By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
“We’re trying to create a worldwide Westside,” declares the snarling gent who calls himself Gangsta, as big ol’ dudes whisper into his ear and hand him incoming cell-phone calls. Meanwhile, the Killa, devouring his room-service grub, gives off menacing looks, and the Dope Dealer puffs away on fat Cuban cigars. We’re in the penthouse of the W Hotel, but this isn’t a mob meeting; the organized family is Ice Cube, WC and Mack 10, collectively known as Westside Connection.
Seven years after 1996’s double-platinum Bow Down, the Dub-S-C are back to re-establish the West Coast as the capital of hardcore gangsta rap with their new Terrorist Threats.
“The gangsta rap that we put is a threat,” says former N.W.A member Ice Cube. “We delivering a threat.” Just check out the opening cut, “Call 9-1-1,” as WC lays it down: “The industry most hated/Nigga get at us, we’re ready/Dub, Mack and Cube, like Saddam, Bin Laden and O.J. in a Chevy/Back again, mama, there go that man again/Grab the gun, them niggas own one/Call 9-1-1.” Dial it up, ’cause from the first to the 14th cut, this album will strike fear.
“Bow Downhad so much venom on it. It was really directed at [New York detractors]. It was a laser-guided missile that hit its target and devastated its target,” says Ice Cube. “Terrorist Threats is like a cluster bomb. It’s not really directed at one thing, it’s directed at a lot of different things.”
First bomb-boom: Samuel L. Jackson and Jesse Jackson. On “Lights Out,” featuring a catchy hook by Knoc’Turn ’Al, Ice Cube chin-checks: “So you can tell Samuel L. I’m-a keep acting/You can even tell that muthafucka Jesse Jackson/Pay your child support/Keep your payments up/Put a rubber on/And don’t fuck with us.” “Samuel made some comments,” says Ice Cube, “that rappers shouldn’t act, and Jesse dissed my movie Barbershopin the paper, and so I didn’t want to diss him in his arena. I brought it to my arena, wax.”
Second bomb-boom: “So Many Rappers in Love,” where Mack 10 spits: “If it ain’t rough it ain’t me/And I refuse to turn R-A-P into R&B.” He amplifies, “You don’t know the difference when a song comes out on the radio, if it’s an R&B song with a rap on there, or a rap with an R&B singer on there.”
Third bomb-boom: 50 Cent–like rappers who get radio play because they glorify being shot. On “Superstar (Double Murder = Double Platinum),” WC raps: “Bullet holes and record sales go together/Like cops and radar/Ask your A&R.” “We’re just throwin’ it out there,” state the terrorist trio, overlapping one another. “We figure we throw a rock in a pack of dogs, the one that hollers is the one that got hit. But nobody wants beef with us. We couldn’t buy beef if we wanted to.”
Two groups Westside Connection don’t have beef with are the Bloods and the Crips. On Terrorist Threats’ bass-bumping, organ-driven lead single, “Gangsta Nation” (featuring Nate Dogg and produced by Fredwreck), Mack 10 flares: “The whole world is influenced by the B and the C/Now tell the truth rappers you don’t ball like me/’Cause I’m really from a gang and y’all industry.” As Ice Cube puts it: “They love us because we represent both sides. Showing Mack, Dub and me working together, knowing that we all come from different sides of the track, it’s a big-ass example.”
Another group the Connection connects with is Mexicans. On “Lights Out,” WC claims, “We chop dollars with those in sombreros.” “We do anything we can,” says Ice Cube, “to promote black and brown unity. We the same people, most of the time living under the same conditions. There’s a lot of division out there. It’s a common enemy. We all need to unify to overcome poverty and life in the ghetto. Why make a bad situation worse, when we can work together and come up?”
Coming up and unifying the West Coast is a big task even for the Dub-S-C. “When you come from the West Coast, it’s an uphill battle in this hip-hop game, I don’t care how big you are,” says Ice Cube. “But we represent the Westside, the West Coast, to the fullest. It ain’t no mistaking it, we look it, talk it, dress it, represent it. It’s no secret, we came back to represent the Dub.”
WESTSIDE CONNECTION| Terrorist Threats (Priority)