Rapper Ice Cube says with his Priority "Greatest Hits" set ready to hit stores Dec. 4, he now considers himself a "free agent" after 11 years with the label. "The [album] is like the end of an era," h

Rapper Ice Cube says with his Priority "Greatest Hits" set ready to hit stores Dec. 4, he now considers himself a "free agent" after 11 years with the label. "The [album] is like the end of an era," he tells Billboard for the Dec. 1, 2001, issue. "It's time for me to go with a bigger label and do the kinds of things my career deserves. When you've been with an indie and see the money that goes into an Interscope or a Def Jam, you realize there's no way to compete [at a smaller label], in terms of spending those kinds of dollars."

As previously reported, "Greatest Hits" includes such favorites as "Check Yo' Self," "Bop Gun (One Nation)," and "You Know How We Do It," alongside two new cuts: the Neptunes-produced "In the Late Night Hour" and the Rockwilder-helmed "$100 Bill Y'all." The latter song debuted at No. 81 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart last week.

"With Rockwilder, I heard the beat and loved the music," Cube says. "The rhyme just came after that. The Neptunes came from a fan perspective. Once you've been on your own page for a while, it can be hard to dig for something new. When you get with someone who's good and also a fan, they can help pull something new out of you."

Ice Cube is currently filming the third installment of the "Friday" series of movies, "Friday After Next," which is due for a Thanksgiving 2002 theatrical release. He also stars as a bounty hunter in "All About the Benjamins," which is scheduled to hit U.S. theaters on March 8.

"If you listen to my records and skits, they're like the audio to a movie," he says. "That's why I also like the film end of things: to see how creative you can be in telling a story on a three-dimensional level."