Friday, November 14, 2014

The Ice Cube Effect: Laugh Now, Cry Later

This would mark Cube's first album in six years since 2000's "War & Peace, Vol. 2, The Peace Disc," his overall seventh.

Release date: June 9, 2006

1. Definition Of A West Coast G (Insert)
This BRIEF intro takes us right into....

2. Why We Thugs
Produced By Scott Storch

"They give us guns and drugs/Then wonder why in the fuck we thugs"

The above first two lines in the hook sums up this song in a nutshell. Over the nicely laid claps by Mr. Storch, Cube covers familiar territory on this one. Even though it's a very good, apply titled song, it would've been much better with the aggression he displayed back in the early 90s.
*4 out of 5*

3. Smoke Some Weed
Produced By Bud'da

This one was decent, but nothing special in my view. The title would suggest something for the smokers, but I didn't get that vibe here, oddly enough being that I'm not a smoker, lol.
*3 out of 5*

4. Dimes & Nicks (A call from Mike Epps)
A hilarious skit. What else would you get from Mike Epps, lol.

5. Child Support
Produced By Teak Teak Tha Beatsmith and Dee Underdue

I really like this one. Don't let the title fool you one bit. This is NOT a song which finds Cube talking about a certain female coming after him for showing no support to his kid(s), but he comes with a interesting perspective, referring to the then newcomers in hip hop who were unceremoniously trying to push veterans, like Cube, to the side. Um, you gets no love from Cube for obvious reasons, lol. Dope song.
*4 out of 5* 

6. 2 Decades Ago (Insert)

7. Doin' What It Pose 2Do
Produced By Emile

This is not a bad song, but lyrically it's nothing we haven't heard before and done better by Cube I might add.
*3 out of 5*

8. Laugh Now, Cry Later
Produced By Sean C

Dope title track here, nothing more to it.

9. Stop Snitchin'
Produced By Swizz Beatz

Looking at this title, you just already know what is on Cube's mind throughout. Lyrically it was dope, but Swizz's beat brings it down a few notches.
*3 out of 5*

10. Go to Church
Featuring Snoop Dogg and Lil Jon
Produced By Lil Jon

This joint right here knocks thanks to the West Coast chemistry between Cube and Snoop and a bangin' beat provided by Lil Jon. Speaking of Lil Jon, I've always said that he was very good behind the boards, I just never cared for him when he got on the mic.
*4 out of 5*

11. The Nigga Trap
Produced By DJ Green Lantern

"The ghetto is a nigga trap, take the cheese
Soon as you do it here come the police
Invented and designed for us to fail
Where you gon end up, dead or in jail"

Here we have another case where the hook sums up a very good song. Even after all these years, and this was still the case in 2006, if you didn't think the Black man still had a target on his back, as well as the ghetto lifestyle being somewhat of a detriment to the community, this was Cube's lyrical wake up call.
*4 out of 5*

12. A History of Violence (skit)

13. Growin' Up
Produced By Laylaw & D-Maq

Excellent song, arguably the best on the album. Cube not only talks about his days with N.W.A., he also gives thanks to the late Eazy-E, as well as acknowledging the fans and making it clear that he's here to stay.
*5 out of 5*

14. Click, Clack, Get Back!
Produced By Emile

This is what I would call "lyrical gunplay", Cube style.
*3 out of 5*

15. The Game Lord
Produced By Hallway Productionz

"Pray to the Game Lord", depending on what you got going on, lol. I didn't consider this blasphemous at all, not anything to be taken too seriously.
*3 out of 5*

16. Chrome and Paint
Featuring WC
Produced By Bud'da

2/3 of the Westside Connection come through with this tight song. Mack 10 may not have been on this one, but the chemistry between Cube and WC was still present.
*4 out of 5*

17. Steal the Show
Produced By Scott Storch

Well, this was one of a few low points on the album. Storch's beat was decent, but not enough to save this, another cliched song aimed at the ladies (and the clubs).
*2 out of 5*

18. You Gotta Lotta That
Featuring Snoop Dogg
Produced By Lil Jon

You can take the same things I said about the previous song and apply them to this one. Snoop was no stranger to songs like this at the time, but considering the prior material on this album, it's so out of place and forgettable.
*2 out of 5*

19. Spittin' Pollaseeds
Featuring WC and Kokane
Produced By Laylaw and D-Maq

I'm not sure what all involved were going for here. I mean, the song is ok for what it's supposed to be (whatever that was, lol), nothing more.
*2.5 out of 5*

20. Holla @ Cha' Boy
Produced By Lil Jon

This song ends an otherwise very good album on a rather anti-climatic note.
*3 out of 5*

Although this album considerably slows down towards the end, it was a very good return to hip hop by Cube after being away for some time. You can tell he was starting to mellow down, if you will, but he was still able to deliver the goods in a genre that was changing around him and other hip hop veterans. 4 stars for "Laugh Now, Cry Later," his best work since 1993's "Lethal Injection."

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