Last Friday: Ice Cube in Calgary (Live) [Review]
Calgary, AB – Ice Cube in Calgary?! Last Friday, Ice Cube brought a bit of the West Coast to the Canadian prairies. The show at Flames Central in Calgary was the second on a four show leg throughout the prairie region and the venue was already packed by 11 pm. Despite the change of date, this was clearly a well promoted show: the DubSac crew made sure there weren’t any tickets left unsold, any seats left unfilled. There was a mass of people in every conceivable direction, including upwards, as even the balconies filled with fans anticipating one of the originators of West Coast rap.
By 11:30 the DJ and hypeman had worked the crowd into a frenzy: sticking with the old school feel of the night, they threw out Nas, with a side of Will Smith from the DJ Jazzy Jeff days, and a couple Biggie tracks that had the crowd singing along as everyone in the building felt the vibe. The opening acts brought some local flavor to the scene: both Struck, who opened all four prairie shows, and Loose Canon Playaz represented home grown talent well, getting into the vibe of the night and abandoning some originals for covers of classic hip-hop.
After the last of the opening acts had left the stage the mob broke into chants of “Ice Cube,” awaiting his imminent arrival. Ask and ye shall receive. Sounds of old funk samples could only mean one thing – Cube was making his way to the stage. First sight of Cube showed him rocking his patented trilby hat and looking focused. He came hard, kicking off with the classic “Life in California” before assuring the crowd that any rumors about his demise have been greatly exaggerated, reminding us all, “I’m never gonna retire. I started this gangsta shit.”
Never short on classic anthems, Cube broke into “Check Yo Self,” a true crowd pleaser if there ever was one. Long-time Westside Connection running mate WC took a few moments to remind the crowd of Revenge of the Barracuda, his own album that dropped only a few weeks earlier. After a few snippets, Cube shouted out the entire region, promoting the World Wide West Side, keeping with his theme that he is the West. Still reeling off classic after classic, Cube jumped into “You Can Do It,” bringing exactly what was expected, exactly what only he can bring, and the crowd couldn’t get enough. Hard.
“It was a Good Day,” perhaps Cube’s biggest hit, was a sign the show was coming to a close. The crowd began to thin out and hundreds of spent faces all left with a smile. As promised, Ice Cube came with no nonsense, old-school, hard gangsta rap from the West Coast. It was a good day.
Written by Sarosh Rizvi for HipHopCanada
Photography by Michael Soze for Sureshot Radio