Ice Cube and WC, his frequent collaborator and on-stage partner, charged the Fresno audience Tuesday by calling it one of the craziest in California.
Ice Cube capitalized on this, playing the different sides of the crowd against one another. At one point, the left and right sides chided each other with chants of “party over here f*** you over there.”
It was a simple show – just Ice Cube and WC. A set of unmanned turn tables sat behind them as a gesture, Ice Cube explained, for DJ Crazy Toones, who died in January. There wasn’t much in the way of an entourage. The two MCs managed to guide the audience through 25+ years of hip-hop on their own.
They even played off an unintended track malfunction – the beat just dropped out during “Bow Down” – as Crazy Toones making his spiritual presence felt in Fresno.
Ice Cube belted out the NWA hits “Straight Oughta Compton” and uh, the one that made police very angry, fairly early on in the show. After the latter, he warned the audience not to actually go out and mess with the police.
“It’s just a song,” he said with a laugh, adding that Fresno police would drag anyone out of the fair if they did.
He then explained briefly why he broke with NWA before playing several of his early 90s diss tracks – again, a competitive element that I just love. If you weren’t born yet, and there were quite a few in attendance who were not, you learned something tonight.
Ice Cube’s voice maintained a fever pitch throughout the show. He yelled a lot. This made the more laid-back tracks like “Today Was A Good Day” sound a bit different, but it wasn’t a negative. I believe it was just the energy of being on stage.
Despite that, it was a surprisingly well-rounded show.