In the upcoming Ride Along, Kevin Hart plays a guy who proposes to his girlfriend and gets subjected to a very long day of mayhem by her cop brother. Teaming up the gruff, angry Ice Cube with the hilarious, panicky Hart is an inspired casting choice, especially since you won't find two guys with such wildly different careers. Let's take a look back in time and see how these two came to be where they are.
And since both Ice Cube and Kevin Hart tend to work blue, note that just about every video featured here is NSFW.
Before he was a legendary solo act and movie-screen regular, Ice Cube (aka O'Shea Jackson) was a writer and collaborator with other artists, performing at parties and struggling to make it big. His first touch with fame came with the formation of the hip-hop group N.W.A., whose brand of angry gangster rap stirred controversy and won countless fans.
Like all stand-up comedians, Kevin Hart had to start somewhere. In his case, that meant open-mic and amateur nights, which often led to him being heckled and booed off the stage. After years of honing his act and onstage persona, Hart's unique voice finally began to take shape.
Hitting It Big
By the early '90s, Ice Cube had embarked onto his solo career, releasing albums and EPs the success of which were only matched by their controversial lyrics. Music success led to one of the most important moments in his career: his casting as Doughboy in John Singleton's Oscar-nominated film Boyz N the Hood. From this point on, he would divide his time between music and film, conquering both worlds.
As his stand-up career began to heat up, Kevin Hart began to nab roles in a number of high- (and low-) profile projects. If you were watching comedies in the '00s, you were bound to see him pop up now and again. He appeared in Scary Movie 3, Scary Movie IV, Along Came Polly and Soul Plane, but of all these minor performances, his bit part in Judd Apatow's The 40-Year-Old Virgin remains one of the funniest things he's ever done.
Although he continued to record albums throughout the '90s and early '00s, Ice Cube began to focus on appearing in more movies. In 1995, he cowrote and starred in the hugely successful Friday, which generated two sequels. He followed that up with an action-hero turn in Anaconda, went prestige in David O. Russell's excellent Three Kings and headlined the smash hit Barbershop. To paraphrase one of his most famous songs, it was a good decade.
After years of stealing scenes in other people's movies, Kevin Hart's stand-up career finally took off in a huge way. In 2013, all of his hard work finally paid off with the concert film Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, which was filmed at a sold-out show in New York City's Madison Square Garden. Lots of comics make concert films, but few of them are released in theaters and even fewer gross $32 million at the box office.
Although Ice Cube's legacy was already secure, he experienced a bit of a rough patch in the mid-'00s. The man whose music once upset parents all over the United States was now starring in family-friendly schlock like Are We There Yet? and its equally terrible sequel Are We Done Yet?. The man who once personified street toughness was now fumbling his way through lousy action movies like XXX 2: State of the Union.
You don't rise to success without hitting a few bumps or taking a few gigs for a paycheck. Even Hart found himself occasionally scraping the bottom of the barrel, showing up in dreck like Superhero Movie and (the somehow even worse) Extreme Movie. While he probably relished the chance to work with Eddie Murphy (one of his personal heroes), there's no denying that genuine awfulness of Meet Dave.
Ice Cube pulled out of his movie slump and has found a new groove: playing foul-mouthed authority figures. Yes, one of the most famous gangster rappers is now one of modern cinema's funniest cops, stealing scenes from Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in 21 Jump Street and playing a tough-as-nails detective in the upcoming Ride Along. Offscreen, he continues to make music and produces the TV adaptation of Are We There Yet?. No one can say that he's not keeping busy.
With the box office success of Let Me Explain, the sky is officially the limit for Kevin Hart. Besides Ride Along, he's in three additional 2014 films, including School Dance, About Last Night and Think Like a Man Too. Of course, there's also the just-announced Ride Along 2, which will move forward if the first one does well. His career really seems to have just begun.