Music News

The Friday Rap-Up: Ice Cube, Phife, 50 Cent, Jam Master Jay

Ice Cube signs up for NBC cop show

Ice Cube sure has come a long way from his jheri curl days in NWA. He’s got platinum albums and hit movies, and now he’s going to take another shot at television. According to rapper has signed on to write and produce a cop comedy for NBC. "As we continue to expand our roster of diverse talent both on-camera and behind the camera, a guy like Ice Cube, who’s multi-talented, is someone we really wanted to be in business with," NBC entertainment chairman Ben Silverman told Variety. "He's had an amazing career, to have gone from NWA to this. We really want to capture his voice and his eye for talent, and his producing acumen. If he appeared in the pilot or series, we'd be really excited about that."

A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife gets a kidney transplant

A Tribe Called Quest fans have known for years that Phife Dawg has suffered from diabetes. But in the last few years, his condition has worsened, with him losing a lot of weight, not having any energy to perform and finally going on dialysis in 2000. In 2002, Phife condition deteriorated to the point where he was hospitalized. But this week, Phife was able to get a new kidney that hopefully will help overcome his illness and get to work on that Tribe reunion with Q-Tip.

“He’s doing great!” Q-Tip told “He just had a successful kidney transplant so shouts out to Phife diggity dog! That’s my n***a right there.” Tip also said that when Phife is at full strength, they’ll start planning out a reunion.

50 Cent distributing Jam Master Jay doc

This week marks eight years since the senseless murder of hip-hop legend Jam Master Jay. The case remains unsolved, but to celebrate the memory of Jay, 50 Cent announced that he will be distributing the documentary, Two Turntable and a Microphone, which focuses on the life, legacy, and death of the Jam Master with his album, Before I Self Destruct. The album hits stores on December 9, and the documentary will only be included with the album for a limited time. The documentary, produced by Jay’s cousin Stephen ‘Phonz’ Watford, features interviews with 50, Russell Simmons, Onyx and Rev. Run, as well as childhood friends.

"He was somebody who impacted my career — you can say in the biggest way," 50 told MTV about Jay discovering him. “'Cause in my career, I was just in the infant stages, developing my song structure around Jay. The first time I was in the studio, [it was] with intentions of recording songs for an album with Jam Master Jay. He taught me how to count bars. I could rap already. I knew what I wanted to say, but he was showing me how I had to get it out around the right time. [He would say,] 'That sounds crazy, you have to say it earlier in this verse.' "


Black Milk Tronic Fat Beats

If hip-hop fans are really missing J Dilla, they ought to give Black Milk a try. The Detroit producer/MC is definitely influenced by Dilla and pretty much picking up where he left off, with fresh, soulful beats and rhymes featuring guest appearances from Royce Da 5’9”, Pharaoh Monch, Sean Price and DJ Premier.

Paris Acid Reflex Guerrilla Funk

For years, Paris has been recognized for the poignant political commentary in his music. The same sentiments are definitely present on his new album, but Reflux doesn’t hit hard like his classic album Sleeping With the Enemy or even Sonic Jihad. Even so, fans of Paris still should check this one out.

88 Keys Death of Adam Deconstruction

Producer 88 Keys has been behind the boards for discs by everyone from Mos Def to Macy Gray. On his debut album, he grabs the mike and calls upon his friends Kanye West, Redman, Phonte (of Little Brother), J*Davey and others to help him out.