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Ice Cube's second full-length debut album came out in 1991, and "Death Certificate" had him continue success after breaking from N.W.A and making it for himself. Although The Bomb Squad didn't back him as before on his debut, you have Sir Jinx, Boogiemen and himself showing what developments the West Coast Rap world had gone through over the time when N.W.A had dropped their final album and he wished to keep the quality of this end of the US alive.
1. "The Funeral" (Intro)
2. "The Wrong N***a To F**k Wit"
To get things going you have a straight banger of a joint. It has him on some break beats, and sampling a little James Brown as he goes hard on this one and justs lets it all out by taking on absolutely everyone who he has a problem with at this time. One of the key places he attacks is the New jack Swing scene, and it seems to have had a significant effect as it was pretty much unofficially declared that this was over by the end of the year (although others still continued to use it).
3. "My Summer Vacation"
Here you find that he performs a track which you wouldn't really expect to hear based upon the title which he chose to give it, however he makes it work as he talks about how the gangs of LA choose to go on a trip to wreak havoc through all the places which they travel through as they head eastwards. It is a well-thought-out recording from him, and it shows him at his best.
4. "Steady Mobbin'"
This one was one of the key single from the album, and it really stands out as a result. It finds the rapper doing a track which has him speaking upon his lifestyle in the place he's from and just how things are done around these parts. The likes of Parliament and Marvin Gaye are sampled during this, and it gives the thing a significant boost.
5. "Robin Lench" (Lude)
6. "Givin' Up The Nappy Dug Out"
This one has him greet his girl's father and from here he chooses to go on a sort of rage about how exactly well-known she is around the area 9especially by the men). When you consider what is said and the context in which it is put, it is a funny track from him and so shows a lot more than what people tend to expect from such a rapper.
1. "Look Who's Burnin'"
On this particular one find him doing things in an exciting way as he discusses something you would tend to speak privately on. Here he deals with the issue f STIs, and his past experiences of them. He does it in a light-hearten manner, whilst still bearing in mind how serious the subject is, so on the whole it is effective for what it does.
8. "A Bird In The Hand" (Lude)
9. "Man's Best Friend"
What could to a degree be considered a diss towards Dr. Dre, with his then new-affiliation to newcomer Snoop Doggy Dogg, this one has him talk about how in the area where he lives, a dog cannot fit this a description, and in stead it is actually a gat which is the only things which people should have any faith in. It is some typical Gangsta Rap of the time, and one you will enjoy if you like other tunes of this type from the era.
10. "Alive On Arrival"
This one has Cube rapping out a story for the listeners, I felt as though it was done very well as he comes with some thought-provoking lines which sees him getting shot, and attempting to express the type of treatment he gets as he his the subject to prejudice, and it is assumed that he is just another victim to gangbanging. He is able to bring out many things you wouldn't typically think of through hid raps, and it means that you really take notice.
11. "Death" (Lude)
12. "The Birth" (Lude)
13. "I Wanna Kill Sam"
Using (Uncle) Sam as the representative of 'White America', you have him doing a powerful rap which has him rap in a way which you wouldn't have necessarily expected as he takes things politically and flows about how this force is holding him and his people back in life. The rages against this oppression with some funky beats backing him as he doeshis thing.
14. "Horny Lil' Devil"
Here you have him making a fairly significant switch form the type of thing which you got in the track prior to it as you have him turning his attention to rapping about girls, and which ones he is into and other such things. I felt that it was a good little break off the last one, and he does things pretty well, so you can't complain.
15. "Black Korea" (lude0
16. "True To The Game"
This one was a single from the album and I found it to be amongst the best which you get on here as it gets the rapper coming up with some thought-provoking raps to contrast from allthe Gangsta rap which he comes with for the majority of the rest of it. He describes various people he has problems with in life, most of whom you don't often get in raps, so it makes it stand out for what he comes up with here.
17. "Color Blind"
Here you have a tune which you have to take notice of, and although it suffers, due to the fact the production in it really isn't anywhere near the standard of the rest of the cuts which you find here. However due to the fact that it has such an array of big underground West Coast Rap names, you can't ignore how well things are done to cover this slight issue.
18. "Doing Dumb S**t"
Here you have a massive lift in the way that things are doe as you get a joint with uplifting beats which find Ice Cube and the Boogiemen collaborating on the production. It is a freaky little one, and has him talk about his younger yeas, as he describes what he used to get up at those times, and how it has influenced the way he chooses to live his life now. It is a funny one, and really stands out.
Here you have one which finds Ice Cube rapping to show that he really knows who he is as he traces back his own personal history, and talks to the young ones about what it truly means to be black, and how people fitting this description should work together in order to progress, rather than continuing the crab bucket society they are currently in.
20. "No Vaseline"
When it comes to diss tracks, this one is considered to be one of the best ones out there. It is a classic, and has Ice Cube directly take on each member of N.W.A (aside from The D.O.C. who arrived once he left). It is hardcore, and he doesn't go soft on any of them as he explains the situation and what he would do if he was able to get them. This may have even the reason for the fallouts in the N.W.A camp. Fortunately he sorted things out with each individual after this, but it still acts as a big one, and very much of-the-time.
21. "How To Survive In South Central"
Ending this classic, you have one of his biggest joint. It is just what the West Coast rap fans of the time liked to hear and was one of the first of its kind to take on Zapp's funky slaps as the backing to some hardcore music designed specifically for this sort of setting. Ice Cube gives you the rules to live by if you wish to survive in such a place and it ends the album in the most exciting way.
Just as he debut solo work, this album is a classic from Ice Cube and shows just how well he was able of managing himself as he raped without N.W.A and even hit back at them after hearing what they had to say about him on their final release. It is West Coast Gangsta Rap at its best with beats taking on a form pre-G-Funk with the same soures for the samples, but just using different aspects of these classic P-Funk jams. You can't mess with it.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Wrong Nigga To Fuck Wit
3 My Summer Vacation
4 Steady Mobbin'
5 Robin Lench
6 Givin' Up The Nappy Dug Out
7 Look Who's Burnin'
8 Bird In The Hand
9 Man's Best Friend
10 Alive On Arrival
13 I Wanna Kill Sam
14 Horny Lil Devil
15 True To The Game
16 Colour Blind
17 Doing Dumb Shit
19 No Vaseline
20 How To Survive In South Central