Review: Ice Cube

Hip-hop royalty at Manchester’s AO Arena, 7 December

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Ice Cube, the legendary rapper, actor and Big3 basketball magnate, brought his electrifying energy and West Coast vibe to Manchester’s AO Arena on Thursday night for an evening of pure hip-hop nostalgia. The 54-year-old headliner was accompanied by Cypress Hill and a special appearance by D12, stepping in for scheduled artist The Game, who didn’t perform due to “logistical issues”.

From the moment he stepped onstage to the sufficiently hyped-up crowd, still reeling from hip-hop hits from D12 and Cypress Hill, Ice Cube commanded attention with his unmistakable presence and stage charisma.

Clad all in black, with a giant hand throwing up the Westside “W” on his back, Ice Cube opened with his iconic hit “Natural Born Killaz,” immediately transporting the audience back to the golden era of gangsta rap.

Accompanied by fellow Westside Connection band member WC (pronounced Dub Cee), Ice Cube showcased his lyrical prowess flawlessly, captivating the crowd with his hard-hitting verses and controversial lyrics as he performed hits from his long and varied career, including bangers such as N.W.A’s “Straight Outta Compton”, solo hit “Bop Gun (One Nation)” and crowd pleaser “You Can Do It”.

Ice Cube didn’t hold back, either, treating the audience to an array of surprises throughout the night including the venomous diss-track towards his former N.W.A. band members, “No Vaseline”, introduced with the announcement: “On my first solo album, I did not diss N.W.A, but they dissed the shit outta me, and the problem is, if you diss me, imma diss you back, and I’m gonna give it to you good.”

He then leapt straight into the vicious 1991 track, sparking massive cheers from the crowd.

From start to magnificent finish, Ice Cube’s Manchester concert was an absolute triumph. D12 and Cypress Hill’s performances were good enough to headline the show themselves, but Ice Cube was the icing on an already tasty hip-hop cake.

The evening was a true celebration of the genre, leaving a lasting impression on everyone fortunate enough to witness the rap icons in action. Ice Cube proved once again why he is an undisputed legend in the genre, and this unforgettable night will be etched in the memories of his fans for years to come.

Photo by Liam Maxwell, courtesy of Louder Than War

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