The Predator (Ice Cube album)

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The Predator
Ice Cube - The Predator - Album Cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 17, 1992
Ice Cube chronology
Death Certificate
The Predator
Lethal Injection
Singles from The Predator
  1. "Wicked"
    Released: November 3, 1992
  2. "It Was a Good Day"
    Released: February 23, 1993
  3. "Check Yo Self"
    Released: August 17, 1993

The Predator is the third studio album by Ice Cube. Released within months of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, on November 17, 1992, many songs comment on the racial tensions. The title is in part reference to the movie Predator 2, and the album itself includes samples from the film.[1] Though not Ice Cube's most critically successful album, The Predator is his most commercially successful, reaching 2x platinum status in the United States, also containing his most successful single, "It Was a Good Day." The Predator is his only number one album on the Billboard 200 to date, selling 193,000 copies in its first week.[2] As of 2008, it has sold over two million copies in the US, according to Nielsen SoundScan.[3]


In the opening song, "When Will They Shoot," Ice Cube addressed criticisms of anti-Semitism he received for his last effort, Death Certificate:

White man is something I tried to study,
But I got my hands bloody, yeah.
They say I can sing like a jaybird
But, nigga, don’t say the j-word
I thought they was buggin'
'Cause to us, Uncle Sam is Hitler without an oven
Burnin' our black skin
Bomb a neighborhood, then push the crack in

Elsewhere "We Had to Tear This Mothafucka Up" is directed at the LA Police officers acquitted in the Rodney King trial, an event that ignited the 1992 LA Riots. The similarly themed "Who Got the Camera?" imagines a scenario in which a black man is subjected to police brutality. The songs are broken up by interludes involving interviews with Ice Cube and what appears to be a debate between members of a congregation or talk-show audience.

"Now I Gotta Wet’cha" is the source of the popular phrase "It’s on like Donkey Kong." Since the song's release, the quote has been used in sports, commercials, movies, and television with a huge surge in usage from the years 2000 through 2005. In 2010, Nintendo trademarked the phrase in order to promote the Wii game, Donkey Kong Country Returns.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[4]
The Austin Chronicle4/5 stars[5]
Chicago Sun-Times3/4 stars[6]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[7]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[8]
Q4/5 stars[9]
Rolling Stone2.5/5 stars[10]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3.5/5 stars[11]
Uncut5/5 stars[13]

Although not as lauded as his previous efforts, The Predator was well received. Entertainment Weekly called it "Ice Cube's strongest, most cohesive work yet".[7] Spin called it a record that "demands to be heard" (1/93, p. 61).[14] Q included it in its "90 Best Albums of the 1990s" (12/99, p. 74).[14]

It spawned three hit singles: "It Was a Good Day," which was a hit in March 1993; "Check Yo Self"; and "Wicked" (which was later covered by the band Korn). Both the album and single version of "Check Yo Self" include an appearance from Das EFX, with the latter's single featuring a remix utilizing a sample of Grandmaster Flash's "The Message". The song also received continuous radio and MTV play.

Commercial performance[edit]

The Predator debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with sales of 193,000 copies in its first week. The album was certified platinum on January 7, 1993 and 2x platinum in late 2001, making it Ice Cube's best-selling album to date.


The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[15]

In a 2014 interview with rapper and producer Q-Tip, actor Leonardo DiCaprio expresses his admiration for The Predator. He stated that the album was the "magnum opus of [Ice Cube's] solo career" and it was a "voice for the angry and unheard during the 90s".

Track listing[edit]

1."The First Day of School (Intro)"Ice Cube1:20
2."When Will They Shoot?"
3."I'm Scared (Insert)" 1:32
4."Wicked" (featuring Don Jagwarr)
  • Torcha Chamba
  • Ice Cube
5."Now I Gotta Wet 'Cha"DJ Muggs4:03
6."The Predator"DJ Pooh4:03
7."It Was a Good Day"DJ Pooh4:19
8."We Had to Tear This Mothafucka Up"DJ Muggs4:23
9."Fuck 'Em (Insert)"Sir Jinx2:02
10."Dirty Mack"Mr. Woody4:34
11."Don't Trust 'Em"
  • Rashad
  • Ice Cube
  • DJ Pooh
12."Gangsta's Fairytale 2" (featuring Lil Russ)
  • Pocketts
  • Ice Cube
13."Check Yo Self" (featuring Das EFX)
  • DJ Muggs
  • Ice Cube
14."Who Got the Camera?"Sir Jinx4:37
15."Integration (Insert)"Ice Cube2:31
16."Say Hi to the Bad Guy"Sir Jinx3:19


Standard edition tracks' credits taken from WhoSampled[17] and 2003 reissue bonus tracks' credits taken from Discogs[18] and their respective Wikipedia pages

The First Day of School (Intro)

When Will They Shoot?

I'm Scared (Insert)


Now I Gotta Wet 'Cha

The Predator

It Was a Good Day

We Had to Tear This Mothafucka Up

Fuck 'Em (Insert)

  • Excerpts of an interview with Ice Cube and journalist Barbara Nevins on CNBC in 1991
  • "Rock Steady" by Aretha Franklin
  • "Dinner Conversation" from Scarface

Dirty Mack

  • "Roto-Rooter" by Bootsy's Rubber Band
  • "Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop)", "P. Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)" and "Unfunky UFO" by Parliament

Don't Trust 'Em

Gangsta's Fairytale 2

Check Yo Self

Who Got the Camera?

Integration (Insert)

Say Hi to the Bad Guy

  • "P. Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)" by Parliament
  • "Shack Up (Part II)" by Banbarra

Check Yo Self (The Message Remix)

It Was a Good Day (Remix)

24 Wit An L

U Ain't Gonna Take My Life



Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[19] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[20] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Use in media[edit]

In the comedy series Fresh Off the Boat, 11-year old Eddie Huang (Hudson Yang) tries to impress his neighbor and babysitter Nichole (Luna Blaise) with a copy of The Predator featuring a huge Parental Advisory label. She decides to keep his copy after listening to it babysitting him and they end up bonding over it.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Chillin' with Cube". The Guardian. London. February 25, 2000.
  2. ^ "Billboard 我要发高端贴之 SOUNDSCAN历周冠军专辑销量!!!_billboard吧_贴吧". Retrieved 2012-03-05.
  3. ^ "SoundScan Album Sales 10/12/2005 – Home Recording forums". 2005-10-14. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
  4. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. "The Predator – Ice Cube". AllMusic. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
  5. ^ Coletti, Christopher (April 4, 2003). "Ice Cube". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
  6. ^ DeRogatis, Jim (November 26, 1992). "Ice Cube Zeros in on 'Predator'". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on November 19, 2018. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Sandow, Greg (November 20, 1992). "The Predator". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
  8. ^ Hilburn, Robert (November 15, 1992). "Post-Riot Fury Fuels Ice Cube's 'Predator'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  9. ^ "Ice Cube: The Predator". Q (76): 82. January 1993.
  10. ^ Smith, Danyel (January 7, 1993). "Ice Cube: The Predator". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 19, 2008. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
  11. ^ Relic, Peter (2004). "Ice Cube". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 400–01. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  12. ^ Higginbotham, Adam (March 1993). "Ice Cube: The Predator". Select (33): 72.
  13. ^ "Ice Cube: The Predator". Uncut (73): 113. June 2003.
  14. ^ a b "Music: The Predator (CD) by Ice Cube". Archived from the original on 2007-03-11.
  15. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  16. ^ "The Predator [Bonus Tracks] - Ice Cube | Release Info | AllMusic". AllMusic.
  17. ^ "Ice Cube on WhoSampled". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2015-10-03.
  18. ^ "Ice Cube - The Predator". Discogs. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  19. ^ "British album certifications – Ice Cube – The Predator". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type The Predator in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  20. ^ "American album certifications – Ice Cube – The Predator". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  21. ^ "01x07 - Showdown at the Golden Saddle - Fresh Off the Boat Transcripts -". Forever Dreaming. Retrieved 24 May 2016.