For three decades, west coast rapper Ice Cube has covered plenty of ground in the entertainment industry.

Successful music career? Check.

Successful acting career? Check.

But label him at your own peril.

“I’m more than a rapper and this and that, so you should expect more,” Cube said of his many talents. “You shouldn’t expect the same old thing, not from me.”

WATCH ICE CUBE DISCUSS HIS LATEST PROJECTS w/ theGRIO’s TODD JOHNSON:
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VIDEO shot by Todd Johnson>

A native of South Central, Los Angeles, Ice Cube is now entering a new phase of his career: documentary filmmaker.

His new film, Straight Outta L.A. details the connection between the birth of west coast gangsta rap and the arrival of a professional football team in Los Angeles.

“The Raiders moving to L.A. really affected hip-hop in a lot of ways,” Cube said of the film, which is a part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series and premiere’s on the network May 11. ”[The Raiders] wore that silver and black and us attaching ourselves to that [pirate] logo kinda solidified it. It gave [our music] a true image, a true visual.”

The Raiders team and Cube’s pioneering rap group N.W.A. became instantly linked.

And the rest is history.

Cube said directing the ESPN project was a “filmmakers dream.” But he’s also been busy in the studio.

His ninth solo album, I Am The West, is scheduled for release July, 13.

“A lot of people on the West been searching, trying to figure out what people want to hear,” Cube said. ”I Am The West, to me is the perfect title of the perfect summer west coast album.”

One track, “Drink the Kool Aid,” included lyrics that led some to believe Cube was dissing long-time collaborator Dr. Dre—which Cube has repeatedly denied.

And then there was a blog post from Cube where he slammed some local L.A. rappers whom he felt weren’t appreciative of Cube’s contributions to the genre.

But for Cube, it’s all internet hype.

“One thing I’d never do was diss the man that got me started,” Cube said of Dr. Dre.

As for young artists coming up in hip-hop, Cube made it clear:

“You can’t take the baton and look to me to run for you. That ain’t going to happen.”

Follow theGrio’s Todd Johnson on Twitter at @rantoddj