Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Ice Cube Effect: War & Peace, Vol. 1 (The War Disc)

After 1993's "Lethal Injection" album, Ice Cube sort of took a hiatus from the hip hop scene, respectively focusing on his acting career. After his first role in 1991's "Boyz N The Hood", along with Ice-T he starred in "Trespass" (1993), as well as "The Glass Shield" (1994), "Higher Learning" and the classic "Friday" in 1995 (the latter of which had a DOPE accompanying soundtrack that I revisited on the blog), followed by "Dangerous Ground" and "Anaconda" in 1997. 1998 would sort of mark a turning point in his acting career (much like "Boyz N The Hood" and "Friday" did), directing his first movie, "The Players Club", also enjoying a small role in said movie ("Three Kings" was released in 1998 too). That year would also see his return to hip hop, releasing an album for the first time in five years, "War & Peace, Vol. 1: The War Disc. Vol. 2 would be released later. It's been a LONG time since I've played both albums, so starting with Vol. 1, it's going to be interesting to see if it has aged well or not. Let's dive right on in!!!


Release date: November 17, 1998




1. Ask About Me
Produced By T-Mix
Additional Vocals By Mr. Short Khop

This was definitely a high powered, apply titled opener. He still had that same aggressive delivery, vintage Cube.
*4 out of 5*


2. Pushin' Weight
Featuring Mr. Short Khop
Produced By N.O. Joe



This song made a little noise at the time, however, I don't think it has aged all that well. It's still a good song though.
*4 out of 5*


3. Dr. Frankenstein
Produced By N.O. Joe and Joe Joe, Co-Produced By Ice Cube
Additional Vocals By Mr. Short Khop

I get what Cube was going for here (still staking his claim as one of the founding fathers of true West Coast hip hop), but I'm not sure why he titled this one "Dr. Frankenstein". Mr. Short Khop was sort of out of place here too, as his vocals adding nothing to the song. (On a sidenote, I liked the "Don Mega" nickname he was beginning to use.)
*3.5 out of 5*


4. Fuck Dying
Featuring Korn
Produced By Ice Cube

There was no doubt then (and now) that Cube is going to live forever in terms of hip hop history. Even with that said, I felt he was trying a little too hard on this ok song.
*3 out of 5*


5. War & Peace
Produced By Ice Cube, Co-Produced By Bud'da

As a title track, this was very good, including Cube notably saying "Westside for life but still down wit' the East".
*3.5 out of 5*


6. Ghetto Vet
Produced By Bud'da
Additional Vocals By Mack 10 and Mr. Short Khop

This dope song also appeared on the "I Got The Hook Up" soundtrack in '98. Cube flexed his storytelling/introspective muscles here too, dedicating this one "to all the ghetto vets and the ones who took one for the hood".
*4 out of 5*


7. Greed
Produced By Ice Cube, Co-Produced By Bud'da

We all know what the subject of greed entails, but this one seemed a bit all over the place. But then again, the theme here was not "greed for the sake of greed", but greed in terms of "making sure you get that paper", if that makes sense, lol.
*3 out of 5*


8. MP
Master P stops by and even though he shows love to Cube, he essentially says NOTHING.


9. Cash Over Ass
Produced By Ice Cube
Additional Vocals By Mack 10

First it was "money over bitches", then "cash over ass" was added, smh+lol. I have nothing more to add here.
*2 out of 5*


10. The Curse of Money
Featuring Mack 10
Produced By N.O. Joe and Joe Joe, Co-Produced By Ice Cube

"When you hot, they think you got more than you got
When you not, muthafuckas callin' you a flop
I just laugh, the curse everybody wanna have
Before you sell your soul, betta do the math!"


Interestingly enough, lol, this comes after "Cash Over Ass". The hook above sums this up directly. Yes, this wasn't the first nor the last time we would hear songs like this, but a different perspective (when done right) usually results in a very good song.
*4 out of 5*


11. The Peckin' Order
Produced By Ice Cube
Additional Vocals By Mack 10

A good song for what it was, nothing more.
*3 out of 5*


12. Limos, Demos & Bimbos
Featuring Mr. Short Khop
Produced By Ice Cube, Co-Produced By Butch

Oh man, this one could've been left on the cutting room floor. Let's move on.
*2 out of 5*


13. Once Upon A Time In The Projects 2
Produced By Ice Cube

The storytelling here was about what you would expect, but compared the superior part 1 in 1990, this one was missing something.
*3 out of 5*


14. If I Was Fuckin' You
Featuring Mr. Short Khop and K-Mac
Produced By Butch 

Look at this title and tell me you don't know what this song is about, lol. This is another one that could've been left on the cutting room floor.
*1 out of 5*


15. X-Bitches
Produced By Ice Cube and N.O. Joe

Well damn, was this a continuation of the previous song, lol? I mean, this one is better, but that's not saying much at all.
*2 out of 5*


16. Extradition
Produced By Ice Cube, Co-Produced By Bud'da

This is another song where I get the theme, but it just seemed like it was all over the place in terms of its story and the telling of it.
*3 out of 5*


17. 3 Strikes You In
Produced By Ice Cube and N.O. Joe

If this song lost about a good minute and 30 seconds, it probably would've been slightly better, but overall, I just couldn't get into it.
*2 out of 5*


18. Penitentiary
Produced By Ice Cube and E-A-Ski

This was decent, but I couldn't help but feel it closed the album in such an anti-climatic way.
*3 out of 5*



First things first, this marked the first Ice Cube album with no "5 out of 5* rated songs in my view. Listening to it again and looking back, I'm not sure if Cube was distracted at this point or if he had run out of things to rap about, or perhaps both, but this was definitely quite the step down from his first four albums. It also didn't help that he hadn't released a solo album in 5 years. Overall, this was an average album, which was not something that would be associated with anything Cube touched, but that's the reality here. 3 stars.

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