It's been seven years since Ice Cube released a solo album and even longer since he's been on tour by himself. But with his Westside Connection lying in the hip-hop graveyard, his hunger to get back on the mike was fueled, and Cube took off an entire year from Hollywood to record Laugh Now, Cry Later, which is slated for release next month. The album, which features production from such hip-hop luminaries as Scott Storch, Lil Jon and Swizz Beats, has been kept under tight wraps. The only songs to surface so far are the first single, "Why We Thugs," which criticizes the system, and "Child Support," a scathing diatribe aimed at today's gangsta rappers -- or, more specifically, 50 Cent, whose label Cube takes to task. Laugh, which focuses on the streets instead of the clubs, is rumored to be the rapper's best work in over a decade. That's a good thing, especially if he expects to resurrect the West.