The Top 10 Ice Cube Songs

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

The rapper Ice Cube (born O’Shea Jackson on June 15, 1969) is notorious for having one of the strongest, most powerful voices and deliveries in the history of the genre. With that uppercut style, Cube accentuated his aesthetics with like-minded lyrics.

In other words, he took no prisoners.

Ice Cube debuted on the scene with the California-born rap group N.W.A. in 1988 with the group’s LP, Straight Outta Compton. It’s thanks to Cube and his brethren like Dr. Dre and Eazy-E that the gangsta rap sub-genre took off. Cube was the group’s most popular emcee and wrote lyrics for Dre and Eazy.

After the group dissolved, Cube went solo, releasing his LPs, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted in 1990, Death Certificate in 1991, and The Predator in 1992.

But Ice Cube is not just a rapper. He’s also an acclaimed actor, starring in the popular 1995 comedy film Friday. He also had important roles in movies like John Singleton’s 1991 film Boyz n the Hood. Today, his son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., is also an actor.

Ice Cube’s work has earned him such acclaim that he was inducted, along with N.W.A., into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.

But one might wonder what are Ice Cube’s Top 10 songs of all time. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

1. “It Was A Good Day”

Assuredly, this is Ice Cube’s most famous song. The track tells the story of, well, a good day in the life of Ice Cube, from getting a “triple-double” on the playground basketball courts to eating a good breakfast. The track is featured on his 1992 album, The Predator.

2. “No Vaseline”

From Ice Cube’s 1991 LP, Death Certificate, “No Vaseline” is a diss song that takes aim at his former N.W.A. brethren and their manager Jerry Heller, who Cube thought treated him badly and stole money from him. The song’s lyrics don’t hold back.

3. “You Can Do It”

Released as the second single from the Next Friday soundtrack in 1999, “You Can Do It” is a popular song on classic rap stations. It was even used in a season of the Issa Rae HBO television show, Insecure. Upon its release, the song became Cube’s sixth and final top 40 hit in the U.S., peaking at number 35 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

4. “Friday”

From the soundtrack for the movie of the same name, “Friday” came out in 1995. The soundtrack later became a No. 1 release and gave fans the successful Dr. Dre single, “Keep Their Heads Ringin’.”

5. “Endangered Species (Tales From The Darkside)”

“Endangered Species,” featuring rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy, is featured on Cube’s 1990 debut solo album, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted. It also sampled the N.W.A. hit song “Fuck Tha Police.”

6. “Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It”

The first single from Cube’s studio LP, Raw Footage, “Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It” dropped in early 2008. In it, Cube talks about the exploitation of gangsta rap as a blanket scapegoat for modern society’s problems. He uses irony to get his point across artfully. Later, a remix of the song was released, featuring rappers Nas and Scarface.

7. “Fuck Tha Police”

“Fuck Tha Police” is the one song from N.W.A. on this list. The song, written after an encounter with police, highlights the unfair treatment of Black people by law enforcement. It’s a protest track that goes hard. The track was originally featured on the 1988 album Straight Outta Compton.

8. “Once Upon a Time in the Projects”

Another from AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, “Once Upon a Time in the Projects” tells the story of life as Cube knows it. The song also samples “Shoo-B-Doop and Cop Him” by Betty Davis.

9. “You Know How We Do It”

“You Know How We Do It,” released in 1994, is the second single from Cube’s fourth LP, Lethal Injection. It hit No. 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

10. “Check Yo Self (Remix)”

The third and final single from Cube’s third solo LP, The Predator, “Check Yo Self” was released in 1993. It features the New York City rap group Das EFX. 

Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

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