Saturday night saw the continuation of this years GEICO Music Stage at The Armory, a new addition to this years X Games Minneapolis. Over the course of the weekend, the concert venue, located just blocks away from US Bank Stadium, will host three separate concert performances. Last night boasted a couple of living legends in Rhymesayers artist Brother Ali, and Los Angeles native Ice Cube.
Over the past 17 years, Brother Ali has earned wide critical acclaim for his deeply personal, socially conscious and inspiring brand of hip-hop. Under Rhymesayers Entertainment, he’s unleashed a series of lauded projects, establishing himself as one of the most respected independent voices in music. The latest chapter in that celebrated journey is All the Beauty in This Whole Life, a 15-track collection produced entirely by Atmosphere’s Anthony “Ant” Davis.
Actor, writer, producer, director, rapper – ‘reigning renaissance king’ could be a good term to describe the one and only Ice Cube. Coming of age in 1980’s Los Angeles, Cube was at the forefront of hip-hop’s expansion from local sound to global phenomenon. Twenty-seven years after N.W.A. – the group Cube co-founded with Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella – released their archetypal gangsta rap masterpiece, Straight Outta Compton (Ruthless/Priority, 1989), the group’s 2016 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with an introductory speech by their spiritual heir Kendrick Lamar, is a mark of how far Cube has come.
Music fans of a certain vintage will ride hard for Cube, perhaps placing premium preference on his unimpeachable first three solo albums, Amerikkka’s Most Wanted (1990), Death Certificate (1991) and The Predator (1992). Others know Cube as the lovable patriarch from such popcorn-friendly fare as Are We There Yet? (2005), and as the voice of The Candle Maker in the Golden Globe-nominated animated feature The Book of Life (2014). Having sold over 10 million albums as a solo artist, Cube is now back working on his next album, Everthangs Corrupt.
Getting things kicked off at around 10:30 PM after the conclusion of The Real Cost Skateboard Big Air Finals, Brother Ali took the stage in front of his hometown fans to absolute elation from the crowd. While his set was still heavy on songs from his latest album, All the Beauty in This Whole Life, it also featured more than a few songs that only the people who have been following his career for nearly two-decades would remember.
After an incredible set from a local legend, there was only one way the show could properly escalate even higher; a worldwide legend! One thing was clear when Ice Cube stepped out on stage; he is a seasoned veteran who knows how to properly satisfy a crowd.
With a setlist that highlighted both his personal accolades along with his accomplishments with N.W.A., Ice Cube bounced from decade to decade during his set while keeping his foot pinned on the accelerator, riding the waves of energy from the crowd into the early hours of Sunday morning.
The GEICO Music Stage concert series continues tonight as Zedd promises to put on an equally incredible performance to officially bring this year’s X Games Minneapolis to a close.