It’s already been 25 years since the release of Death Certificate, the fiery sophomore solo effort from rapper and actor Ice Cube.
The unapologetic delivery and storytelling was what cemented Ice Cube’s icon status, but also found the West Coast emcee simmering in a bit of controversy at the time.
Nevertheless, its impact and his legacy remain undisputed and in celebration of the album’s 25th anniversary, Ice Cube has decided to gift the world with a reissue of the album today [June 9, 2017], his first release under his newest signing to Interscope Records.
“We are thrilled to announce that Ice Cube has joined the Interscope family,” states Chairman and CEO of Interscope, John Janick. “Cube has an incredible body of work, and as a fan I’m honored to welcome him to the label.”
The new release comes outfitted with three new tracks, “Dominate The Weak,” the previously released “Good Cop Bad Cop,” and the intense lead track “Only One Me.”
“A lot of my true fans got the record already, so to make this new version happen, why not start it off with something new and fresh?” he tells Rolling Stone in a recent sit down. “It sets you up for the anniversary of the album, and it makes you appreciate the album more, ’cause you’re getting new, fresh material that is perfect for the record.”
Originally released in 1991, Death Certificate arrived unparalleled.
Recorded and released during a time when frustrations and tensions within the Black community were at an all-time high, Death Certificate served as a megaphone for a generation, cutting no corners and taking no prisoners.
Naturally, Cube’s aggression wasn’t met with open arms across the board with many, including activist Angela Davis calling him out on the imagery he chose to portray, with critics viewing his perspective on tracks like “Giving Up the Nappy Dugout,” “Man’s Best Friend,” and “No Vaseline” as misogynistic, violent, and antisemitic.
The outcry went so far that even Oregon decided to make it illegal to display any of Ice Cube’s images or endorsements in storefronts throughout the state.
At one point, it was The Source‘s very own co-founder James Bernard who stepped up, in an effort to relay the intent behind’s Ice Cube’s most transparent body of work.
“I’m not arrogant enough to wag my finger at someone for stridency or incorrect language when many of his friends are dead and many of the rest are either in prison or standing on the corner surrounded by burned-out buildings and dying dreams,” wrote Bernard in an album review for Entertainment Weekly.
So you see, the emotions of pride and elation merely present themselves as understatements when it comes to the resurfacing of Death Certificate after 25 years.
This release stands as testament to the longevity of Hip-Hop whose beginnings as an outlet for those written off in society has evolved into one of culture’s most definitive communities to date.
“Sadly, our community is dealing with many of the same issues,” Ice Cube says of the album’s relevance today. “I only hope that young millennials feeling powerless in the ’hood can channel their own anger and frustration by listening to this record.”
Stream the album in its entirety below.