Living with a nine-year-old in 2016 is funny. When I was his age, Ice Cube was one of the most dangerous individuals alive. Not because he was mass murdering people, but his pen game was furious enough to move mountains. It was surprising to see him hop onto the silver screen as Doughboy in Boyz n the Hood, but it was REALLY surprising to see him then write and star in the Friday series. People soon realized that there was more to Cube than the aggressive, militant MC that became a household name for telling the police to fuck off. That was also a good four years after he started acting, and a good two decades before his next film, Barbershop: The Next Cut, an "unlikely sequel" to the Barbershop comedy series that finds him literally squashing his beef with Common to play barbers in today's Chicago.
Back in the early 1990s, there weren't these kinds of opportunities for rappers. Back in the early 1990s, we had films like Trespass.
If you aren't up on Trespass, you should be. The 1992 action/thriller was written in the 1970s by Back to the Future mavens Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale (!) and starred Cube (in his second film role) alongside Ice T and Bill Paxton. The film was simple: two firemen from Arkansas find a map that shows them where a bunch of gold is stashed in an abandoned building in East St. Louis. When the firemen try to swoop in and remove the gold, their plans are thwarted by a gang (led by Ice T as "King James" and featuring Ice Cube as one of his enforcers, Savon) who were there to pull a 187, which the firemen witness. This leads to a stalemate, with both the gang and the firemen scheming to make it out of the building—with all of the gold.
Is it a great film? Not necessarily. The story was different than what you'd expect for a vehicle involving two rappers in the early '90s, but it's a pretty one-note film that explores the power dynamics in gangs and how that can go awry, as well as the obvious over-arching theme of "greed consumes us all." It is dope to see Cube's charisma on screen. It's not Doughboy 2—the jheri curl has been cut—but he's still loud, brash, and ready to bust a cap. He even rocks a gold tooth.
The film also didn't do well in the box office; according to Wikipedia, the $14 million budget wasn't met in box office sales (with the film pulling in around $13.7 million), and its release was met with some snags. The original title was The Looters, and the film was due out on July 3, 1992, but was thwarted by the 1992 Los Angeles riots. The film had to be retooled (gaining it's final title) and re-marketed, which included a new ending being conceived. On the bright side, it birthed a collab between Cube and Ice-T, "Trespass."
Ultimately, Trespass highlighted just how viable Cube and Ice-T were as movie stars, with the two of them becoming some of the biggest rapper-turned-actors in the history of rappers turning into actors. It's one of those Saturday evening action flicks where you get to see rappers doing hood shit in a film that won't sit with you after it's over. If that's your thing, this is your movie.