Fans anxiously awaited their “invitation to the Gangsta Nation” Friday night from the emcee who popularized gangsta rap. Fiery visuals set the mood after an opening set from rapper Westside Boogie (real name Anthony Tremaine Dixson). A haze filled the audience as Ice Cube (real name O’Shea Jackson Sr.) stepped onto the Mission Ballroom floor with a surprise guest.
Ice Cube took the stage and extended his own invitation to long-time friend and collaborator WC (real name William LaShawn Calhoun Jr). Hyping up the crowd, they celebrated their Denver fan base. This was Ice Cube’s second Colorado stop during his 2023 tour, one day after the 4/20 holiday.
The two artists previously formed the supergroup Westside Connection with Mac 10 (real name Dedrick D’Mon Rolison). Westside Connection made a major footprint in the hip-hop community during the ’90s to early 2000s. The emcees paid tribute to the rap collective, reciting “The Pledge” from their platinum ’96 album Bow Down, in addition to its famous title track.
Vivid graphics captured the attention of the audience and raised the bar from the typical hip-hop set. Animations with images of Ice Cube, clips from Friday, music videos, and trippy visuals complemented the energy of his performance. The crowd enthusiastically threw their Ws up for the duo.
The shoulder-to-shoulder crowd echoed lyrics and bounced to the beat of classic songs. Between “Gangsta Nation” and “Straight Outta Compton,” Ice Cube delivered something for everyone. The emcee kept it old school while showcasing some fancy footwork.
Filling the sold-out ballroom with infectious beats, Ice Cube gave hip-hop heads exactly what they needed. He wasn’t afraid to get down with the crowd, or get high! They brought the heat to an otherwise frigid night. Fans could all agree, “It Was a Good Day.”