By Courtney Garcia
On the 20th anniversary of the L.A. riots, Ice Cube remembers where he was when the uprising broke, and how hip hop fueled the insurgence
Twenty years ago, when the L.A. riots were ignited on April 29, 1992, a single man’s life became catalyst for a rap revolution led by Ice Cube and a handful of other hip-hop icons. By the time of Rodney King’s beating, rap had already put its stakes firmly into the American musical underpinning, giving birth to both intellectual discourse on race relations and social injustice, as well as unabashed verbal rebuke in the form of gangsta rap. Loud, observant, and demanding attention, gangsta rap, in particular, became soundtrack to this era of racial instability, believed by many to not only have led the nation in cultural exploration, but to have actually prophesized the insurrection.
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A prominent voice in the movement, Cube became a rapper and actor who pioneered this subgenre of west coast hip-hop with his anti-authoritative gang of poetic nihilists, N.W.A.. At the time of the riots, he was onto his own initiative, releasing solo records and focusing on a burgeoning career in the movie business.
Listen To Ice Cube’s “We Had To Tear This MotherF**ka Up“