(Three and half stars)
If being a gangsta is a young man’s game, then what’s an OG like Ice Cube to do? Stay angry, apparently. Throughout his eighth solo album, Cube augments his blustery flow with vendettas against politicians and corporations. One minute he’s dreaming about becoming president on ”˜Take Me Away,’ the next he’s shouting “Fuck Viacom!” on the excellent, Public Enemy-indebted ”˜It Takes a Nation.’ Eschewing big-name producers in favour of the uncluttered, cinematic funk of his NWA days, Cube spits some of his sharpest rhymes in years. “I been ballin’ since the word ”˜ballin’Â ’ been played out,” he raps on the Jeezy-aided ”˜I Got My Locs On,’ summing up this stage of his career: He may be the old guy now, but he still raps rings around the younger MC. Raw Footage runs about four songs too long and contains one too many lines about how Cube needs to feed his family, which all sounds a little silly coming from a guy who could retire just on the DVD sales of Barbershop. But Raw Footage proves that even though he’s middle-aged, he’s still hungry.