Whatever happened to gansta rapper Ice Cube? One thing is certain — he’s still got game.
O’Shea Jackson Sr., 49, better known as Ice Cube, is a hip-hop icon and social commentator, a writer and an actor/film producer. He’s quite the hip entrepreneur, too, and his latest endeavor is founder of the Big3 basketball league, which pits 3-on-3 squads in professional competition when the NBA is not in play. In rap, he broke in with the C.I.A. in the mid 1980s and then hopped to the N.W.A. with Dr. Dre and Easy E before embarking on a successful solo career.
On Saturday, backed by fellow rapper Everlast and turntable genie Mix Master Mike of Beastie Boys fame, Ice Cube will entertain at the outdoors Amplified Summer Music Series at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe.
Tickets range from $40 for general admission pit, to $45, $60 and $80 for seats, to $299 for the VIP area (18 and older) with a private bar, restrooms, front-of-stage access, light hors d’oeuvres and even a hookah vape lounge. The concert starts at 6 p.m. All-ages, but minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The Amplified Summer series also includes Papa Roach on Saturday, Aug. 11. The Expendables will appear indoors at Hard Rock’s Vinyl Showroom on Saturday, Aug. 18.
Ice Cube’s Big3 basketball league, featuring mostly retired NBA players, has eight teams in the midst of an eight-week season, to be followed by playoffs and a championship game. He also sports a clothing line, Solo by Cube, which includes hoodies with built-in headphones in the hood strings.
As a solo artist, Ice Cube has released nine studio albums since 1990, the last being “I Am the West” in 2010. A new album, “Everthang’s Corrupt,” was originally due out in 2014 and now is scheduled for release this year. The Los Angeles native also lists 2013’s “Icon” compilation as a milestone.
On his new LP, Ice Cube examines how honesty, love and respect in the United States have been replaced by a meaningless pursuit of material goods.
“Everybody’s trying to come up with more than they really need and it’s driving people crazy,” he said in an online bio of his inspiration for the song “One For The Money.”
“If they can’t attain it, then they look for escape in another way, whether it’s drinking, drugs, dancing, having sex, whatever. Everybody’s trying to be somebody, which is cool. There’s nothing wrong with that.
“But you are somebody. You’re somebody before you’re trying to be somebody. I know a lot of famous dudes who aren’t good people. I know a lot of people that aren’t famous that are cool people, who set a good example and do the right thing.”
His supporting artist in Tahoe, Everlast, also knows “What It’s Like.” He’s commonly known for his solo song by that title and as frontman for the rap group House of Pain. Born Erik Francis Schrody, Everlast, 48, earned a Grammy Award with Carlos Santana in 2000 for “Put Your Lights On.”
You know the song: Hey now/ All you sinners/ Put your lights on/ … Hey now/ All you children/ Leave your lights on/ You better leave your lights on/ ‘Cause there’s a monster/ Living under my bed …
No monsters are expected in Tahoe this weekend, but they’ll leave the lights onstage nonetheless.
— Randy Hashagen