Due to instant cinematic classics like XXX2: State of the Union and Barbershop 2: Back in Business, the name O'Shea Jackson (better known by his nom de mic Ice Cube) is on the lips of every film critic and aficionado in the nation. But in the MySpace/PlayStation generation, few of Mr. Jackson's adoring fans recall that he actually got his start as a musician rather than as a thespian. Now, after an illustrious career on the silver screen, Mr. Cube is returning to his musical roots and touring for the first time in 15 years. What prompted his return to the stage?

He had a good day

One sunny morning Ice woke up feeling strangely refreshed. His mother made him breakfast and he got a text message from a girl he was totally crushing on. Later, he won at dominoes, saw an adorable puppy, and found a heads-up quarter on the sidewalk. It is worth noting that his AK-47 went unused for the duration of this exceptionally good day. After a day like this, a return to the arena of rap could be nothing if not a complete success.

The Vin Diesel connection

Parallels between Vin Diesel and Ice Cube are undeniable. The most obvious connection is Mr. Cube's unconvincing replacement of Diesel in the sequel to XXX. Central casting should take note that Roger Moore at least vaguely resembled Sean Connery. Beyond that, they both had roles in vapid car-chase films (The Fast and the Furious vs. Torque) and horrid sci-fi stink bombs (Pitch Black vs. the utterly unwatchable Ghosts of Mars). Now, the hard-boiled Ice Cube has misguidedly followed Vin down the dead-end road of the tough-guy, family-friendly comedy. Sadly, it seems no one in Hollywood learned the lessons of Kindergarten Cop. But Ice has seen the writing on the wall and knows that Diesel's fluke of an acting career has the longevity of a mayfly. At least Ice Cube can fall back on the rap game.

Realized Dead Prez is awesome

In the late '90s, kids everywhere were exchanging their N.W.A. CDs for mom-friendly slow jams by Talib Kweli and Common. Ice Cube saw this hippie love-fest coming and bailed to become a barber. But that trend is long over, and so-called "gangsta" rap is once again resonating with America's white suburban youth. It's high time for Cube to come back strong and bring some red-hot party fire about robbing liquor stores and shooting people with shotguns.

Snakes on a Plane

After Anaconda, Ice Cube was the definitive stone-cold badass when it came to snakes on a boat. But with Samuel L. Jackson's magnum opus Snakes on a Plane hitting theaters this summer, Cube has been decidedly one-upped.

Disequilibrium in the bitches/money ratio

Ice Cube once famously quipped, "Life ain't nothing but bitches and money." While this philosophy might sound glamorous, maintaining this lifestyle is far from trivial. A career in acting may be pretty solid in the money department, but Hollywood is filled with a bunch of bulimic waitresses unworthy of being blessed by "Little Cube." He needs an around-the-way girl, and there is no better place to find one than on a nationwide rap tour.

No one will produce another Friday movie

Though no one would ever admit this to his face, every stoner alive knows that Chris Tucker, not Ice Cube, was the reason Friday was pretty much the best movie ever. Why Cube stayed on for the sequels when Tucker jumped ship remains another unsolved Hollywood mystery. No amount of marijuana can change the fact that Next Friday and The Friday After Next sucked worse than Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

Jon Voight made him do it

It may seem hard to believe, but Jon Voight is a hiphop fanatic in a big way. It's a little-known fact that back in '91 Voight fronted the gangsta-rap clique Death Mobb. Their act was highly influenced by N.W.A. and they even scored a minor hit with the song "Take Them Droors Off." Years later Voight catapulted Cube's acting career by securing him his critically acclaimed role in Anaconda. Since then, the two have become inseparable creative confidants. When Voight told Cube it was time to move on, Cube knew it was so. Insiders are reporting a Death Mobb reunion is in the works. Get ready.

editor@thestranger.com