Ice Cube beats a dead horse

Bow Down (Priority)
Westside Connection

By Kory Wilcoxson

Ice Cube just won't let gangsta rap die. Despite that music's steady decline in popularity, Cube continues to squeeze his gangsta persona for all it is worth, which isn't much these days.

He's teamed with W.C. and Mack 10 to form Westside Connection, and the results are predictable. Luckily for Cube, he's an excellent rapper, so predictability does not equate with low quality. The title track is a solid statement of machismo from the trio, and anytime Cube grabs the mike, pay attention.

But there's too much about Westside Connection not to like. The typical gangsta stylings are represented in full force, and they are just not cool anymore. Also, the group unleashes a vicious diatribe against several other rap groups, most notably Cypress Hill and A Tribe Called Quest. Whether provoked or not, the attacks are petty and not much fun to listen to. Can't we all just get along, Cube?

Although "Bow Down" does have some high points, I have to wonder what Ice Cube is hoping to accomplish. At a time when rap is in a down cycle and groups like the Fugees and Bone Thugs N Harmony are what's hot, Westside Connection sticks out as a has-been group with a has-been message.