The term “double consciousness” was coined by W.E.B. DuBois to describe the internal challenge with one’s identity that blacks have to reconcile to fit into a society. Usually, this being raised in African American culture in a European/Western education and corporate setting where one usually conflicts with the other. However, I am using it as a play on words to describe the dichotomy of O’Shea Jackson aka Ice Cube’s career.
A week or two ago, while being fed up with watching Nick Jr I started flipping through channels. Lottery Ticket was on BET so I thought I would watch it because there was nothing else on. My nephew saw Ice Cube in character as an old man and said “That’s the guy from Are We There Yet?” I looked at him and said “Yeah. Ice Cube.” Internally, the hip-hop head/slowly turning into an old man lost it and said “Shake em up, shake em up, shake em up, shake em!”. Immediately I thought of this clip from the Boondocks:
When I saw this clip, I laughed. I laughed out loud. I found it to be the funniest part of the episode because that was how I felt about Snoop [Doggy] Dogg. I had that same dream about him. I was eight years old. I dreamed that Snoop was performing at an awards show. He had on his blue plaid a flannel shirt and Shirley Temple curls, and him and the Dogg Pound were onstage riding around on lowrider bikes rapping “Gin n Juice” with a dog house behind them. My mother didn’t approve and when they were backstage kicked the bikes over. Snoop saw this, got mad, and shot my mom! Anywho, I’m assuming Gangstalicious is about three years older than me because he was when Ice Cube was “That nigga you love to hate,” I was like six. Ice Cube was so gangsta though. I used to try to play “You Know How We Do It” on my recorder in third or fourth grade.
Ice Cube’s transition from a good day being him not having to use his AK to running barbershops in Chicago makes perfect sense. Being more family friendly in content was incredibly lucrative and has opened up so many doors. Yes, they’re mostly buddy movies with Ice Cube playing himself, getting the girl, and a comedian sidekick but it works and we’re entertained. To older hip hop heads, we don’t hold it against him because as often as he flashes that grin in a movie he still grimaces like he’s kicking it with Trey or on the cover of Amerikkka’s Most Wanted even if we only see it mostly in Coors Light commercials. His music is still gangsta rap; its just evolved as he’s gotten older and has more of a consciousness to it.
Somehow it works. My nephew and I can both enjoy Cube in our own ways. He can find him funny in movies and I can listen to “Steady Mobbin’.” I wouldn’t want to ruin what my nephew thinks of Ice Cube by mentioning his rap career. I may mention that he’s a rapper first or something, but that’s about it. I think his career is very much like parenting. As an adult, we know that life can be pretty messed up and people suck. We know that eventually, our children will find that out, so we want them to be kids as long as possible. Believe in Santa Claus, believe that people have good intentions, think that you can be anything you want to be. Eventually they will find out on their own or ask a bunch of questions and you’re kinda forced to burst that bubble.
I’m close to thirty, and while there are days that I wish my life was carefree as my nephew’s, I’d rather be an adult. While being an adult is tiring and stressful, the knowledge makes up for being paid in good grades. I’ve spoken to both of my grandmothers and asked them would they rather be young and inexperienced or be old and have knowledge. They both answered they’d rather be slower and knowledgeable than young and dumb. It is very comparable to while Are We There Yet? is cool, Friday is much better.
No matter what, to me Ice Cube will always be Jheri-Curled… Yeah-Yeeaigh!!