April 17, 2016


Ice Cube's Coachella Set: A West Coast Party with a Glaring Omission

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Coachella
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Coachella

Ice Cube's Coachella performance was defined by a song that isn't Ice Cube's, that he didn't perform or even reference on Saturday night (Apr. 16). That song is titled "Forgot About Dre."

Okay, so Cube's raucous set was only partially defined by the fact that Dr. Dre didn't show up. Cube still presented 55 minutes of party music, with N.W.A. classics, fun guest stars and "It Was A Good Day," of course. Yet the dream N.W.A. reunion felt incomplete with no Dre, and with every new guest star, his absence became all the more noticeable. Heck, Snoop Dogg even performed "The Next Episode" and Dre's name was never acknowledged.

N.W.A. fans had to tide themselves over with the admittedly energetic throwback portion of the set, with MC Ren and DJ Yella joining Cube for classics like "Straight Outta Compton" and "Fuck The Police." The rapper's son O'Shea Jackson Jr. also came out to footage of his film Straight Outta Compton, and Common arrived for some Barbershop promo; literally, Ice Cube and Common performed a track from the Barbershop: The Next Cut soundtrack.

As disjointed as the set could be, Ice Cube was a fire-breathing constant, turning middle fingers to police and summoning mass grinding on "You Can Do It." Coachella admirably turns up for West Coast rap icons, and this show was no different, with a crowd that far surpassed Guns N' Roses' main stage audience on Saturday night. When Snoop came out during "Go To Church," the crowd lapped up the G-funk history and twisted their fingers into W's without prompting. Ice Cube was in command from the moment he started prowling the stage to the minute he sat down on a descending gold throne during the finale.

But still... forgetting about Dre hurt. What could have been an essential reunion was merely a solid main stage set. Ice Cube didn't owe us a proper N.W.A. reunion, but after Saturday night's display, it appears that dream is officially dead.