Ice Cube Bell Stage, Quebec City QC, July 9

Ice Cube Bell Stage, Quebec City QC, July 9
Photo: Rick Clifford
"A lot of motherfuckers out there think Ice Cube can't get on the mic and do what you like," the West Coast rap icon told the Quebec City crowd early on in his set. "They think I'm all about movies and commercials now. Well they better check themselves," he exclaimed before blasting through the remix of "Check Yo Self." If anyone on the Plains of Abraham had any doubts about O'Shea Jackson's dedication to hip-hop in continuing to lead a dual career as a musician and actor, they were most certainly put to rest with an explosive, career-spanning setlist.
Whether it was during his Dr. Dre-assisted collaborative single "Natural Born Killaz" or when he took it back to 1988 with a three-song run of N.W.A.'s "Straight Outta Compton," "Gangsta Gangsta" and "Fuck Tha Police," every lyric was recited with the same vigorous and vitriolic delivery that Cube has built his entire career upon. Moving menacingly across the wide stage, his unrelenting presence lent itself perfectly to "Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It," "Bow Down" and the smooth G-funk of "You Know How We Do It," during which he got everyone to throw their West Side hand signs in the air. "Quebec City is smack dab in the middle of the worldwide West Side!" he told the crowd, testing their geographic knowledge to plenty of cheers.
Though at times his stage banter bordered on being played out and predictable, his work with hype man Dub C was an expert-level example of how the relationship between the two roles should work in a live setting, with the latter never overstepping his boundaries in completing Cube's verses or engaging in call and response. Not sacrificing any of his musical power and defiance, no matter how many children's movies and buddy comedies he's appeared in, the West Side legend thankfully hasn't cooled off in the slightest.