Following the relentless intensity of his early-'90s albums, particularly his post-Rodney King statement, The Predator (1992), Ice Cube reclined a bit and put his rap career on autopilot beginning with Lethal Injection, the last album he would record for five years.
Yes, it's a disappointing album, but it's not terrible by any measure.
Even if Ice Cube is a little devoid of substance here relative to his rabble-rousing past, he's still a talented rapper, and he has one of the West Coast's premier producers, QDIII, joining him for almost half the album.
Unfortunately, much of what made Ice Cube's early-'90s albums so electric -- his thoughtfulness, wit, hostility, energy, and social consciousness -- is sadly in short supply.
For compensation, Ice Cube offers a few standout singles, namely "You Know How We Do It" and "Bop Gun (One Nation)." The former follows the successful template that worked a year earlier with "It Was a Good Day" -- a laid-back G-funk ballad laced with an old-school funk vibe; the latter clocks over 11 minutes, an epic ode to George Clinton's P-Funk legacy.
These two songs undoubtedly rank alongside Ice Cube's best work ever.
There are a few other songs like "Really Doe" and "Ghetto Bird" that also stand out, but even these songs sound rather lackluster relative to Ice Cube's previous work.
He's obviously not interested in making an album as daring and ambitious as The Predator again, and you can't really blame him.
After all, Ice Cube had delivered three brilliant albums, and a similarly brilliant EP as well, Kill at Will (1990), in just three years, not to mention his then-burgeoning role as an actor.
He deserved a break.
But at least he took the time to craft two standout singles that alone make this album worthwhile for fans.