Nearly 27 years after leaving N.W.A to pursue a solo career in music — and more recently in films — Ice Cube has signed his first deal with a major label: Interscope Records announced its pact with the rapper Thursday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“It makes sense for a lot of reasons,” Cube told Variety on Thursday. “Interscope has always been on the cutting edge of music, so it’s cool to be associated with a label that’s done so much for hip-hop and music in general. They’re game changers.”
Interscope has a solid history in the genre, with multi-platinum releases from Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and and Cube’s former bandmate in N.W.A, Dr. Dre.
“We are thrilled to announce that Ice Cube has joined the Interscope family,” chairman and CEO of Interscope Geffen A&M Records John Janick said. “He’s obviously one of the legendary figures in hip hop. That’s a massive statement on its own, but he’s so much more than that. Cube has an incredible body of work and as a fan, I’m honored to welcome him to the label.”
The first project under the new deal will be a 25th anniversary edition of his second solo album, “Death Certificate,” which was released in October 1991. The re-release, dropping on June 9, will feature three new songs, “Only One Me,” “Dominate The Weak” and the lead single, “Good Cop, Bad Cop.” The LP debuted at No.1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/ Hip-Hop Albums chart shortly after its initial release.
“It’s cool now to have dough from the ‘big boys’ to get some of these new ideas out to the public,” the rapper said. “New records, new compilations and all these ideas that we can build over at Interscope.”
The rapper’s musical career, which had taken a back seat to his lucrative work as a film producer and actor, has revived in the wake of the 2015 N.W.A biopic “Straight Outta Compton” and the group’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2016.
Cube will continue to helm his independent label Lench Mob Records. According to a press release announcing the deal, Ice Cube has sold more than 10 million albums to date, between 14 solo and group albums.
At the time of its original release, “Death Certificate” was on the receiving end of criticism stemming from the still-percolating “gangsta rap” controversies that plagued N.W.A and ultimately led to Interscope parting ways with its original distributor, Warner Music, in 1995 (only to ink a more lucrative deal with Universal almost immediately). For a time in Oregon, it was illegal for local retailers to promote Ice Cube in any way.
“Sadly, our community is dealing with many of the same issues,” Cube said. “I only hope that young millennials feeling powerless in the ‘hood can channel their own anger and frustration by listening to this record.”