WESTSIDE CONNECTION GROUP BIOGRAPHY:
Westside Connection is a westcoast hip hop group consisting of rappers Ice Cube, WC, and Mack 10. (For more info on each members solo careers and life click on the artist to visit their own section). The trio formed as a group in 1993 due to each of them been tired of getting overlooked by East Coast media outlets and being considered second-class citizens when compared to the east coast artists, in a genre they helped popularize. The group was formed during the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry, coming out after the death of fellow rap artist 2Pac (Tupac Shakur).
The group began recording their debut album "Bow Down" and the album was released on October 22, 1996 through group member Ice Cube's own label, Lench Mob Records. The album featured production from Bud'da, QDIII and Ice Cube among others, and was well recieved by most critics earning a 4 out of 5 from both All Music Guide, and Rolling Stone. "Bow Down"peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 200 on November 9th after shipping 145,000 units in 1996, and eventually sold 1.7 million copies, certifying it platinum by RIAA on October 1st, 1997.
The album instilled a sense of pride in West Coast rap fans and started a worldwide movement that anyone who is underappreciated could identify with. In the song "All the Critics in New York" from the album the group talk on the lack of respect the East Coast rappers have for westcoast artists at that time. "Bow Down" made the Westside Connection one of the most respected and despised rap groups of all time. They were loved for their blunt discussion of any topic, their top-tier lyricism and their bone-crushing production. But they were despised for exposing the prejudice that runs rampant throughout the rap industry.
"Bow Down, the first one, was a record out of necessity," member Ice Cube recalls. "The industry needed somebody to stick up for the West Coast because we were starting to get disrespected on every level. So, in '96 we started a movement that swept all across the world, really with the 'W,' the West Side, people finally having something to identify with on the West Coast. Then, people all over the country started to respect the West Side. It's a beautiful thing. We've got Westsiders in Japan, South Africa and they're pumping it. It was a big deal."
After a 7 year hiatus since their debut album the group released their sophomore set with "Terrorist Threats" on December 9th 2003 on Priority Records and also Mack-10's own rabel Hoo-Bangin'. The group released the album in vinyl and also as an Enhanced CD which features an interview and also a music video. The album was no doubt helped by its popular lead single "Gangsta Nation" which features vocals from Nate Dogg, and was the only single from the album. The album peaked at number 16 on the US Billboard 200 album chart shifting 136,000 copies, and has since sold over 679,000 nits certifying the album as Gold.
There's nothing soft on "Terrorist Threats" and the album's title refers to rap's counter-culture potential. "We understand that we're still being perceived as environmental terrorists by mainstream America," WC says. "We're not going be assholes and come out and say that we're terrorists. Only an idiot would be in a frame of mind to do that. But in this rap music, we bring cannons to the gunfight. We're going to bring it and a lot of people fear that. It's terror that we see in their eyes."
"It's a salute to what I call the 'Gangsta Nation,' which is people who like it hard-core who do it in their own way," Ice Cube says. "Everybody knows what gangster represents out here. It ain't always a criminal thang. It's just somebody that won't conform, somebody that doesn't want to do it the way the plan is laid out. They want to do it their own way, so we're saluting them." The group also salutes its loyal, die-hard following in the Dave Myers-directed clip for "Gangsta Nations." Cube, Mack and Dub sport a variety of outfits in the video, tracing their musical evolution from the 1980s until now.
But it's Westside Connection's grasp on the present that makes "Terrorist Threats" so formidable. On the sizzling "So Many Rappers In Love," the group calls out rappers who are watering down the art form into a cheesy R&B-rap; hybrid. "If it ain't rough it ain't me and I refuse to turn r-a-p into R&B;," Mack 10 raps on the confrontational cut. "You went from hard-core to pop, just to be on top/I give Cool J his props and that's where it stops."
There's no mistaking that Mack 10 is disgusted by the development. "These cats kill me because they're turning rap into R&B;," he says. "They used to be separate. Now, these rap records sound like The Whispers, The Temptations or some love song. I refuse to do that. I'm going to keep it gutter and keep it gangsta." Westside Connection's muscular brand of rap has no reservations. They turn their focus to rap's current affinity for pimping on the wicked "Pimp The System." The group asserts that rappers need to pimp companies, not women, in order to really get paid.
In 2005 the groups future was thrown into doubt when Mack 10 left the group due to a feud Ice Cube. The argument was over Ice Cube's reluctance to go on tour with the group, opting instead to concentrate on his own promising movie career. After the fall out Ice Cube stated that another Westside Connection album could be released, but has also told fans that Mack 10 will not be a part of the group.
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