The performer I saw on Friday night really needs no introduction. Rapper, actor, entrepreneur– Ice Cube is seriously a legend and has the resume to prove it. Even though I feel like that’s a commonly known fact, Ice Cube took the stage on Friday with something to prove and he absolutely did that and then some.
Born O’Shea Jackson Sr., Ice Cube is credited with some of the best rap and hip-hop that has ever come out. Okay, that’s a bit biased but, I mean, come on. From being with N.W.A. to his solo work, this Los Angeles native really did change the game for the gangster rap genre and continues to do so to this day. Beyond his rap career is his acting career. Boyz in the Hood, Friday, the Barbershop series… much like his storied rap career, Ice Cube’s resume when it comes to acting and writing is extensive. If you ask me, this man has nothing to prove. It’s all already been proven but from the second he took the Mystic Lake Showroom stage in Prior Lake until the moment he left the stage but not after shaking the hands of those in the front room, it just felt like he was trying to convince everyone in the audience that he is still as legendary as he used to be.
It was hit after hit when it came to his nearly twenty song set list. Joined only on stage by his hype man and friend whose name I sadly didn’t catch because I was just in awe when he first took the stage which is also when he introduced said friend (sorry guys!), Ice Cube never seemed to take a break throughout the 75-minute set. He just stalked the stage while giving the audience just what they wanted– his influential sound and style. Other than a few breaks between tracks where Ice Cube spoke a little bit about his past (I found the part where he brought up the beef between him and the other NWA guys super interesting solely because I honestly didn’t know what happened there), and consistently reminded the audience of his legendary status, there was nothing “extra” to the set.
The overall show felt a bit understated with the production value to me. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the giant screen at the back of the stage that showed old videos and photos of Ice Cube along with cool visuals to go along with songs was massive but, other than that and a few plumes of smoke that shot up from the back, there was no glitz or glammar to his set which I truly appreciated.
I’m so used to being one of the older people in the crowd of the indie and pop-punk shows I enjoy oh so much but the tables were turned on Friday. Just a few tracks in, Ice Cube asked the audience who was over the age of 40 and the response was deafening and eye-opening. I don’t think I had noticed just how old the audience was but it makes sense. He has been doing this since the late 80’s and he was sure to acknowledge those older songs throughout his set. Old or not, this audience was there to party. From panties flying on the stage to the biggest joint I’ve ever seen being passed around me, I was a bit shocked that these old people still knew how to get down and it created a super fun atmosphere for the night. I don’t think anyone in my section ever sat down and people were crowded into every nook and cranny near me just trying to get as close to the stage as they could without getting in trouble.
Even though it was a wild crowd, it was also a respectable crowd. Sure, people were loud as they were singing along to the songs that probably meant as much to them as an old-school pop-punk song would mean to me but every time a song would stop and Ice Cube would begin talking, the roar of applause would seize and everyone would be paying attention to whatever this man had to say.
I could go through and tell you all of the songs that Ice Cube performed but that would do nothing for you. It wasn’t about the songs, it was about being able to see a legend on a fairly intimate stage and listen to him as a real person, not just a superstar. This was not my first time seeing Ice Cube perform. I have seen him a few times at festivals across the country but this performance felt so different. The connection he had with the audience, although not spoken, was deafening in all of the right ways.
At the end of the show, Ice Cube warned the staff that it was going to be a wild night in the adjoining casino and I don’t think he was wrong. I didn’t stick around to see it after quickly losing twenty in one machine as I slowly made my way back to my car but the excitement that was in the air as people left the showroom and flooded the casino floor was palpable.
Friday night’s performance was truly a treat. There’s no other way to put it.
Venue: Mystic Lake Casino Showroom
Smell-O-Meter: The Devil’s Lettuce
Average Age of the Crowd: 40
Crowd Surfers- None
Stage Divers- None
Mosh-ability- 2 out of 10
Sausage-Fest Meter- 5 out of 10
Amount of Beer Spilled On Me While Walking Around- $0
Broken Bones- None
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing
Fights- None Witnessed
Randomly Shirtless Men – 0
Passed Out Kids- 0
Idiots Taken Out By Security – None Spotted
How Irritated I Was With The Audience – 2 out of 10
How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember)-
Ice Cube – 4
Celebrity Sightings – None
Overall Score- 7.7 out of 10
Show on Deck — Dead Man Winter / Wild Horses
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