine shot, but the "shot" he receives in anything but routine, lol. And that brings us to.....

2. Really Doe
Produced By Laylaw and Derrick McDowell



Oh man, I don't think a Pointer Sisters sample on a hip hop record ever sounded so damn good. Including "The Nigga Ya Love To Hate", "The Wrong Nigga To Fuck Wit'", and "When Will They Shoot?" from the first three respective albums, this classic marks the fourth straight DOPE ass opener on an Ice Cube album. As was the case when I first heard most Cube songs during this time, I lost my damn mind when I first heard this, lol, and each time the video came on I just had to watch it. This is one of my top 10 favorite Cube songs and it showed that even though Cube's career was taking a different turn in front of our very eyes, he was still capable to making a banger.
*5 out of 5*



3. Ghetto Bird
Produced By QDIII

(Except from the 2003 re-issue/album insert: "Ghetto Bird"..... one of the best of Ice Cube's many street anthems. Anyone who lives in Southern California knows about high speed chases that occur almost daily with immediate news helicopter coverage. It's arguably the best song he never made into a video clip."


I largely agree with the comments above. Throughout this song, you know Cube essentially raises the question of why was there immediate coverage of the unfortunate negative aspects of the ghetto, but are almost nowhere to be seen and/or heard when something positive is taking place, and trust me, this type of news coverage did happen on a seemingly daily basis, frequently in the early 1990s. Plus, long time fans would recognize this instrumental being played during an early turning point in the classic movie "Menace II Society". Dope song.
*5 out of 5*



4. You Know How We Do It
Produced By QDIII



By far, the most laid back song Cube has ever made, all about how things were in Cali at the time, and who better to talk about how it was done than Cube. I also liked the cover of the single, with Cube looking at the bright lights of his big city. Another dope song.
*5 out of 5*


5. Cave Bitch
Produced By Brian G.

Well, Cube was certainly no stranger to controversy, and this song stirred up a bit of it. Simply put, the white woman was nowhere to be found on Cube's radar in any form, and that comes across very clear on this song. He also had a strong disdain for white woman who had a somewhat newfound interest in men of color and those same men who were beginning to flock to that very woman. As a song, it's about what you would expect from Cube considering the topic.
*4 out of 5*


6. Bop Gun (One Nation)
Featuring George Clinton
Produced By Ice Cube and QDIII



Clocking in at a very lengthy 11:17, as far as I'm concerned this was Cube paying homage to George Clinton, an obvious influence on him as well as other West Coast artists. I've always respected it when those who paved the way were shown the proper respect.
*3.5 out of 5*


7. What Can I Do? 
Produced By 88 X Unit

This was another very good song, however, I feel the most notable part of the song was the ending, which finds Cube putting the white man on blast for the crimes he's committed throughout history, more specifically saying he "broke every law in the book to establish America" while at the same time jailing mostly black men for committing those same crimes. If you study your history, Cube made some good points here and I'll leave it at that.
*4 out of 5* 


8. Lil Ass Gee
Produced By Sir Jinx

Cube effectively puts the spotlight on the evolution, if you will, of the kids at that time. Looking back to 1993, the emerging youth were marking their territories in more ways than one, for better and worse. All things considered, it's like day and night compared to the youth of today.
*4 out of 5*


9. Make It Ruff, Make It Smooth
Featuring K-Dee
Produced By QDIII

This "ruff and smooth" joint was more or less a showcase for K-Dee, who previously collaborated with Cube as part of the group C.I.A.
*4 out of 5*


10. Down For Whatever
Produced By Madness 4 Real

This apply titled song was both rugged and smooth, coming oddly enough after "Make It Ruff, Make It Smooth", lol.
*3.5 out of 5*

11. Enemy
Produced By Madness 4 Real

Songs like this, of a socio-political nature, were done before (and better) by Cube when you think back to his first three albums. This is not a bad song at all, but it lacks the power that was there in previous years. 
*3 out of 5*

12. What I Get To Heaven
Produced By Brian G. 

The title and song suggests that changes are in order when Cube makes it to heaven. A good way to close the album.
*4 out of 5*



I'll start by saying that this album was not on the level of his first albums, but it was very good in 93 and it still is in 2014. Cube was still inspired at this point, but listening to it now, you can sense that he was due to take a deserved hiatus (the man had been on the grind, seemingly non stop since 88), and that's exactly what he did after this album. Granted, the sound may have been a little more refined this time around, but that didn't affect the overall quality of the album. It was a good move to update his sound a bit as opposed to doing the same thing, and in comparison, 93 was a much different year than 90-92, respectively.  Not only was he still relevant in hip hop, but his movie career would continue to blossom, and I'll go into that a little more for the next post. Speaking of which, Cube wouldn't release another solo album until 1998's "War & Peace Vol. 1 (The War Disc)". As far as "Lethal Injection" goes, it's a 4 stars and the most underrated album in Cube's discography.

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