For the second year in a row Ice Cube is teaming up with Coors Light on the search for the nation’s Coldest MC, and $20,000 is up for grabs. As a West Coast rap legend, whose 26-years-and-counting career spans from music to movies, you’d be hard pressed to find a judge better suited for a competition full of aspiring rap stars than Cube.
The L.A. native signed on to promote the Coors brand in 2011, appearing in ads aimed at widening the liquor company’s audience. Given his experience in music, aligning with the Coldest MC search was a natural fit. “Last year was my first time jumping on it [the tour] and we saw some great talent all over the country. This year we wanted to up the ante [and] see if we can get more flavor in there.” Cube told The Juice. “It’s just cool that Coors Light is reaching back when it comes to hip-hop and grabbing some of these young MCs with talent but no outlets.”
“A lot of people want to be signed but can’t find the right [record] label. Labels are not really signing [acts], they’re frustrated. So here you go, here’s the contest for you, so you can show the world what you got,” he continued.
Joining Ice Cube on the cross-country expedition are Bun B, and mixtape aficionado, DJ Drama. WIth three different music personalities on the bill, don’t count on Cube to be too specific on what he’s looking for. “We don’t want to influence the contest too much but with the semi-finalist we always give them a shot of advice, what they should do, or how they should feel,” Cube said. “I just try to look for somebody who [has] the talent, swag, song, mic and crowd control… someone who [has] the whole package.”
“I always look for people who are stars before they’re discovered; who already know it [but] the rest of the world is late,” he said. “That’s really what’s all about to me, you gotta’ know your talent. I know a lot of dudes that can rhyme but they don’t have the confidence they need to be a star. Confidence goes a long way when it comes to hip-hop.”
This year, Dallas and Chicago will be included in the eight-city tour roster. It’ll make stops in Charlotte, New Orleans, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Atlanta. From April 1- April 27, contestants — all of whom must be 21 and over — can upload an audio track or video submission of an original song to be voted on by fans until June 30. Once the top acts are chosen, semi-finalists will be picked in Chicago and Atlanta before heading to New York for the Aug. 1 grand finale concert where they’ll crown the winning lyricist.
In addition to the competition, Coors is throwing the 2013 Search For the Coldest tour, featuring performances from Juicy J, French Montana, Pusha T, and more.
While Cube is busy working with Coors, he’ll be pulling double-duty as both judge and performer, embarking on the ‘Kings Of the Mic’ tour alongside LL Cool J, De La Soul, and Public Enemy. The idea for the tour was born from the fan response after Cube, Public Enemy and LL Cool J did a set at 2013 SXSW. “I guess it sparked something. The promoters got to talking and people started to realize that this could be a dope package. I’ve toured with these dudes, and to come full circle 20 years later, you can’t beat it,” he said.
Cube, LL Cool J, De La Soul, and Public Enemy kick off the 25-date tour, ‘Kings of The Mic,’ on May 23 in Tucson, AZ.