G's often age awkwardly. The cop killer became a TV lawman. The guy who cribbed his name from an animated dog is becoming increasingly cartoonish. And Ice Cube hung up his AK and poison pen to become a loveably put-upon goof in movies whose tag lines end with, "What could possibly go wrong?" There have been numerous entrepreneurial stops and starts, as well, from Aftermath Cognac to Wu Wallabies, both of which we're sorry to say are actual products.
But what's this? Cube wants to tell you something about the Eames. "They was doing mash-ups before mash-ups even existed," he says in a new promo clip for the Getty Institute's Pacific Standard Time series. As he wanders the grounds of one the architectural legends' beloved L.A. creations with a mean 'fro and just the slightest list to his step, he points out "off-the-shelf factory windows" and "prefabricated walls." It's a good look, and Cube at 42 bridges everyman swag to evident expertise with grace and aplomb.
It's not without precedent. As he reveals in the video, before Cube linked up with N.W.A., he earned a certificate in architectural drafting from an Arizona trade school. (Though, as he told New York Times, "You don't want to live in nothing I draw. [That was] '88. I don't think I picked up a T-square since.")
Moreover, for all of the music's bluster and patent conceit, it's no secret that rap pays proud tribute to past greats. Indeed, gangstas make the world go 'round, but it makes sense that a statesman like Cube would show up for others who kept the earth spinning toward today -- for creative revolutions that happened before he got here.
The best part? While Pharrell wastes his time designing Eames-inspired chairs inexplicably propped up by plastic molded to look like the legs of strippers, Cube is reclining in the real thing.
There he is on the PST poster, recreating a classic Eames ad, his lean just a little deeper than that of the man in the original, his head cocked not with interest but self-assuredness, and his pipe filled with ... well, now we're speculating.
The point is, Cube has transitioned into a new role, his best in a decade: the Gangsta Sophisticate, the type of guy to break down the subtle differences between L.A.'s highways as "bougie" (the 405) versus "gangster" (the 110). In this clip, he evolves from two-dimensional comedies into a three-dimensional arbiter of good taste.
It's Ice, cubed. Beleedat.