Ice Cube's "Death Certificate"

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Ice Cube's "Death Certificate" album has two very distinctive sides to it; a death side followed by a life side. While there are similarities between the two sets of tracks, such as a negative portrayal of white men and police officers and a picture of the oppression of black men in the inner city, they both have significant differences in their portrayals of society during the time of the album, 1991.

The "death" tracks are a reflection of how Ice Cube views his life and his society in South Central Los Angeles when the album was created. He paints a very grim picture. There are eight main tracks that have to do with "death" and they all cover a different aspect of struggles in the inner city. Cube covers the angst expressed towards the cops and America as a whole in the track "The Wrong N*gga Ta F*ck With." He talks about how America is trying to ban hip hop and he is disgusted with "R&B and the Runnin' Man," a direct diss to the Vanilla Ice dance and that genre of mainstream "hip-pop" that was taking over the airwaves. "My Summer Vacation" was about taking drug dealing outside of South Central and to other inner cities such as St. Louis and Seattle.

"Steady Mobbin'" is about women being portrayed as sex objects and "Givin' Up the Nappy Dug Out" is about rich white girls that sleep with black gangsters. The following track, "Look Who's Burnin'" is about STD's and the large amount of people getting tested at the free clinic. "A Bird In the Hand" goes back to drugs and how they have to be sold by blacks in the inner city to pay their bills and provide for their families because white corporate America won't hire them. "Man's Best Friend" is all about gun-totin' and "Alive On Arrival" talks again about mistreatment by cops and takes it one step further by talking about how the medical world mistreats the poor.

These topics–drugs, women and sex, and mistreatment by cops, corporations and the medical community–are vividly portrayed in the first...
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