Before emerging as a family-friendly actor (four words: Are We There Yet?), Cube was one of hip-hop's most political figures (three words: ''F--- Tha Police''). On the eve of his first album in six years, the independently produced Laugh Now, Cry Later (June 6), we had the 36-year-old entertainer retrace his steps from rap rebel to Hollywood player—and back.
STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON 1989
''N.W.A made it all right for artists pushing the envelope to be themselves: people like Marilyn Manson, Eminem, even South Park. ''
AMERIKKKA'S MOST WANTED 1990
''I couldn't get the best producer on the West Coast, Dr. Dre, so I used the best on the East Coast the Bomb Squad.''
BOYZ N THE HOOD 1991
''The response the movie got at Cannes, the Oscars it just made me say, 'You can do this.'''
''People probably don't know I co-wrote that. John Singleton said, 'If you can write a rap, you can write a movie.'''
THREE KINGS 1999
''Whenever you can hold your own with George Clooney on screen, it does a lot for your credibility.''
''That was a movie I wasn't sure I wanted to do. It wasn't very good until [the cast] put our twist on it.''
ARE WE THERE YET? 2005
''I try to do movies people can enjoy over and over. I have kids, so I relate to family movies.''
LAUGH NOW, CRY LATER 2006
''I had more fun on this record than any other in my career. Big companies put you on a conveyor-belt-type system. I don't have that baggage.''