File under “unfortunate”: Ice Cube, caught on film, arguing with a can of beer. “You think you’re colder than me?” he asks incredulously, mean mugging a 12-ounce Coors Light in several 30-second spots for the product. “You think you’re colder than me?”
Ice Cube used to be a proud and feared rapper. He and NWA helped invent gangsta rap, and in so doing, gave voice to a culture.
Now, he’s shilling for a beer only sorority girls and assholes drink because ... his name just happens to be Ice Cube. And Coors Light’s whole marketing angle, of course, is that it’s “the coldest beer”—the snow-capped mountains on the can turn blue when it’s real cold. It’s frost-brewed! Brrr. Genius! (Some future ideas for when Cube’s contract is up: Ice T. Vanilla Ice. Snow. Arnold Schwarzenegger reprising his role as Mr. Freeze. The cast of A&E’s Ice Road Truckers. Hire me!)
A guy’s gotta make a living, so it’s hard to be too upset with Cube here. It’s an unquestionably impressive feat to go from scaring white Amerikkka half to death in the first act of your life, and then star in its children’s movies and sell it beer in the second. But there is something a little sad about the death of angry Cube. No one in pop culture has perfected the furrowed brow/angry scowl like he has, and now Coors has harnessed that perfection, tamed it and exploited it for profit.
Coors Light and Ice Cube have teamed up for something they’re calling the Coors Light “Search for the Coldest” Competition. “Hosted by Ice Cube, we’re looking for the coldest undiscovered MC in the nation,” the contest’s site, Ourstage.com, says.
If you think you can “freeze out the rest of the competition,” Cube and Coors implore you to upload an original track before midnight of May 15 onto one of the site’s regional competition channels, where it will be judged by fans and special judges DJ Khaled and DJ Drama. Philly was just added to the list of regional channels, and area rappers can upload their original, ice-cold, frost-brewed track, and then hope to be among the field after it’s narrowed to eight finalists. Those finalists will compete at the “Search for the Coldest” Finale in New York City. The winner will take home $10,000 in studio time, and have a track produced by Drama that’ll be included on a mixtape ... put out by Coors Light. (The official drink of hip-hop!)
“Only one can claim the title,” the site says. “Will you be the Coldest MC of 2012?”
Well, will you?
They want someone “whose rhymes can’t be beat, whose stage presence totally destroys, and whose style is truly original,” which just sounds like they’re looking for a really good rapper and performer. Not necessarily a “cold” one. But maybe that’s a good thing. Because the coldest rappers—as that description is traditionally used—are lyrical assassins, guys who rap lines so cold they make you question whether or not they have a heart beating inside their chests. These are the guys that, during rap battles, make the crowd looking on cup their fists to their mouths and shout “OHHHH” after they’ve chopped the competition down to a nub with a you-crossed-the-line rhyme about the other rapper’s mother or the size of their cock or what have you. Cold rhymes aren’t pretty. And the coldest certainly wouldn’t help sell beer.
For example, the two coldestest lines ever recorded come from Rick Ross on the same song, “Live Fast, Die Young.” Both are disgusting, lack even a suggestion of compassion, and make you wince when you hear them. They send a chill up your spine. Both will stop you cold in your tracks.
The first one goes like this (you may want to sit down): “Look at Haiti children dyin’ ’round the clock, nigga/ I’d send a hundred grand, but that’s a decent watch, nigga.” ENJOY FROST-BREWED COORS LIGHT RESPONSIBLY.
Another line, later in the song: “She had a miscarriage, I couldn’t cry though/ Cuz you and I know she was only my side ho.” TASTE THE ROCKIES!
One could argue these lines aren’t cold so much as sociopathic. But over the last week or so, I’ve asked many a hip-hop-listening friend for the coldest line they’ve ever heard, and most are of a similar nature. There were lots of boasts from Kanye, many about his balls, but I happen to think his coldest came on “My Chain Heavy” when he rapped, “It’s Don Cheadle time, get extra black on ’em!” (So cold.)
There was some stone-cold assassin shit from Mobb Deep’s Prodigy, and a couple “Is that a real line?” lines from Geto Boys’ Scarface. The song “Cold World” by Wu Tang Clan’s the Genius was suggested, too, as “coldest song ever.” It’s a bleak tale about life after a nuclear winter whose chorus, “Babies cryin’, brothers dyin’ and brothers gettin’ knocked/ Shit is deep on the block and you got me locked down in this cold, cold world,” makes me want to do a keg stand.
So, Philly rappers, are you the coldest? Are you 21 years of age or over? Only solo rappers need apply. You have until May 15. Get on it.
My money’s on Philly rapper Black Ice.
Contest details here.
PW's Music Issue 2014