Ice Cube today at McNally Smith

Ice Cube today at McNally Smith

As he came in the McNally Smith building this afternoon, a laptop DJ played the Isley Brothers' "Footsteps in the Dark" (sampled on "It Was a Good Day") and cameras flashed--a genuine rock-star moment. Then, when he walked into the auditorium, a live quartet of students was onstage, playing the same song! Sitting in the front row, Cube bobbed his head appreciatively.

Here's my preview of tonight's show. Was I harsh to bring up the old controversies? Maybe not: When asked if he had any regrets earlier today, Ice Cube pretty much said no. Nice guy, though, good with the crowd. He said being at the school, and being honored by the new annual scholarship in his name, was the highlight of his career. Tonight's show at First Avenue (he goes onstage at about 9:00 p.m.) shouldn't be missed.

As for the rumor that Cube once lived in Minneapolis, contrary to reports here and here (and--oops--in the A-list), this is what he said when I asked about it during a brief press Q&A at the school:

I heard that you lived in Minneapolis.

Nah, nah. Never.

Did you record here?

Nah, I just wrote about it in a song.

You didn't live in Minnetonka. How did these rumors get spread?

I don't know, man. You know how rumors are.

You never had a girlfriend on the North Side?

Never had a girlfriend on the North Side. I'll take one. [everyone laughs]

How did you end up writing about being here?

It was at a time when a lot of guys I knew were fleeing Los Angeles looking for places to set up and be. And Minnesota, nice place. Sounded right. That's how I picked it.

[Lars Larson of DUNation--and I'll correct this if it's wrong, it was hard to hear] You directed the "Bop Gun" video, right? With Prince...[??] Do you want to get back with him?

Yeah, it was cool. That was my first time getting a chance to even meet and talk to him. It made me decide to go ahead and do a movie.

[Lars] Is anything going to continue with that now that Prince is all open [??] to other artists and stuff?

I hope so. You know, I'm trying. You got his number?

[Everyone laughs.]

When asked, during his earlier Q&A with students in the auditorium, who's the one artist in film or music he'd like to work with, Cube said Prince. Now that Prince is out in L.A., at least until his lease runs out this month, maybe that'll happen. (For a glimpse of Prince's new mansion, pick up Kevin Powell's cover story on Dave Chappelle in May's Esquire.) Today was also graduation day, and another Minneapolis-L.A. musician, Willie Wisely, was the commencement speaker.

Here's the 2006 video for "Race Card," promoting the FX show Black.White.--which I missed. (Also on the FX Network, which I don't have: a series starring Andre Braugher and set in New Orleans? Why was I not informed!)

Ice Cube today at McNally Smith

Sunday update: More on Ice Cube at Saucydame. (Above photo courtesy of the school. Below: "The moment frozen in time"--me asking Ice Cube stupid questions. Another photo of the same thing, from Patrick Whalen. Surreal.)

Ice Cube today at McNally Smith
Ice Cube today at McNally Smith

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