How Did Ice-Cube Hook Up With The Bomb Squad?

In late 1989 Ice-Cube was still a member of N.W.A., so it's quite impressive that by May 1990 he would have his own record produced by the legendary Bomb Squad (Public Enemy). Originally Cube wanted to Dr. Dre to produce his solo album but due politics at Ruthless he wasn't able to. 

So now Cube was under a lot of pressure because he had to find someone who could produce his album on a high-level like Dr. Dre. His first choice was Sam Sever who had produced the 3rd Bass album The Cactus/C-Dee which was banging at the time. So his management talked to Lyor Cohen and Cube flew out to New York to meet with Sam and Lyor at the Def Jam offices.

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When Cube arrived at the meeting it turned out that Sam Sever was a no-show for some reason, so Cube ended having stayed at Cohen's office for an hour and a half and he still didn't have a producer for his album. So as Cube is leaving the Def Jam offices he bumps into Chuck D who he knew from touring with Public Enemy. So naturally, Chuck asked, "What are you doing here?" Cube explained how he had broken up with N.W.A. and how he was looking for a producer for his solo record. Chuck then offered him a guest spot together with Big Daddy Kane on a new Public Enemy track titled "Burn, Hollywood, Burn!", which would end up on the Fear Of A Black Planet album. This they both agreed would be a perfect introduction to the public of Ice-Cube the solo artist.

When Cube got to the studio and started talking to the Bomb Squad about his search for a producer he ended up telling them that his management from the west coast, who also managed N.W.A., had laughed when they heard he was going to the east coast and they said it would be wack. This ignited a competitive fire in the Bomb Squad producers and they told Cube they wanted to produce his whole record. Cube of course was elated that his search for producer had finally ended and they all believed it would be the perfect match. After that, a contract was worked out and Cube thought the recording of the album was about to begin, but boy was he was wrong!

First, he and Sir Jinx were flown out to Long Island where they were taken to a warehouse where the Bomb Squad (including Chuck and Flava) had a massive record collection which took up shelves upon shelves. Then Hank Shocklee took out two crates and said to Cube & Jinx, "fill up these two crates with the records you want to sample for your album and write down the sample information". This took Cube by surprise as he recalled making records with Dr. Dre where all he had to do was show up to the studio with his rhyme books and get on the mic and spit his lyrics.

Now he had to do something totally different which to him felt like straight up homework. The process was tedious, choose a record (mostly based on a cool cover), take and listen to it, and note the sample information, After days of this slow process, Cube and Jinx were thinking about just leaving and going back to L.A. But Chuck and other Bomb Squad producers would stop by and say, "just keep doing what you are doing" and eventually after ten days they managed to fill up the two record crates. Now they were ready to "put on their big boy pants" and hit Green Street Studios in Manhatten and begin recording.

Alexander Ramalho