Ice Cube’s considered one of the most integral figures concerning West Coast hip-hop. As the founder and face of N.W.A, the lyricist (real name O’Shea Jackson), alongside Too $hort and Ice-T, helped put California on the radar of rap music. That said, in 2010, ahead of his I Am The West album release, the highly respected emcee took some jabs at new school LA artists.
Taking to social media to address an unnamed West Coast lyricist who seemingly approached him for help, Cube wrote, “They ain’t on my level. I don’t even remember ever meeting these clowns or even being in the same room with any of ’em. They can’t make a name for themselves, so they need help from the OG’s. I refuse to throw ’em a lifeline. Fuck ’em. It ain’t my job to make nobody famous.”
These strong words, with their subtones of resentment, prompted a response from the iconic Top Dawg Entertainment artist and affiliate of Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, who responded to Jackson’s hostility towards young acts.
Rock considered himself part of the “New West” and took issue with Cube’s words, writing, “I ain’t never had a problem with Cube or none of the OG niggas. But if [he’s referring to] the New West I’m a part of, he talkin [sic] bout all of us [since] he didn’t say a name.”
Following Rock’s unexpected response, Jackson changed the tone and explained his stance in more detail, insisting he hadn’t turned his back on young rappers. Taking to his blog, Cube wrote, “Why don’t I produce up-and-coming rappers like I used to? I got burnt out. Niggas couldn’t take the baton and run wit [sic] it. I was sick of babysitting grown-ass men and walking them through the industry.”
He continued, “I felt like Dr. Frankenstein building uncontrollable monsters. How? If you DON’T make ’em a star, they blame you. If you DO make ’em a star, they leave you. I got sick of that ungrateful shit.”
Angry fans asked Jackson to stop levelling accusations at ambiguous figures and specify who he was talking about. However, he wasn’t keen on the idea, tweeting, “Now, a lot of people want me to name names. Buy the record. In stores July 13th. I ain’t naming names at this time, but I’m adding names. You let me know if you wanna be on the list.”
Since 2010, Ice Cube has opened up to giving new West Coast MCs at least a listen. You can watch Jackson react to new school California acts in the video below.