The rapper Ice Cube, who fought Tipper and Al Gore’s efforts to censor music lyrics in the 1990’s, is taking a measured approach to Barack Obama’s fight to topple the candidacy of another icon of that decade, Hillary Clinton.
Cube, who is promoting his new song “Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It,” told me after Obama’s victory in Iowa, “It’s supposed to strike up emotions of, you know, ‘We’ve arrived, we’ve made it, crossed the hump.’ But you know, the man should be really judged on how good he is. You know. And that’s all that should matter. That’s all that matters to me. Him being black is secondary to him being a good president. You know what I’m saying?”
“We start getting focused on color, then, we’re going to think that once he’s elected, our job is done. That ain’t true. If he’s a good man, he should be president. If he’s the best man he should be the president, no matter what color he is.”
When I asked if he would support a candidate, Cube said he needed to see more.
“People have got to prove themselves to me before I’m going to back them like that,” he told me. “Just saying you’re going to be a good one for me ain’t good enough for me. You got to get in there and do it before I lift a finger.”
And if he does lift a finger, don’t expect much hype about it. He keeps his politics private.
“Yeah, I voted. But that’s kind of my business. I don’t want none of those political parties mess wiped on me. So I’m not going to jump out and support nobody.”
I asked him if he could up with a rhyme for Barack Obama.
“If you give me a minute I probably can,” Ice Cube said.
Thirty seconds later: “Barack Obama, whatchya gonna do for my momma. That’s what I want to know.”