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The Art of Storytelling: My Summer Vacation

The genius storytelling behind “My Summer Vacation” from Ice Cube

By Joe PattersonPublished about a month ago Updated 30 days ago 4 min read

“Damn, G, the spot's gettin' hot

So how the fuck am I supposed to make a knot?

Police looking at niggas through a microscope

In L.A. everybody and they mama sell dope

They trying to stop it

So what the fuck can I do to make a profit?

Catch a flight to St. Louis

That's cool, 'cause nobody knew us”

When discussing the greatest storytellers in the history of Hip Hop, Ice Cube is certainly among one of the greatest. One day Ice Cube and his rap crew Da Lench Mob went to St. Louis, Missouri, looking to set up shop and perform a show as Ice Cube was in the earliest stages of his solo career from NWA. While getting their set ready they encountered some of the young men of the streets who questioned who they were and where they came from. They also noticed the crew’s gang affiliation and boy were they intrigued. This encounter led to Ice Cube writing what is one of the best songs off his 1991 sophomore album titled Death Certificate as well as a song that displays the true art of storytelling.

🎶We stepped off the plane

Four gang bangers, professional crack slangers

Rented a car at wholesale

Drove to the ghetto, and checked in a motel

Unpacked and I grab the three-eighty

'Cause where we stayin', niggas look shady

But they can't fade South Central

'Cause bustin' a cap is fundamental

Peepin' out every block close

Seein' which one will clock the most

Yeah, this is the one, no doubt

Bust a U, Bone, and let's clear these niggas out🎶

“My Summer Vacation” chronicles the 1991 journey of a group of drug dealing gang members on the streets of inner city Los Angeles who are forced to flee to another territory when pressure from law enforcement starts coming down heavy on their crew. The group looks to start a new chapter in their crime filled activities in St. Louis, Missouri, a wave that will eventually attract both support and resistance from the local gangs and hustlers from the streets of St. Louis.

🎶Now clearin' 'em out meant casualties

Still had the L.A. mentality

Bust a cap, and outta there in a hurry

Wouldn't you know? A drive-by in Missouri

Them fools got popped

Took they corner next day, set up shop

And it's better than slangin' in the Valley

Triple the profit makin' more than I did in Cali

Breakin' off rocks like Barney Rubble

'Cause them mark-ass niggas don't want trouble

And we ain't on edge when we do work

Police don't recognize the khakis and the sweatshirts🎶

At first glance it seems like the dope business in the new territory is progressing well for the LA crew. They knocked off competition, tripled their profits, gained a loyal following from the locals and evaded law enforcement, but even all bad things don’t last. Before long they face further resistance from the rival crews of St. Louis and law enforcement has finally become savvy to the nature of the Los Angeles lifestyle.

🎶My homie got shot, he's a goner, black

St. Louis niggas want they corner back

Shootin' in snowy weather

It's illegal business, niggas still can't stick together

Fuckin' police got the 4-1-1

That L.A. ain't all surf and sun

But we ain't thinkin' 'bout the boys

Feudin' like the Hatfields and McCoys

Now the shit's gettin' tricky

'Cause now they lookin' for the colors and the Dickies

Damn, the spot's gettin' hot from the battle

About to pack up and start slangin' in Seattle

But the NARCs raid about six in the mornin'

Try to catch a nigga when he's yawnin'

Put his Glock to my chest as I pause

Went to jail in my motherfuckin' drawers

Tryna give me fifty-seven years

Face’ll be full of those tattooed tears🎶

The heat in St. Louis starts turning up higher as one of the Los Angeles gang members is killed by a rival seeking to regain control of the territory. Law enforcement is also now fully hip to the workibb my gs of the Los Angeles crew and now Cube and his crew have decided to pack up and head for Seattle, Washington, an escape plan that is abruptly shattered when they are arrested by law enforcement. From here Cube contemplates what will happen in the impending future of life imprisonment and the hostile nature of prison life.

🎶You got to deal with the Crips and the Bloods by hand, G

Plus the Black Guerilla family

And the white pride don't like no side

And it's a riot if any one of us die

No parole or probation

Now this is a young man's summer vacation

No chance for rehabilitation

'Cause look at the motherfuckin' years that I'm facin'

I'ma end it like this 'cause you know what's up

My life is fucked🎶

What makes “My Summer Vacation” such a brilliant song is the realistic fiction mixed with facts of what actually happened. Though the story was inspired by how Cube and his crew were addressed by the locals of St. Louis, the fiction of the story is a great metaphor for how Cube’s music inspired the natives of St. Louis in real life, as well as how they were also effected by west coast gang culture.

The story also carries a conscious message with it due to its ending. I love how at the ending everything goes bad for Cube and his crew by them ending up dead and in prison. It’s basically telling the listener that though you think the gangster life sounds glamorous, it comes at a price and that price is your future, so it’s not worth living. This song represents the consciousness of gangster rap and a great example of why Ice Cube is my biggest influence from Hip Hop. It also displays why Ice Cube is a master in the art of storytelling.

~Today is Ice Cube’s birthday, so this article is also a birthday tribute to Ice Cube.


About the Creator

Joe Patterson

Hi I'm Joe Patterson. I am a writer at heart who is a big geek for film, music, and literature, which have all inspired me to be a writer. I rap, write stories both short and long, and I'm also aspiring to be an author and a filmmaker.

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Comments (1)

  • Babs Iverson30 days ago

    Fantastic!!! Loved it!!!❤️❤️💕

Joe PattersonWritten by Joe Patterson

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