With nine studio and a handful of collaboration albums, countless film roles and television appearances, a clothing line, product endorsements, and screenwriting credits, O’Shea Jackson—better known as Ice Cube—has had an extremely successful career spanning more than three decades.
One of the founding members of seminal Los Angeles gangsta rap group N.W.A., Ice Cube is currently working on the long-delayed Everythang’s Corrupt, his first album since 2010’s I Am The West. On Saturday night, the rapper returned to The Rave/Eagles Club to perform at the venue for the first time since 2011 (a show The Rave touts on its website as being a legendary performance in the club’s history).
Despite a lack of air conditioning in the spacious and opulent Eagles Ballroom, the space being nearly packed to capacity, and the body heat raising the temperature about 10 degrees, the racially diverse, all-ages crowd (a few kids younger than 10 were dancing around) never lost its enthusiasm for Ice Cube and his infectious beats and lyrics.
Although 49 years old with three adult children, Ice Cube, wearing black sunglasses, a black baseball cap, and a black short-sleeved button-down shirt, looked like he had barely aged since his N.W.A. days. Despite the club’s sweltering heat, he and a guest rapper stayed cool, bantering with each other and the audience. Overall, the sound was decent, with thumping bass, but Ice Cube’s vocals occasionally got a bit muddled.
“Milwaukee, put your hands in the air like this. I wanna see you get into it cause it’s crazy tonight!” Cube instructed the audience. They happily complied, and what seemed like thousands of hands held up cell phones.
Sweaty fans rapped along and danced to a healthy mix of Ice Cube’s early-mid-’90s material and greatest hits, including “Hello,” “Check Yo Self,” “You Can Do It,” and N.W.A.’s scathing indictment of law enforcement, “Fuck Tha Police.”
“It’s just some Ice Cube shit, fucking with the Milwaukee PD,” he said. Ice Cube then urged his fans to get home from the concert safe.
The rapper has claimed “It Was A Good Day” is his favorite song to perform live—and one of his favorite recordings—and he saved the best for last. Preceded by 1994’s funky “Bop Gun (One Nation),” Ice Cube closed with what is arguably his biggest hit. He kept pointing the mic to the crowd, which shouted out lyrics line by line.
“I love Milwaukee!” Ice Cube exclaimed when the show was winding down. The gigantic crowd reciprocated the love for the iconic rapper.
Milwaukee’s DJ Bizzon and veteran rap group Rusty Pelicans opened for Ice Cube. Despite the heat, the Pelicans kept their energy up on stage, towels draped over their shoulders, performing classics such as “Mo’ Fiya” and “One Moment” during their approximate half-hour set.