In my Lollapalooza '92 posts, I've been quoting the original concert review of Marty Racine of the Houston Chronicle. He summed up Ice Cube's set as follows:
By evening the program's pace had been derailed by about 20 minutes, and it was left to Ice Cube (7:35-8:20 p.m.) to appear after a quick 15-minute break and restore the schedule.At least in 1992 I could admit I knew nothing about Ice Cube, or even rap in general. Reading Racine's review fifteen years later, it seems that he desperately attempted to muster three vague and general paragraphs about a performer about whom he knew very, very little (all the while refusing to admit his lack of knowledge). Note that no album or song by Ice Cube is mentioned by specifically by name, nor is his association with N.W.A. (Of course, Racine didn't have ready access to the Wikipedia back in September of 1992, but that's no excuse for trying to disguise one's ignorance of a performer as social or musical commentary.).
Now, we can all argue about whether rap is music. It lacks certain sonic elements but is still based on composition. Call it poetry (of the streets), performed, like all live poetry, with an emphasis on cadence. Regardless, Cube's appearance made the necessary connection to black pop culture, in turn providing a legitimacy to alternative rock and its claim on the fifth or sixth rock generation.
Cube and his army got down with the four-syllable cuss words, but the mood was more celebratory than angry. Thousands of pale fists pumped the air as Cube went strutting, the affair turning into pure pop theater. And when Cube rousted a rap-along with the crowd that pretty much dissed Cube himself, we found the Ice Man to be of fine humor.1
And, yes, the photograph above was indeed taken by me, using my photo pass.
1. Racine, Marty. " Lollapalooza!/The music is a decidedly hip, high-strung hybrid of rap, funk and hard, linear beats, laced with a requisite dose of attitude. 'Lots' of 'tude/New generation finds its alternative," Houston Chronicle, September 7, 1992.