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AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted

AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted is Ice Cube's debut solo album after his acrimonius split from N.W.A.. It was originally released May 16, 1990.

The title of the album is controversial. It is a spoof of a television show called "America's Most Wanted[?]", wherein real-life crimes are reenacted and viewers are asked to call in if they have seen the alleged perpetrators. The show has taken some criticism for the reenactments, which critics claim perpetuate beliefs in the criminality of African-American men and other minorities. Replacing the "c" with "KKK" equates both the show and the status quo of society in the United States with the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist organization.

AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted is a gangsta rap album, and the songs are tales of a young black man living in the ghetto and dealing with such issues as drug addiction, racism and poverty. To understand the album's statement, it is important to note the environment of Los Angeles in the early 1990s. Riots had wracked the city following the Rodney King verdict, seen by many (including Ice Cube) as a example of the racism inherent in the judicial and law enforcement systems. Also, the O.J. Simpson trial had roused further racial tension in the country, especially Los Angeles. Unlike many other albums from the same period, Cube did not allow the subject matter to infuse the album with inherent negativity. His humor and optimism shine through the dark and depressing words, and he attacks perceived racist social structures, far more than many gangsta rappers were doing at the time and since. Though he describes with horrific and skillful detail the conditions of the ghetto, he does so in order to condemn those that allow such despair to occur, instead of glorifying it.

Cube takes some controversial stands, referring to certain types of African-Americans as "Oreo cookies", implying that they appear to be black but are actually willing participants in the racial hierarchy that keeps the majority of African-Americans living in poverty-stricken and drug-riddled ghettos; specifically, this is aimed at soft-pop-R&B radio stations broadcasting a watered-down sound. Arsenio Hall[?] is specifically mentioned as being such a "sell-out". The titular song on the album directly parodies the television show, "America's Most Wanted", exposing the perceived racism inherent in watching largely African-American men being arrested for entertainment.

"I think back to when I was robbin' my own kind,
the police didn't pay it no mind.
But when I start robbin the white folks?
Now I'm in the pen with the soap on a rope"

A later song ("Get Off My Dick Nigga, and Tell Yo Bitch to Come Here") returns to the same theme at the end, with newscaster Peter Jennings[?] reporting on rioting: "Outside the south central area, few cared about the violence because it didn't affect them." Also of interest is "It's a Man's World", a rap-conversation with Yo-Yo; the two verbally spar and trade sexist barbs back and forth; outside of this song, the album received criticism for alleged sexism, as in "You Can't Fade Me", a humorous track where Cube fantasizes about kicking a former one-night stand in the stomach because she is pregnant with his baby. "Nigga You Love To Hate" is also notable for a chorus chanting "Fuck you, Ice Cube", setting the tone for the album and introducing a pattern of obscenity and profanity.

Produced by the Bomb Squad[?] (Public Enemy) and Da Lench Mob[?], AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted received accolades for innovation in production upon release. However, many critics do not feel that the beats in the album have aged very well. Since this time, West Coast rap has largely taken a different direction from Ice Cube's style, heading more towards the smooth drawl of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg; this album sounds dated as a result.

Before striking out on his own, Ice Cube was a member of N.W.A. (Straight Outta Compton - 1989), the legendary West Coast rap group. Thus, Ice Cube's lyrical style is descended from West Coast rappers like Ice T (Iceberg/Freedom of Speech...Just Watch What You Say[?] - 1989) and Too $hort[?] (Life Is...Too $hort[?]). Musically, Public Enemy (Yo! Bum Rush the Show[?] - 1987)'s spare, hollow beats. Old school rappers like Eric B. & Rakim (Paid in Ful[?] - 1987) and Kurtis Blow (Kurtis Blow[?] - 1980) and 1970s funk (Parliament - Motor Booty Affair[?] - 1978; The Gap Band[?] - The Gap Band II[?]) and soul (Sly & the Family Stone - There's a Riot Goin' On[?] - 1971; Curtis Mayfield - Let's Do It Again[?] - 1975) influenced Ice Cube's sound, partially through his producers, the Bomb Squad[?].

Ice Cube influenced later West Coast rappers, including the stoned drawl of Cypress Hill (Cypress Hill[?] - 1991) and The Pharcyde (Bizarre Ride II to the Pharcyde[?] - 1992), as well as later G Funk rappers like Dr. Dre (The Chronic - 1992) and Snoop Doggy Dogg (Doggystyle - 1993). Though Ice Cube's popularity among mainstream listeners has not continued into the late 1990s, and his sound is distinctively old school to modern ears, many rappers themselves have been influenced by his innovative lyrical techniques. Rappers like Eminem (The Slim Shady LP - 1999), Nas (Illmatic - 1994) and Tupac Shakur (2Pacalypse Now[?] - 1992) similarly use cartoonish and unrealistic images of thug violence to protest the conditions of the poor and working class. While Ice Cube most often described true circumstances in outlandish fashion, such as a fairy tale in "A Gangsta's Fairytale", later rappers took this to the extreme of describing physically impossible acts of violence in an outrageously exaggerated manner.

Table of contents

Track Listing

  1. A Gangsta's Fairytale
  2. Better off Dead (Brian Holt[?]/Ice Cube)
  3. The Nigga Ya Love to Hate (Ice Cube/E. Sadler[?])
  4. Amerikkka's Most Wanted (Ice Cube/Sadler/Keith Shocklee[?])
  5. What They Hittin' Foe (Average White Band/Ice Cube)
  6. You Can't Fade Me/JD's Gaffilin' (Ice Cube/Sadler)
  7. Once upon a Time in the Projects (Ice Cube/Sir Jinx[?])
  8. Turn off the Radio (D./Ice Cube/Sadler/Betty Shabazz[?])
  9. Endangered Species (Tales from the... (Chuck D.[?]/Ice Cube/Sadler/Sir Jinx)
  10. A Gangsta's Fairytale (Ice Cube/Sadler)
  11. I'm Only Out for One Thang (Flavor Flav[?]/Ice Cube/Sir Jinx/Stevie Wonder)
  12. Get off My Dick and Tell Yo Bitch to Come... (Ice Cube/Sadler)
  13. The Drive By (Shocklee/Sir Jinx)
  14. Rollin' Wit the Lench Mob (Ice Cube/Sadler)
  15. Who's the Mack? (Ice Cube/JBs[?])
  16. It's a Man's World (Ice Cube/Sir Jinx/Yo Yo[?])
  17. The Bomb (Ice Cube/Sir Jinx)

Personnel

  1. The Bomb Squad[?] - Record Producer[?]
  2. Mario Castellanos - Photography
  3. Chris Champion[?] - Assistant Engineer
  4. Chuck D.[?] - Performer
  5. Da Lench Mob[?] - Vocals (bckgr), Producer
  6. (Ex) Cat Heads[?] - Vocals (bckgr)
  7. Flavor Flav[?] - Vocals, Performer
  8. Ricky Harris[?] - Vocals (bckgr)
  9. Al Hayes[?] - Bass Guitar[?], Guitar
  10. Vincent Henry[?] - Flute, Saxophone
  11. Brian Holt[?] - Vocals
  12. Kevin Hosmann - Art Direction
  13. Ice Cube - Vocals, Producer
  14. J. Dee[?] - Vocals (bckgr)
  15. Tim Rollins[?] - Piano
  16. E. Sadler[?] - Producer
  17. Nick Sansano[?] - Engineer
  18. Shannon - Vocals (bckgr)
  19. Christopher Shaw - Engineer
  20. Keith Shocklee[?] - Scratching
  21. Sir Jinx[?] - Vocals (bckgr), Producer
  22. Howie Weinberg[?] - Mastering
  23. Dan Wood - Vocals (bckgr), Engineer
  24. Yo-Yo - Vocals, Performer

Chart positions Billboard Music Charts (North America) - album

 1990	The Billboard 200	                No. 19
 1990	Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums	                No. 6
Billboard (North America) singles
 1990	Amerikkka s Most Wanted	     Hot Rap Singles	             No. 1

External Links

  • for lyrics (http://www.leoslyrics.com/albums/1520/)



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