Ice Cube Says Record Labels Encourage Violent Rap Lyrics by ‘Telling Rappers What to Say’

Ice Cube on The Breakfast Club (Credit: YouTube)

Ice Cube has revealed some record labels encourage violent rap lyrics because the songs sell.

The music star sat down for a July 11 interview with “The Breakfast Club,” and said music executives don’t just ask rappers for negative songs, they sometimes help write them.

“A lot of albums, a lot of dope songs people like, are made by a group of people telling rappers what to say,” Ice Cube said.

The issue about violence in hip-hop music came up when host Charlamagne Tha God asked the former N.W.A. member about his recent comments on Bill Maher’s “Club Random” podcast when Cube said labels are using “social engineering” to promote criminal behavior and they’re making huge profits in the process.

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Cube told “The Breakfast Club” music executives sometimes tell rappers, “That line isn’t good enough, let’s change it to this.”

Ice Cube, 54, called the process “hip hop by committee.”

“It’s been happening forever. Some of the songs that you love, some of the emcees you love, it was [written] by committee, it wasn’t a man with a pen and a mic,” he stated.

The hip-hop star, who grew up in South Los Angeles (then-called South Central), got his big break in the late 1980s when he teamed up with Eazy-E and they formed N.W.A, with Dr. Dre.

Ice Cube said music execs took advantage of N.W.A. as well, but the young members didn’t realize it at the time.

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Still, he said the group’s intention wasn’t to promote violence, they were writing about what they saw growing up in Southern California during the crack cocaine epidemic.

“We were talking about the gangbang mentality, really. Just kind of making sense of what we were seeing, and going through, and living through and hearing about,” he explained. “We were just making music out of it instead of just hearing all of these tragic stories and not having a creative outlet to express ourselves.”

The rapper, born O’Shea Jackson, added that N.W.A. never expected to sell millions of records. “We thought our music was going to be underground,” he said.

Ice Cube also discussed his BIG3 basketball league and the Writers Guild of America strike.

Listen to his comments about violent rap lyrics in the video below at the 21:00 mark.