Ice Cube is taking the crown for best hip-hop diss song. While visiting the Earn Your Leisurepodcast, the 53-year-old West Coast emcee named his top five favorite diss cuts, including tracks from the late 2Pac, Nas, Boogie Down Productions, and Kool Moe Dee.
“I mean, I would go with, you know, [2Pac’s] ‘Hit ‘Em Up’ is a good one,” he said. “ [Nas’] ‘Ether’ is dope. I would go with [Boogie Down Productions’] ‘The Bridge Is Over,’ and I don’t know, I think I gotta go with [Kool Moe Dee’s] ‘Let’s Go,’” he said.
Atop the list was Cube’s own 1991 song “No Vaseline,” which was aimed at his former N.W.A. members along with the group’s longtime manager Jerry Heller and appeared on his sophomore album, Death Certificate. The remaining N.W.A. members hit back with “Real N****z” and “Message to B.A.” although “No Vaseline” got the most outrage, even being protested by the Jewish Rights Organization for alleged anti-semitic lyrics. The song’s recording was also recreated in the 2015 film Straight Outta Compton, where Cube was portrayed by his eldest son, O’Shea Jackson Jr.
In 2014, Cube talked about “No Vaseline” on The Breakfast Club, where he recounted a slight reference to N.W.A. on “Jackin For Beats” from his debut solo album AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted. Before the album’s release, N.W.A. fired shots at Cube on EP 100 Miles and Runnin’.
“And then they came with another couple of little disses,” Cube explained. “I said, ‘Okay, man, I’m tired of this. I’ma end this real quick. We gon’ set it all the way off.’ So that’s when I wrote ‘No Vaseline,’ recorded it. I put it on that ‘Cinderfella’ track, that Dana Dane track… we flipped it and it became a smash.”
He added, “And I didn’t know that at the time they was already fragmented, breaking up anyway. So, that just — I guess knocked ‘em down like bowling pins.”
Watch the full Earn Your Leisure interview below.
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