Given the fact that I loved Straight Outta Compton and he was working with The Bomb Squad — the crack team that helped make Public Enemy one of the greatest groups of their time — I kinda expected that I’d love Ice Cube’s debut solo album, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted more that I did.
That said, I did like the follow-up, Death Certificate, and in between the two records, the Kill at Will EP, which featured the amazing “Dead Homiez.”
Fueled by a funky Smokey Robinson sample, “Dead Homiez” took at hard look at the toll being in a state of perpetual war took on a community by personalizing it.
When it’s a tragedy, that’s the only time
That the family’s tight
Lovin’ each other in a caring mood
There’s lots of people and lots of food
They say “Be Strong” and you’re tryin’
But how strong can you be
When you see your Pops cryin’?
Before he gets to this verse, he’s already described his initial reaction to the death — and how he has to force himself to at least try to break the cycle by not immediately going out to get some revenge — as well reminiscing about the time he spent with his friend.
After all that, he concludes:
So that’s why Ice Cube’s dressed up
Because the city is so fuckin’ messed up
And everybody is so phony
Take a little time, to think about your dead homies
By rapping in a straightforward, almost dispassionate mode, Cube is able to get across how resigned he his about all of this, without really moralizing about it. It’s really more reportorial than anything else. Which makes it that much more chilling.
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