Ice Cube’s Storytelling Inspirations On Eazy E ‘Boyz N The Hood’

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Gansta rap pioneer Ice Cube stopped by the Uproxx office in Los Angeles recently to chat with Talib Kweli and Jasmin Leigh for the latest episode of People’s Party With Talib Kweli. The interview covers a lot of ground for the West Coast hip-hop icon, from his Big 3 basketball league to his impact on the culture at large.

One topic of discussion was Cube’s stint as the writer for much of NWA’s early material, including Eazy-E‘s signature song, “Boyz N The Hood.” Cube says he initially wrote the cinematic rhymes for a group from New York, but that they didn’t understand the song at all. The group, called Homeboys Only, was flabbergasted by the lyrics because, as Cube says, “The lyrics was foreign to them. ‘You talking another language, man.’ And I was. It was the sh*t we talk about out here. They didn’t understand what I was talking about so they rejected it and then Dre convinced Eazy to do it.”

Cube also reveals the storytelling raps that inspired his own rhymes for “Boyz N The Hood.” “It was in the nature of [Ice T’s] ‘6 in the Mornin’,’ [Schoolly D’s] ‘P.S.K. (What Does It Mean?),’ so it was in that vein of telling a story. We was all fans of Slick Rick and fans of KRS[-One]… So those was my favorite cats at the time and so I wanted to make a rhyme that talked about what I knew about: Everything going on in the neighborhood.”

Stay tuned for the full episode, coming Monday, February 3.

People’s Party is a weekly interview show hosted by Talib Kweli with big-name guests exploring hip-hop, culture, and politics. Subscribe via Apple, Spotify, or YouTube.

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