Ice Cube is making the case that it’s hip to be a square.
The rapper and actor executive produces VH1’s reality competition series Hip Hop Squares, which brings together the biggest names in hip hop, comedy and entertainment as they put their pop knowledge of pop culture and hip hop to the test.
“Once we started booking the artists I knew we were going to have a hot show because you’re getting all of these different personalities in the room and letting them be themselves and play a game of tic-tac-toe,” Ice Cube, 47, tells PEOPLE of the show’s success.
“What’s a trip is, some of [the contestants] didn’t even know how to play tic-tac-toe and had never played it because it’s a whole new generation,” he continues. “But I knew it was going to be fun.”
Ice Cube calls the show, hosted by comedian DeRay Davis, “entertaining TV” because of how the contestants are “able to show a different side of themselves” and “really let loose.”
Though he has been one of the biggest names in hip hop and rap for decades, Ice Cube admits that even he has learned new things in the process.
“Everyone thinks that if you’re into hip hop or you rap that you know every trivia or pop question out there,” he says. “There’s stuff on there that I’m like, ‘Oh, really?’ There are some answers that I would have gotten wrong.”
He adds: “But what’s cool is we’re talking about everything. It’s really about pop culture. That opens us up. Anybody who’s been in pop culture can be on the show. As long as they’re an interesting person, it’s going to work.”
Among his favorite guests on the show so far have been rapper T.I. and comedian Michael Blackson.
“T.I. is great,” he says. “He’s kind of like our cornerstone because he’s there every episode. People love to see him. Then you’ve got people like Michael Blackson, who’s crazy.”
There is one person Ice Cube has in mind when it comes to his dream contestant, though — Denzel Washington.
“If we could get Denzel on there, somebody people really don’t get to see in that capacity, it’d be fun.”
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Ice Cube will have plenty of opportunities to add more all-star guests to the lineup since Hip Hop Squares was renewed for a second season on Thursday.
Hip Hop Squares airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on VH1, with two new episodes airing per night.
•Reporting by JANINE RUBENSTEIN