The news that Ice Cube would soon be appearing in 21 Jump Street alongside Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum has sparked renewed interest in the man's singular legacy, inspiring me to create this slide show. Before we start, I want to let you know that I'm not here to throw around words like "sellout". That's an easy accusation to make when you're poor, and real talk, I would eat a cat turd for ten dollars. Not that money is its own excuse, because hey, child pornographers make money too, and they don't get to use the "don't hate the playa" defense.
Point is, I'm not here to judge. Everyone does embarrassing things for money from time to time. Heck, I write a blog. I'm just fascinated by the evolution of Ice Cube's public image. To paraphrase my hetero life partner, Burnsy, "20 years ago I would've pissed my pants if Ice Cube made eye contact with me, and now I want to put my ice cream cone on his head."
But first, let's take a moment to remember how scary Ice Cube used to be. If the old Ice Cube is reading this, please don't kill me.
It's music glorifying gun violence, aaaaahhhhh, call Tipper Gore!
Even when NWA was still wearing clocks around their necks and not holding up guns in their pictures, Ice Cube looked like the one most likely to kick your ass.
They're all scowling and driving a classic car and their hairstyles are confusing to me! And what does that guy in the backseat have in his mouth?! EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS IS STRANGE AND FRIGHTENING TO MY CAUCASIAN BRAIN!
Consider this: even while eating a honeydew melon from a buffet table, part of me still thinks Cube's about to beat Ice T's ass for sneaking up behind him and touching his neck parts like that.
Okay, enough scene setting, let's get into it.
Are We Done Yet, 2007. The mother of all embarrassing Ice Cube pictures. Smiling, fishing, wearing a life jacket, riding a kayak, with a proudly exposed wedding ring. He might as well be a pink kitten wearing a diaper.
QUICK NOTE: This gallery is probably going to have more than its share of stills from Are We There Yet?, and you might think that's unfair. After all, I could just as easily make Arnold Schwarzenegger look like a tool by using 50 shots of him in Jingle All the Way. Everyone's allowed a crappy family comedy here and there. (Counterpoint: Charles Bronson never made a crappy family comedy, and he lost his virginity at 5 years old and had taken up smoking by 9). But I think once you've made a sequel to that crappy family film AND turned it into a crappy sitcom for TBS, you've signed away your right not to be defined by it. Also, how the hell do you turn a road comedy into a sitcom? What do you mean are you there yet? You're in a three-sided set and there's four cameras and a studio audience here, what kind of question is that? Okay, I better continue this slideshow before I get too riled up about this.
I had to lump all Are We There Yet and Are We Done Yet (it's about building a house, you see) poster art into one entry or else we'd be here all day. Suffice to say, they're all just about the most embarrassing thing ever. Snap out of it, Macauley Culkin, you're getting clowned by a CGI deer.
I swear on my mother's life that this is not the last picture of Ice Cube with a clown in this slideshow (SEPARATE LOCATIONS! SEPARATE CLOWNS!). And while this is certainly a tremendously unintimidating picture of Ice Cube, it's still less embarrassing than being seen with a Juggalo. Right, Coolio?
Dude, come on, you can't wear the shirt of the movie you're in to the premiere of the same movie. That's like wearing a Dave Matthews Band shirt to a Dave Matthews Band concert. Actually, it's even worse, it's like Dave Matthews wearing a Dave Matthews Band shirt to a Dave Matthews Band concert. While you're at it, might as well tuck that shirt in, throw on a braided belt, and put your cell phone in a little holster on your hip like my Uncle Chip. (All white people have an Uncle Chip, it's science).
[via Exposay, obvi]
I didn't expect Barbershop to make this list, until I saw this picture. Even holding a sharp implement, he's still as cuddly as a golden retriever with a bandanna collar. Anyone have one those? I would hug it.
Too many screencaps would be cheating, but I think it's important to understand what's going on here. Notice how his eyes are closed before the eggs (yes, they're eggs, long story) have hit him? He's ready for it. Which leads me to the subtext of this picture, which is that Ice Cube, who would've shot up your mother's house with an AK in the early 90s, had to stand still while a pimply 19-year-old PA threw eggs at him all day and everyone laughed. Also, he's wearing a Johnny Unitas jersey.
"Quick, get the remote! The TV's stuck on Are We There Yet!"
Okay, so Ice Cube appears in this picture in name only, but Jesus Christ. Snuggies? SNUGGIES??!? I also enjoy the implication that this man has gathered his family together to take a family portrait of them all WEARING MATCHING SNUGGIES. That would make them easily the dorkiest family on the block, unless their neighborhood is entirely Mormon.
Yeah, I know how you feel, kid on the left.
Don't let the lack of red hat fool you, that's Fred Durst. Yes, Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit.
February 17, 2006, Houston, Texas Ice Cube (r) playfully tries to take the MVP trophy from Nick Cannon (l, red jersey) Bow Wow helps Nelly. Nelly won the MVP on the losing team Ice Cube felt he should have won the award.
I'm pretty sure Nick Cannon's not in this picture, not that'd it'd be any more intimidating if he was. The kicker is the rich white folks standing by while it all goes down, laughing and laughing. Screw the trophy, that dude needs to get robbed.
Ridiculing someone for funding a scholarship is probably one of the worst things a person can do, and yet, this is the life that I've chosen. On a more positive note, I bet you never thought a guy who wrote songs about having to sell drugs and shoot people to survive would one day fund a scholarship to a white kid named Josiah.
Ice Cube on top of a roof in his pajamas, trying to kill a raccoon with a mop. Brendan Fraser's lawyers are going to send a cease and desist letter when they see this.
Side note: are those fuzzy-slipper replicas of basketball shoes? WANT.
At least he scowled, kinda.
Ice Cube has a wacky neighbor played by John C. McGinley who taunts him with a basketball without fear of getting shot.
Ice Cube cooked you a delicious bass. I think to fully appreciate the lameness of this, you'd have to have seen the scene in which Ice Cube wrestles a giant fish. Actually I think it's a sturgeon.
Again you have to wonder: was Brendan Fraser busy? Also, I think that's a stunt hand.
I promised you another picture of Ice Cube with a clown. BOOM! CLOWN BOMB'D! ...I have no idea what's going on in this picture. That could be Samuel L. Jackson under there. For an extra few points on the back end, he'll show up as a clown for the premiere and do tricks for the kids.
Also, Ice Cube is wearing the shirt of his own movie again.