Replacing 2001's Greatest Hits, Ice Cube's 2008 compilation The Essentials sticks with the post-N.W.A solo releases -- no Westside Connection tracks here -- and updates with tracks from the West Coast legend's later releases. The bad news is that "Cold Pieces" is chosen off 2008's Raw Footage instead of the superior "Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It," plus the great "Bop Gun" is missing -- but that's it for big blunders. "It Was a Good Day," "Check Yo Self," and the early burner "Dead Homiez" are all here, along with the slept-on classic "Greed" and the fan favorite "Rollin' with the Lench Mob." Release dates are shuffled into a running order that makes sense and while the liner notes are minimal, the essay from hip-hop writer Soren Baker is informed and insightful. Buy this along with the 2007 collection In the Movies and you've got a great portable collection, but the problem with compiling Cubes discography are the three vital albums -- AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, Death Certificate, and The Predator -- that kicked off his solo career. Put a box around those three, throw in a disc of singles, and you've got the real essentials -- but this will do in a pinch. ~ David Jeffries, Rovi
Track samples provided courtesy of iTunes
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