Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Ice Cube Effect: War & Peace, Vol. 2 (The Peace Disc)

After 1998's underwhelming "War & Peace, Vol. 1 (The War Disc)," Ice Cube returned in the year 2000 with the expected follow up, "War & Peace, Vol. 2 (The Peace Disc)." With hindsight being 20/20, it was smart move for there to be a break between these two albums, because it wouldn't have been a good move to release both of them in the same year.

Release date: March 21, 2000

1. Hello
Featuring Dr. Dre and MC Ren
Produced By Dr. Dre, Co-Produced By Mel Man

"I started this gangsta shit
And this the muthafuckin' thanks I get?!"

We start things off with the long awaited return of N.W.A., even if it was 3/5 of the original crew. This song was dope at the time, but looking back, not only should it have been a bigger deal than what it was, but it came out a few years too late. This was also at a time when it had been rumored that an N.W.A. reunion was in the works, with Snoop Dogg assuming Eazy-E's role, but with Eazy no longer with us, Yella seemingly not being involved, and the overall magic that was there, circa 1988-1991, not being present, it probably looked and sounded good on paper, but again it was too late at this point.
*4 out of 5*

2. Pimp Homeo (Insert)

3. You Ain't Gotta Lie (Ta Kick It)
Featuring Chris Rock
Produced By Carl "Chucky" Thompson, Rich Nice, and Loren Hill

Good song here, touching a topic that had been covered before in hip hop. Lyrically Cube was on point on this one, plus Chris Rock's cameo didn't help or hurt the song. And this was better than Silkk Tha Shocker's version in '98, not surprisingly.
*3.5 out of 5*

3. The Gutter Shit
Featuring Jayo Felony, Gangsta, and Squeak Ru
Produced By Ice Cube and T-Bone

Well this was certainly "gutter" in a West Coast form (even with the odd name of Squeak Ru). Cube brought his usual, and while I always thought he was rather hit or miss throughout his career, I was never a big Jayo Felony fan.
*3.5 out of 5*

4. Supreme Hustle
Produced By Carl "Chucky" Thompson, Rich Nice, and Loren Hill

Not a bad song, but again, it's nothing we haven't heard before at this point.
*3 out of 5*

5. Mental Warfare (Insert)

6. 24 Mo' Hours
Produced By Battlecat

The underrated Battlecat comes through with a nice beat (true West Coast vibe) for a seemingly "time sensitive" Cube to flex of his storytelling muscles.
*4 out of 5*

7. Until We Rich
Featuring Krayzie Bone
Produced By Carl "Chucky" Thompson, Rich Nice, Loren Hill, and Kevin Venay

Cube and Krayzie Bone may seem like a "clash of rap styles" to some, but they worked well here, with Krayzie on the hook and Cube schooling the masses on the "art," if you will, of becoming and staying rich.
*4 out of 5*

8. You Can Do It
Featuring Mack 10 and Ms. Joi
Produced By One Eye

Whenever I heard this song, the first thing that came to mind was the "Next Friday" movie, which this song was the lead single for. It received as much noise as "Pushin' Weight" if not more, another song that wouldn't sound out of place in any club.
*4 out of 5*

9. Mackin' And Drivin' (Insert)

10. Got To Be Insanity
Produced By Sean "Puffy" Combs, Co-Produced By Mario Winans

Wow, what a difference, whereas the previous song was a good fit for the clubs (and radio), this, um, was not. I was a Bad Boy fan then and now, but this did not work well with the West Coast vibes of Cube, plus the title doesn't match the theme of the song in my view.
*2 out of 5*

11. Roll All Day
Produced By One Eye

I'm sorry, but I did not care for this one at all, and what made it a little bad was this was supposed to be something for the ladies, clearly the worst song on either disc. "I got a full tank of Unleaded." Smh+lol, come on Cube.
*1 out of 5*

12. Can You Bounce?
Produced By Richard "Young Lord" Frierson

Again, if this song was aiming for radio/video play or whatever, it simply did not work. The beat was decent, but it's the lyrics and hook that left a lot to be desired, which is sad to say when talking about Cube. "Who that girl showin' tits like she got milk?" Smh+facepalm.
*2 out of 5*

13. Dinner With The CEO (Insert)

14. Record Company Pimpin'
Produced By Bud'da

Cube talks about the evils of the music business (behind the scenes), with the familiar notion that "the record company is the pimp and the artist is the ho." How far we've come along since then is up for debate, but this is Cube's way of ending the "pimpin" once and for all.
*3 out of 5*

15. Waitin' Ta Hate
Produced By One Eye and DJ Joe Rodriguez

Using EPMD's classic "So Wat Cha Sayin" instrumental, this was more or less a freestyle, covering very familiar ground.
*2.5 out of 5*

16. Nigga Of The Century
Produced By Charly "Shuga Bear" Charles

This was a decent, apply titled closer, however, the beat was somewhat forgettable and it distracts from what could've been a much better song.
*3 out of 5*

Volume 2 was only slightly better than Volume 1, but honestly that's not saying much at all. It started off well enough, but once we got to song 10, the album's quality took a little nosedive. This is another one of those albums that would've been much better as a single disc, no doubt. After this, while Cube would make additional guest appearances, as well as another album with the Westside Connection (2003's "Terrorists Threats") and continuous movie and TV show appearances, he would not release another album until 2006's "Laugh Now, Cry Later," which will be covered in the next session of "The Ice Cube Effect." 3 stars for Volume 2, and I'll go with a somewhat generous 3.5 star rating overall for the "War & Peace" set.

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