I Am the West

Ice Cube was once gangsta rap's great chronicler of everyday brutality. Twenty years and a hugely successful family-comedy movie career later, he's content to spend his self-released ninth disc brandishing his OG rep ("Google me, bitch!") and defending his fading West Coast ("I'm down with Angelenos/Go downtown and give a bum a C-note"). But his rants get boring over track after track of bland Nineties G-funk (a promised collaboration with his estranged N.W.A homey Dr. Dre never came through). Only "Hood Robbin," a somber, seething indictment of post-housing-bubble America has that old realist magic, yoking the rage of Straight Outta Compton to the experience of people who took their kids to see Are We There Yet?