The subject came up while Ad Age spoke with Ice Cube about his
views on marketing, acting and his ongoing Coors Light gig. In the
spots, Cube confronts the beer brand over which is colder --
himself or the brew, which recently passed Budweiser as the
nation's No. 2 beer brand. "It's fun," he said. "It's fun to be on
this ride with Coors Light."
Cube says he's not working with any other brands right now. His
hands are full preparing for the release of a new album and working
on a planned movie about N.W.A., the rap group that launched his
career in the late 1980s.
Ad Age asked Cube for his take on how African-Americans are
portrayed in advertising. He called out fast-food restaurants for
targeting African-Americans "a little bit" too much. "I always
thought the fast-food industry slants the advertising too much.
There are more fast-food restaurants it seems like in the
neighborhood. That's really affecting obesity and things like that
," he said. "People who don't have money are going to buy that
He also took issue with Burger King's use of Mary J. Blige in a
recent campaign. The ad for Krispy Chicken Snack Wraps was pulled
soon after it was posted on YouTube. Some observers criticized it
for feeding stereotypes relating to
African-Americans and fried chicken.
"I think she was used wack," Ice Cube said. "I didn't like it.
It's just sensitive for any black person to be singing about
chicken. It's just not cool because of all the stereotypes and the
pain in the past. "It touches a nerve."
Burger King has apologized for the ad, saying it was aired
before it was final.
Here's more of our conversation with the pitchman:
Ad Age : A couple decades ago, you pitched for
St. Ides malt liquor. It's quite a journey from Ides to Coors
Light, the No. 2 beer in America. How have you changed?
Ice Cube: I've gotten big enough for Coors
Light. Back then I was still trying to make a name for myself,
trying to still be the greatest MC in the world, and this small
beer company came across called St. Ides. We put together a gang of
funny, cool commercials. And I got my feet wet in directing some of
those ... and had a lot of fun, but not as much fun as I'm having
with Coors Light. Coors Light is big-time.
Ad Age : Do you worry at all about losing
street cred by doing mainstream ads?
Ice Cube: When I started doing music I never
worried about street cred because that 's not even a term I've ever
used. When you are from the streets, you never worry about street
cred … I'm not a character. I'm not an image. I'm me. And I
think that 's why I've had longevity.
Ad Age : Have you seen more marketers tap the
influence of African-Americans?
Ice Cube: If it's cool in the hood, it can make
it anywhere. A lot of industries realize that and they definitely
have their ear to the streets on what are they liking in the
neighborhood. And they should, because we do a lot with a little
and make it fly, and people always love our style. So it's only
right for advertisers to understand the power of black style and
how it can help mainstream style, add even more flash to it.
Ad Age : What is your bigger passion: music or
Ice Cube: It's music, because music is the
total freedom. Acting is being part of a team to get a project
done. Music is , to me, true art … and I'll never give it
up. I'll never stop doing records.