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Ice Cube

Ice Cube

1969—

Rap musician, songwriter, music producer, actor

"With an eye that magnifies brutal characters and violent situations, Ice exposes a world that seems on the brink of exploding in the ear of the listener," wrote Havelock Nelson and Michael Gonzales in their book, Bring the Noise: A Guide to Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture. A native of South Central Los Angeles who recorded with the notorious group N.W.A. before going solo, Ice Cube has often been a lightning rod for controversy; his N.W.A. song "F— tha Police" and solo raps like "Black Korea" have elicited angry denunciations, threats, and protests. Yet Ice Cube has argued repeatedly that his lyrics simply hold a mirror up to the reality of inner-city life. In the meantime, his records have gone multiplatinum, he developed an avid following among young white rock fans, and he gained even more fame by highlighting his kind, comedic personality in two spectacularly profitable film franchises: Friday and Barbershop. The contrast between his gangsta rap career and his film comedies seem perfectly reasonable to Ice Cube. As he told UPI NewsTrack: "You can't pigeonhole me into anything."

Rap Grabbed His Attention

Ice Cube was born O'Shea Jackson in 1969—four years after the Watts Riots shook the foundations of Los Angeles and placed the race relations crisis in focus for the nation. His mother, Doris, who, like O'Shea's father, Hosea, hailed from the southern United States, named her son after her favorite football player, O. J. Simpson. A better-than-average student, he attended Hawthorne Christian School where he dabbled in sports. Like many of his friends, O'Shea committed a few petty crimes but was not involved in heavy gang violence. While funk and soul dominated inner-city radio during his youth, nothing caught O'Shea's ear quite the new sounds of rap that arrived toward the end of the 1970s. "When I first heard [the Sugarhill Gang's] ‘Rapper's Delight,’ I couldn't stop rewinding it," he told Art Form. "It did nothing but grab me. By the age of 14, I was writing my own raps, and seeing [influential "gansta" rapper] Ice-T in concert for the first time."

O'Shea—who now called himself Ice Cube—was also hanging around with his friend Jinx, who shared his passion for rap. After hearing Ice Cube's first rap—written during typing class—Jinx agreed to make a tape with him. Ice Cube admitted to Rolling Stone that this early effort was "pathetic. The beat was going, and I was over in the left corner. The lyrics, they were cool, but they wasn't no exciting type of mind-boggling shit. I was only 15, you know." In 1986, Jinx's cousin, Dr. Dre, hooked Ice Cube up with Eric "Eazy E" Wright, who had financed an independent record label—Ruthless Records—with proceeds from his drug dealing. Eazy asked Ice Cube to write material for a New York-based group called HBO, which had signed with Ruthless.

Ice Cube collaborated with Dr. Dre on a track called "Boyz-n-the-Hood," an uncompromising tune about life on the streets of Compton. HBO didn't want the song, so Eazy recorded the song himself in 1986. Then he, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre became Niggas With Attitude, or N.W.A. The group's records—many written and rapped by Ice Cube—garnered them a following, and they seemed embarked on a lucrative career. But Ice Cube's mother insisted that he get an education, so at age 18, he headed off for the Phoenix Institute of Technology. After a yearlong drafting course, Ice Cube returned to Los Angeles and started up with the group in earnest.

Founded Gangsta Rap with N.W.A.

Ice Cube wrote material for Eazy's solo effort, Eazy-Duz-It, Ruthless released in 1988. N.W.A.'s first LP, Straight Outta Compton, appeared on the Priority label in 1989. Featuring the controversial single "F—tha Police," which prompted a threatening letter to the record company from the FBI, the album went platinum in three months without the benefit of any radio airplay. Listening to the album, Nelson and Gonzales wrote in Bring the Noise, "is like sitting in the Theatre of Urban Mojo, staring at rapidly changing images of ghetto angst." While the authors charge that the band received harsh criticism because it told the truth about young black men's lives, they admit that the songs are an assault on the listener. Yet, they add, "in some way one cannot help but become attracted to the brutal images—it's like staring at an auto accident."

Despite N.W.A.'s massive success, Ice Cube got into a dispute with the group's manager, Jerry Heller. After a 50-city tour and record grosses of over $3 million, Ice Cube found he'd earned a mere $32,000. Following further negotiations he was compensated, but decided to leave the group. "N.W.A.'s still a strong group without Ice Cube," the rapper remarked to Musician. "But Ice Cube is not as strong with N.W.A. as he is by himself." He formed his own label, Street Knowledge, hiring new talent such as female rapper Yo-Yo. His first solo album, AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted—released on Priority in 1990—was quickly certified platinum. Produced in collaboration with Public Enemy's Chuck D. and the Bomb Squad, the album convinced many that Ice Cube was the real force behind N.W.A.'s hardest-hitting work, and that as a solo artist he would be a major force. Spin called it "a masterpiece." Yo-Yo debuted on the track "It's a Man's World," matching Ice Cube's well-known sexism with savvy responses; some listeners viewed her inclusion as a tempering of Ice Cube's alleged misogyny. Indeed, Ice Cube also produced Yo-Yo's 1990 album Make Way For the Motherlode and would serve as executive producer on her 1992 sophomore effort, Black Pearl. Still, Nelson and Gonzales declared that "the sexism found on [AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted] is counterproductive to the goals of the struggle" for black liberation.

In 1991, Priority released Ice Cube's Kill At Will, another highly successful record that earned strong reviews. Art Form praised the single "Dead Homiez" as "a harrowing and sorrowful tale of a funeral for a friend." That same year, Ice Cube made his acting debut in John Singleton's hit movie Boyz N' the Hood, playing the haunted, violent Doughboy to generally favorable reviews.

With the release of Death Certificate, Ice Cube once again plunged into controversy. Apparently anti-Semitic references to Heller in "No Vaseline" and hostile words for Korean grocers in "Black Korea" triggered a wave of protests from organizations like the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; even Billboard condemned the record in an editorial. Ice Cube's apparent racism and misogyny sparked considerable comment, though he and some of his defenders noticed that critics were silent on the subject of black-on-black violence.

At the same time, however, Ice Cube impressed many critics with his prowess as a rapper and observer of life on the streets: Entertainment Weekly called 1991's Death Certificate "20 tracks of the most visceral music ever allowed in public," awarding it an "A-" grade. Spin admired the record's "big, slap-happy beats" but took Ice Cube to task for what critic Dimitri Ehrlich deemed racist, sexist, and homophobic material. Side one—the "Death Side"—begins with the sound of a funeral; "the life side" commences with a birth. "The ‘death’ side is the condition we're in now," Ice Cube explained to Ehrlich in Interview, adding that "There are more positive records on the ‘life’ side, because while the ‘death’ side shows you where we at, ‘life’ shows you where we going."

At a Glance …

Born O'Shea Jackson, c. 1969, in Los Angeles, CA; son of Hosea (a machinist and groundskeeper) and Doris (a hospital clerk) Jackson; married, Kimberly Jackson, 1993; children: four. Education: Phoenix Institute of Technology, graduated, 1988.

Career:

Rap singer, producer, actor. Member of and writer for rap group N.W.A., 1986-89; solo artist, 1989-; formed record production company, Street Knowledge, 1990; produced for rapper Yo Yo; Lench Mob, record production company, founder, 1992-; CubeVision, film production company, founder, 2000s-;.

Addresses:

Web—www.icecube.com.

Broadened Appeal

Following Ice-T's successful run on the first Lollapalooza traveling rock festival in 1991, Ice Cube appeared on the bill for Lollapalooza 2 in 1992, sharing the stage with funk-rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Seattle- based grungemeisters Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam, among many others. Almost every rock act on the bill heaped praise on Ice Cube, and the Chili Peppers went so far as to appear in a video for his 1992 album The Predator. Another, much more important event came between Death Certificate and The Predator, however: the Los Angeles riots in the spring of 1992. After a group of white police officers who were videotaped beating black motorist Rodney King were acquitted by an all-white jury, the city exploded in acts of random violence. Fans looked to Ice Cube for a definitive statement on the riots.

The Predator earned an "A-" from Entertainment Weekly's Greg Sandow, who observed that "what's most striking here are songs—Ice Cube's strongest, most cohesive work yet—about the perils of everyday South Central life." Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles Times—who called Ice Cube's first and second LPs "two of the most compelling albums ever in rap "—found that despite its consistencies, the album's best moments make it "essential listening." Still, Hilburn criticized the rapper for "failing to deal more directly with the events of [the riots]." The album debuted at Number One on the Billboard pop and rhythm and blues charts simultaneously, the first album to do so since Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life in 1976.

On top of enhanced fame from his new hit record, Ice Cube would soon become even better known thanks to another film role. This time he starred with Ice-T in the film Trespass, a crime thriller whose working title had been Looters but was changed in response to the 1992 riots. Meanwhile, Reflex magazine reported that Ice Cube had donated $25,000 to the Los Angeles-based Minority AIDS Project, and Option noted his donation of proceeds from a new single to post-riot relief efforts.

Struck Out on His Own

Just as The Predator was raiding the charts, Rolling Stone announced that N.W.A. had apparently disbanded. Ice Cube, however, appeared on top of his game. His 1993 release Lethal Injection was one of the year's most eagerly anticipated albums. While some critics praised it, Kevin Powell of Vibe declared it "not the masterpiece it could have been." Time, meanwhile, claimed that "Ice Cube's raps about police brutality and white immorality enter the ear and expand in the brain like a Black Talon bullet; his lyrics are sometimes inexcusable, but his logic is often inescapable. Ignore his high-caliber insights at your peril."

Bell Hooks, a feminist theorist, explored Ice Cube's perceived misogyny and thoughts on attaining black self-love in an interview with the rapper published in Spin. "Black women have always been the backbone of the community," he declared, "and it's up to the black man to support the backbone." He also insisted that "I do records for black kids, and white kids are basically eavesdropping. White kids need to hear what we got to say about them, and their forefathers, and uncles, and everybody that's done us wrong." Additionally, he admitted wanting to move into "straight political records" but didn't want to change the content of his records too abruptly.

By 1994, Ice Cube's life had undergone some changes. Reported Vibe, "He's happily married, a follower of the beliefs of the Nation of Islam, and the father of a little namesake (O'Shea Jackson, Jr.), with a baby girl on the way. Fans and detractors alike will tell you that Ice Cube seems a lot less angry these days." He starred in Singleton's feature Higher Learning, directed some music videos, and announced plans to eventually move into feature film direction. Although the scourge of white America appeared to have gone mainstream, Lethal Injection had done little to rehabilitate Ice Cube in the eyes of his critics; in interviews, Ice Cube's more conciliatory remarks were still tempered with flareups of the old fury. He also trumpeted the Nation of Islam's demand for a separate black country. Yet the "new" Ice Cube reflected a more pragmatic sensibility; as he insisted to Vibe, "I know that killing a nigga' down the street ain't going to solve none of my problems at all. And I don't put that into my records, unless I'm explaining a situation. I ain't stupid no more. And some people can't deal with that."

Created Successful Films

The more mature and sensible Ice Cube also began to solidify the new direction in his professional life. The next few years would paint the rapper as more of a producer of movies than music. Ice Cube made his film writing debut in 1995 with the release of the hugely successful movie Friday. The film featured F. Gary Gray in the director's chair and comedian Chris Tucker in the costar seat. The movie launched the big screen career for both Gray—who had done videos for Ice Cube and Queen Latifah—and Tucker, who had experienced success with HBO's Def Comedy Jam. With a budget of $2 million, Friday has since grossed more than $80 million dollars.

Ice Cube acted as executive producer and star in his next movie, Dangerous Ground, and costarred in horror flick Anaconda with Jennifer Lopez. And as he planned, his ever-changing position in Hollywood film-making was approaching a milestone. His next role would be as director, writer and actor in The Players Club. This directorial debut for Ice Cube had a bigger budget than Friday—$5 million—and proved with opening week returns of more than $8 million, to be a financial success as well. The Players Club boasted the highest per-screen gross of the movies opening during the same weekend. Ice Cube, now a rapper, writer, producer, actor and director, was also now a member of the small Hollywood Club of moneymaking film directors.

With the confidence that success was possible in the film world, Ice Cube went back to his roots recording War & Peace, a two volume disc set that dropped Volume 1, in 1998. War & Peace, Vol. 1 (The War Disc) debuted with mild reviews. The rap artist, however, was still applauded for his impressive rhyme flow. He also tackled more movie roles, staring in Three Kings with George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg in 1999. War & Peace, Vol. 2 (The Peace Disc) was released in 2000 and has sold close to 750,000 units. To promote the release, Ice Cube joined the successful Up In Smoke Tour during the summer. Along with Ice Cube, the tour featured Dr. Dre, Eminem, and Snoop Doggy Dogg.

Ice Cube also revisited his early success with a follow up to FridayNext Friday. His production company, CubeVision, produced the movie for New Line Cinema as part of production pact that had extended through 2002. The production pact folded after New Line turned down several projects recommended by Ice Cube. He then began working on two films slated for release in 2001: Ghost of Mars and All About the Benjamins. Ice Cube has placed great stock in advice his mentor, John Singleton, has offered. "He said if you can write a record, you can write a movie," Ice Cube explained in Jet. Following that advice, Ice Cube has found great success as a filmmaker, as well as a musician.

As a filmmaker Ice Cube continued the Friday franchise with another sequel, Friday After Next. The three films were blockbusters. He followed that success up with another comedy Barbershop. Barbershop included several controversial statements by a character played by Cedric the Entertainer. Cedric played a grumpy barber who spouted off about his grievances against Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Jesse Jackson. The comments sparked conversations throughout communities and even prompted Rosa Parks to decline an invitation to an NAACP Image award presentation ceremony in which both Barbershop and her life story were nominated for an award in 2002. The sequel, Barbershop 2: Back in Business, contained decidedly tamer material. These films too were box office hits.

Ice Cube continued his comedy output and box office success with Are We There Yet? in 2005 and its sequel Are We Done Yet? two years later. The films are comic romps about Nick Persons, played by Ice Cube, a once-carefree bachelor who tries to adjust to married life with stepchildren. In 2007 Ice Cube was developing a reality-based television show for the A&E network entitled Good in the Hood about reformed criminals who help others turn their lives around.

Comfortable with Dual Image

Ice Cube's attention to his softer sensibilities did not cloud his vision for his harder edges. He grew increasingly frustrated with the direction rap music was going: toward innocuous party music and away from social commentary. To inform young rappers and rap music listeners of his desires for change, Ice Cube wrote and produced a new album Laugh Now, Cry Later. He included songs about child support, the perils of drug dealing, and assessments of President George Bush and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger governance. Cutting through the lighter fare played on rap radio stations, singles from Laugh Now, Cry Later quickly rose to the top of the charts. "Why We Thugs" stayed among the top ten for over a month and the album was named by Jet among the top 20 albums not long after its release. His acting also included serious fare; he appeared in xXx: State of the Union as a NSA agent involved in stopping a military overthrow of the U.S. government.

His phenomenal success with both his intense music and his comedy films reveal Ice Cube's interest in expressing himself and connecting to his audience. "I have never worried about being hard or soft. I have always just been myself," Cube told Lydia Martin of the Miami Herald. "I'm concerned about being a man. Being a badass doesn't turn me on. That's an image; that's a gimmick. I mean, I still have hardcore records left in me…and hardcore movies. But I thought this was the perfect time in my career to make some movies for the whole family and reach another generation. I figure my core audience has kids who need something to connect to." Still married, Ice Cube's own family had grown to four children. With a solid family foundation and thriving business ventures, Ice Cube's desire to turn his creative impulses into marketable projects predicted much future success for him.

Selected works

Albums with N.W.A.

Boyz-n-the-Hood, Priority, 1986.

Straight Outta Compton, Priority, 1989.

Albums, solo

AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, Priority, 1990.

Kill at Will, Priority, 1991.

Death Certificate, Priority, 1991.

The Predator, Priority, 1992.

Lethal Injection, Priority, 1993.

War & Peace, Vol. 1, (The War Disc), Priority, 1998.

War & Peace, Vol. 2, (The Peace Disc), Priority, 2000.

Laugh Now, Cry Later, Lench Mob, 2006.

Films

Boyz N' the Hood, 1991.

Trespass, 1993.

CB4, 1993.

Higher Learning, 1994.

Friday, (also writer) 1995.

Dangerous Ground, (also executive producer) 1997.

Anaconda, 1997.

Players Club, (also writer and director) 1998.

I Got the Hook Up, 1998.

Three Kings, 1999.

Next Friday, (also writer) 2000.

Shadow Man, 2000.

Ghost of Mars, 2001.

All About the Benjamins, 2002.

Barbershop, 2002.

Friday After Next, 2002.

Barbershop 2: Back in Business, 2004.

Are We There Yet?, 2005.

xXx: State of the Union, 2005.

Are We Done Yet?, 2007.

Sources

Books

Nelson, Havelock, and Michael Gonzales, Bring the Noise: A Guide to Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture, Harmony Books, 1991, pp. 87-89.

Periodicals

Art Form, 1992, pp. 42-49.

Daily Variety, November 23, 1992, p. 6; March 13, 2007, p. 3.

Entertainment Weekly, November 15, 1991, p. 90-91; November 20, 1992, p. 88; May 12, 1995, p. 43; April 17, 1998, p. 48; October 8, 1999, p. 22; April 13, 2007, p. 55.

Hollywood Reporter, January, 2001.

Interview, December 1991, p. 89.

Jet, February 28, 2000, pp. 58.

Los Angeles Times, November 15, 1992, p. 64.

Men's Health, September 2006, p. 104.

Miami Herald, April 5, 2007.

Musician, March 1991, pp. 58-61.

Newsweek, December 2, 1991, p. 69; April 27, 1998, pp. 72; June 19, 2006, p. 58.

Option, July 1992, p. 146.

Pulse!, August 1992, p. 65.

Reflex, November 10, 1992, p. 11.

Rolling Stone, October 4, 1990, pp. 78-86, 166.

Spin, January 1992; March 1992, pp. 33-37; April 1993.

Time, January 3, 1994, p. 85.

Variety, January 17, 2000, pp. 50.

Vibe, February 1994; March 1994, pp. 41-46.

On-line

Ice Cube,www.icecube.com (April 9, 2007).

Other

UPI NewsTrack, April 5, 2007.

—Simon Glickman, Leslie Rochelle, and Sara Pendergast

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Ice Cube 1969–

Ice Cube 1969

Rap singer, songwriter, actor

At a Glance

N.W.A. Shook Rap World

Solo Success

Attacked as Racist

Widened Appeal on Tour

End of N.W.A.; Continued Solo Success

Not Your Average Rap Artist

Selected work

Sources

With an eye that magnifies brutal characters and violent situations, Ice [Cube] exposes a world that seems on the brink of exploding in the ear of the listener, wrote Havelock Nelson and Michael Gonzales in their book, Bring the Noise: A Guide to Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture. A native of South Central Los Angeles who recorded with the notorious group N.W.A. before going solo, Ice Cube has often been a lightning rod for controversy; his N.W.A. song Ftha Police and solo raps like Black Korea have elicited angry denunciations, threats, and protests. Yet Cube has argued repeatedly that his lyrics simply hold a mirror up to the reality of inner-city life. In the meantime, his records have gone platinum, his participation in the 1992 Lollapalooza festival gained him an avid following among young white rock fans, and his appearances in films and cultivation of other acts have opened up new career avenues. He has also demonstrated an evolving view of race issues.

Ice Cube was born OShea Jackson in 1969four years after the Watts Riots shook the foundations of Los Angeles and placed the race relations crisis in focus for the nation. His mother, Doris, who, like OSheas father, Hosea, hailed from the southern United States, named her son after her favorite football player, O. J. Simpson. A better-than-average student, he attended Hawthorne Christian School where he dabbled in sports. Like many of his friends, OShea committed a few petty crimes but was not involved in heavy gang violence. While funk and soul dominated inner-city radio during his youth, nothing caught OSheas ear quite like the new sounds of rap that arrived toward the end of the 1970s. When I first heard [the Sugarhill Gangs] Rappers Delight, I couldnt stop rewinding it, he told Art Form. It did nothing but grab me. By the age of 14, I was writing my own raps, and seeing [influential gansta rapper] Ice-T in concert for the first time.

OSheawho now called himself Ice Cubewas also hanging around with his friend Jinx, who shared his passion for rap. After hearing Cubes first rapwritten during typing classJinx agreed to make a tape with him. Cube admitted to Rolling Stone that this early effort was pathetic. The beat was going, and I was over in the left corner. The lyrics, they were cool, but they wasnt no exciting type of mind-boggling shit. I was only 15, you know. In 1986 Jinxs cousin, Dr. Dre, hooked Cube up with Eric Eazy E Wright, who

At a Glance

Born OShea Jackson, c. 1969, in Los Angeles, CA; son of Hosea (a machinist and groundskeeper) and Doris (a hospital clerk) Jackson; married, Kimberly Jackson, 1993; children, Darryl, OShea Jr., Kareema. Education: Phoenix Institute of Technology, graduated, 1988.

Career: Rap singer, producer, actor. Member of and writer for rap group N.W.A., 1986-89; solo artist, 1989-; solo albums include: AmeriKKKas Most Wanted, 1990; Death Certificate, 1991; The Predator, 1992; Lethal Injection, 1993; War & Peace, Vol 1 (The War Disc), 1998; War & Peace, Vol. 2 (The Peace Disc), 2000; formed record production company, Street Knowledge, 1990; produced for rapper Yo Yo; formed record production company, Lynch Mob, 1992; directed music videos, 1993; films include: Boyz N the Hood, 1991; Trespass, 1993; CB4, 1993; Higher Learning, 1994; Friday, (also writer) 1995; Dangerous Ground, (also executive producer) 1997; Anaconda, 1997; Players Club, (also writer and director) 1998; I Got the Hook Up, 1998; Three Kings, 1999; Next Friday, (also writer) 2000; Shadow Man, 2000; Ghost of Mars, 2001; All About the Benjamins, 2001; formed movie production company, CubeVision.

Addresses: Record company Priority Records, 6430 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028. Production company Cubevision Productions, 6809 Victoria Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90043.

had financed an independent record labelRuthless Recordswith proceeds from his drug dealing. Eazy asked Cube to write material for a New York-based group called HBO, which had signed with Ruthless.

N.W.A. Shook Rap World

Cube collaborated with Dr. Dre on a track called Boyz-n-the-Hood, an uncompromising tune about life on the streets of Compton. HBO didnt want the song, so Eazy recorded the song himself in 1986. Then he, Cube and Dr. Dre became Niggas With Attitude, or N.W.A. The groups recordsmany written and rapped by Cubegarnered them a following, and they seemed embarked on a lucrative career. But Cubes mother insisted that he get an education, so at age 18, he headed off for the Phoenix Institute of Technology. After a year-long drafting course, Cube returned to Los Angeles and started up with the group in earnest.

Cube wrote material for Eazys solo effort, Eazy-Duz-It, Ruthless released in 1988. N.W.A.s first LP, Straight Outta Compton, appeared on the Priority label in 1989. Featuring the controversial single Ftha Police, which prompted a threatening letter to the record company from the FBI, the album went platinum in three months without the benefit of any radio airplay. Listening to the album, Nelson and Gonzales wrote in Bring the Noise, is like sitting in the Theatre of Urban Mojo, staring at rapidly changing images of ghetto angst. While the authors charge that the band received harsh criticism because it told the truth about young black mens lives, they admit that the songs are an assault on the listener. Yet, they add, in some way one cannot help but become attracted to the brutal imagesits like staring at an auto accident.

Solo Success

Despite N.W.A.s massive success, Ice Cube got into a dispute with the groups manager, Jerry Heller. After a 50-city tour and record grosses of over $3 million, Cube found hed earned a mere $32,000. Following further negotiations he was compensated, but decided to leave the group. N.W.A.s still a strong group without Ice Cube, the rapper remarked to Musician. But Ice Cube is not as strong with N.W.A. as he is by himself. He formed his own label, Street Knowledge, hiring new talent such as female rapper Yo-Yo. His first solo album, AmeriKKKas Most Wanted released on Priority in 1990was quickly certified platinum. Produced in collaboration with Public Enemys Chuck D. and the Bomb Squad, the album convinced many that Cube was the real force behind N.W.A.s hardest-hitting work, and that as a solo artist he would be a major force. Spin called it a masterpiece. Yo-Yo debuted on the track Its a Mans World, matching Cubes well-known sexism with savvy responses; some listeners viewed her inclusion as a tempering of Cubes alleged misogyny. Indeed, Ice Cube also produced Yo-Yos 1990 album Make Way For the Motherlode and would serve as executive producer on her 1992 sophomore effort, Black Pearl. Still, Nelson and Gonzales declared that the sexism found on [AmeriKKKas Most Wanted] is counterproductive to the goals of the struggle for black liberation.

In 1991 Priority released Cubes Kill At Will, another highly successful record that earned strong reviews. Art Form praised the single Dead Homiez as a harrowing and sorrowful tale of a funeral for a friend. That same year, Cube made his acting debut in John Singletons hit movie Boyz N the Hood, playing the haunted, violent Doughboy to generally favorable reviews.

Attacked as Racist

With the release of Death Certificate, Ice Cube once again plunged into controversy. Apparently anti-Semitic references to Heller in No Vaseline and hostile words for Korean grocers in Black Korea triggered a wave of protests from organizations like the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; even Billboard condemned the record in an editorial. Cubes apparent racism and misogyny sparked considerable comment, though he and some of his defenders noticed that critics were silent on the subject of black-on-black violence.

At the same time, however, Cube impressed many critics with his prowess as a rapper and observer of life on the streets: Entertainment Weekly called 1991s Death Certificate 20 tracks of the most visceral music ever allowed in public, awarding it an A- grade. Spin admired the records big, slap-happy beats but took Cube to task for what critic Dimitri Ehrlich deemed racist, sexist, and homophobic material. Side onethe Death Side begins with the sound of a funeral; the life side commences with a birth. The death side is the condition were in now, Cube explained to Ehrlich in Interview, adding that There are more positive records on the life side, because while the death side shows you where we at, life shows you where we going.

Widened Appeal on Tour

Following Ice-Ts successful run on the first Lollapalooza traveling rock festival in 1991, Cube appeared on the bill for Lollapalooza 2 in 1992, sharing the stage with funk-rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Seattle-based grungemeisters Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam, among many others. Almost every rock act on the bill heaped praise on Cube, and the Chili Peppers went so far as to appear in a video for his 1992 album The Predator. Another, much more important event came between Death Certificate and The Predator, however: the Los Angeles riots in the spring of 1992. After a group of white police officers who were videotaped beating black motorist Rodney King were acquitted by an all-white jury, the city exploded in acts of random violence. Fans looked to Cube for a definitive statement on the riots.

The Predator earned an A- from Entertainment Weeklys Greg Sandow, who observed that whats most striking here are songsIce Cubes strongest, most cohesive work yetabout the perils of everyday South Central life. Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles Times who called Cubes first and second LPS two of the most compelling albums ever in rap found that despite its consistencies, the albums best moments make it essential listening. Still, Hilburn criticized the rapper for failing to deal more directly with the events of [the riots]. The album debuted at Number One on the Billboard pop and rhythm and blues charts simultaneously, the first album to do so since Stevie Wonders Songs in the Key of Life in 1976.

On top of enhanced fame from his new hit record, Cube would soon become even better known thanks to another film role. This time he starred with Ice-T in the film Trespass, a crime thriller whose working title had been Looters but was changed in response to the 1992 riots. Meanwhile, Reflex magazine reported that Ice Cube had donated $25,000 to the Los Angeles-based Minority AIDS Project, and Option noted his donation of proceeds from a new single to post-riot relief efforts.

End of N.W.A.; Continued Solo Success

Just as The Predator was raiding the charts, Rolling Stone announced that N.W.A. had apparently disbanded. Ice Cube, however, appeared on top of his game. His 1993 release Lethal Injection was one of the years most eagerly anticipated albums. While some critics praised it, Kevin Powell of Vibe declared it not the masterpiece it could have been. Time, meanwhile, claimed that Ice Cubes raps about police brutality and white immorality enter the ear and expand in the brain like a Black Talon bullet; his lyrics are sometimes inexcusable, but his logic is often inescapable. Ignore his high-caliber insights at your peril.

Bell Hooks, a feminist theorist, explored Cubes perceived misogyny and thoughts on attaining black self-love in an interview with the rapper published in Spin. Black women have always been the backbone of the community, he declared, and its up to the black man to support the backbone. He also insisted that I do records for black kids, and white kids are basically eavesdropping. White kids need to hear what we got to say about them, and their forefathers, and uncles, and everybody thats done us wrong. Additionally, he admitted wanting to move into straight political records but didnt want to change the content of his records too abruptly.

By 1994, Cubes life had undergone some changes. Reported Vibe, Hes happily married, a follower of the beliefs of the Nation of Islam, and the father of a little namesake (OShea Jackson, Jr.), with a baby girl on the way. Fans and detractors alike will tell you that Cube seems a lot less angry these days. He starred in Singletons feature Higher Learning, directed some music videos, and announced plans to eventually move into feature film direction. Although the scourge of white America appeared to have gone mainstream, Lethal Injection had done little to rehabilitate Cube in the eyes of his critics; in interviews, Cubes more conciliatory remarks were still tempered with flareups of the old fury. He also trumpeted the Nation of Islams demand for a separate black country. Yet the new Cube reflected a more pragmatic sensibility; as he insisted to Vibe, I know that killing a nigga down the street aint going to solve none of my problems at all. And I dont put that into my records, unless Im explaining a situation. I aint stupid no more. And some people cant deal with that.

Not Your Average Rap Artist

The more mature and sensible Cube also began to solidify the new direction in his professional life. The next few years would paint the rapper as more of a producer of movies than music. Cube made his film writing debut in 1995 with the release of the hugely successful movie Friday. The film featured F. Gary Gray in the directors chair and comedian Chris Tucker in the co-star seat. The movie launched the big screen career for both Graywho had done videos for Cube and Queen Latifahand Tucker, who had experienced success with HBOs Def Comedy Jam. With a budget of $2 million, Friday has since grossed more than $80 million dollars.

Cube acted as executive producer and star in his next movie, Dangerous Ground, and co-stared in horror flick Anaconda with Jennifer Lopez. And as he planned, his ever-changing position in Hollywood filmmaking was approaching a milestone. His next role would be as director, writer and actor in The Players Club. This directorial debut for Cube had a bigger budget than Friday $5 millionand proved with opening week returns of more than $8 million, to be a financial success as well. The Players Club boasted the highest per-screen gross of the movies opening during the same weekend. Cube, now a rapper, writer, producer, actor and director, was also now a member of the small Hollywood Club of money-making film directors.

With the confidence that success was possible in the film world, Cube went back to his roots recording War & Peace, a two volume disc set that dropped Volume 1, in 1998. War & Peace, Vol. 1 (The War Disc) debuted with mild reviews. The rap artist, however, was still applauded for his impressive rhyme flow. He also tackled more movie roles, staring in Three Kings with George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg in 1999. War & Peace, Vol. 2 (The Peace Disc) was released in 2000 and has sold close to 750,000 units. To promote the release, Cube joined the successful Up In Smoke Tour during the summerof 2000. Along with Cube, the tour featured Dr. Dre, Eminem, and Snoop Doggy Dogg.

Cube also revisited his early success with a follow up to Friday Next Friday. His production company, Cube-Vision, produced the movie for New Line Cinema as part of production pact that had extended through 2002. The production pact folded after New Line turned down several projects recommended by Cube. He then began working on two films slated for release in 2001: Ghost of Mars and All About the Benjamins. Cube has placed great stock in advice his mentor, John Singleton, has offered. He said if you can write a record, you can write a movie, Cube explained in Jet. Following that advice, Cube has found great success as a filmmaker, as well as a musician.

Selected work

(With N.W.A.)

Boyz-n-the-Hood, Priority, 1986.

Straight Outta Compton, Priority, 1989.

(As solo artist)

AmeriKKKas Most Wanted, Priority, 1990.

Kill at Will, Priority, 1991.

Death Certificate, Priority, 1991.

The Predator, Priority, 1992.

Lethal Injection, Priority, 1993.

War & Peace, Vol. 1, (The War Disc), Priority, 1998.

War & Peace, Vol. 2, (The Peace Disc), Priority, 2000.

(films)

Boyz N the Hood, 1991.

Trespass, 1993.

CB4, 1993.

Higher Learning, 1994.

Friday, (also writer) 1995.

Dangerous Ground, (also executive producer) 1997.

Anaconda, 1997.

Players Club, (also writer and director) 1998.

I Got the Hook Up, 1998.

Three Kings, 1999.

Next Friday, (also writer) 2000.

Shadow Man, 2000.

Ghost of Mars, 2001.

All About the Benjamins, 2001.

Sources

Books

Nelson, Havelock, and Michael Gonzales, Bring the Noise: A Guide to Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture, Harmony Books, 1991, pp. 87-89.

Periodicals

Art Form, 1992, pp. 42-49.

Daily Variety, November 23, 1992, p. 6.

Entertainment Weekly, November 15, 1991, pp. 90-91; November 20, 1992, p. 88; May 12, 1995, pp. 43; April 17, 1998, pp. 48; October 8, 1999, pp. 22.

Hollywood Reporter, January, 2001.

Interview, December 1991, p. 89.

Jet, February 28, 2000, pp. 58.

Los Angeles Times, November 15, 1992, p. 64.

Musician, March 1991, pp. 58-61.

Newsweek, December 2, 1991, p. 69; April 27, 1998, pp. 72.

Option, July 1992, p. 146.

Pulse!, August 1992, p. 65.

Reflex, November 10, 1992, p. 11.

Rolling Stone, October 4, 1990, pp. 78-86, 166.

Spin, January 1992; March 1992, pp. 33-37; April 1993.

Time, January 3, 1994, p. 85.

Variety, January 17, 2000, pp. 50.

Vibe, February 1994; March 1994, pp. 41-46.

Simon Glickman and Leslie Rochelle

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Ice Cube 1969(?)–

Ice Cube 1969(?)

Rap singer, songwriter, performing artist

At a Glance

N.W.A. Shook Rap World

Solo Success

Attacked as Racist

End of N.W.A.; Continued Solo Success

Selected discography

Sources

With an eye that magnifies brutal characters and violent situations, Ice Cube exposes a world that seems on the brink of exploding in the ear of the listener, wrote Have-lock Nelson and Michael Gonzales in their book Bring the Noise: A Guide to Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture. A native of South Central Los Angeles who recorded with the notorious group N.W.A. before going solo, Ice Cube has often been a lightning rod for controversy; his N.W.A. song Ftha Police and solo raps like Black Korea have elicited angry denunciations, threats, and protests. Yet Cube has argued repeatedly that his lyrics simply hold a mirror up to the reality of inner-city life. In the meantime, his records have gone platinum, his participation in the 1992 Lollapalooza festival gained him an avid following among young white rock fans, and his appearances in films and cultivation of other acts have opened up new career avenues. He has also demonstrated an evolving view of race issues. Being black, Cube insisted to interviewer bell hooks in Spin, you gotta damn near fight your body to love yourself.

Ice Cube was born OShea Jackson in 1969four years after the Watts Riots shook the foundations of Los Angeles and placed the race relations crisis in focus for the nation. His mother Doris, who, like OSheas father, Hosea, hailed from the southern United States, named her son after her favorite football player, O. J. Simpson. A better-than-average student, he attended Hawthorne Christian School where he dabbled in sports. Like many of his friends, OShea committed a few petty crimes but was not involved in heavy gang violence. While funk and soul dominated inner-city radio during his youth, nothing caught OSheas ear quite the new sounds of rap that arrived toward the end of the 1970s. When I first heard [the Sugarhill Gangs] Rappers Delight, I couldnt stop rewinding it, he told Art Form. It did nothing but grab me. By the age of 14,1 was writing my own raps, and seeing [influential gansta rapper] Ice-T in concert for the first time.

OSheawho now called himself Ice Cubewas also hanging around with his friend Jinx, who shared his passion for rap. After hearing Cubes first rapwritten during typing classJinx agreed to make a tape with him. Cube admitted to Rolling Stone that this early effort was pathetic. The beat was going, and I was over in the left corner. The lyrics, they were cool, but they wasnt no exciting type of mind-boggling shit. I was only 15, you know. In 1986 Jinxs cousin, Dr. Dre, hooked Cube up with Eric Eazy E Wright, who had financed an independent record labelRuthless Records

At a Glance

Born OShea Jackson, c. 1969, in Los Angeles, CA; son of Hosea (a machinist and groundskeeper) and Doris (a hospital clerk) Jackson. Education: Phoenix Institute of Technology, graduated, 1988.

Member of musical group N.W.A., 1986-89; released debut solo album, AmeriKKKas Most Wanted, 1990; formed Street Knowledge (record production company), Los Angeles, 1990; produced Make Way for the Motherlode LP for rapper Yo Yo, 1990; executive producer, Yo-Yos Black Pearl LP, 1992; directed music videos, 1993, Acted \n films Boyz N the Hood, 1991, Trespass, 1993, and Higher Learning, 1994.

Addresses; Record company Priority Records, 6430 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028. Production company street Knowledge Productions, 6809 Victoria Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90043.

with proceeds from his drug dealing. Eazy asked Cube to write material for a New York-based group called HBO, which had signed with Ruthless.

N.W.A. Shook Rap World

Cube collaborated with Dr. Dre on a track called Boyz-n-the-Hood, an uncompromising tune about life on the streets of Compton. HBO didnt want the song, so Eazy recorded the song himself in 1986. Then he, Cube, and Dr. Dre became Niggas With Attitude, or N.W.A. The groups recordsmany written and rapped by Cubegarnered them a following, and they seemed embarked on a lucrative career. But Cubes mother insisted that he get an education, so at age 18, he headed off for the Phoenix Institute of Technology. After a year-long drafting course, Cube returned to Los Angeles and started up with the group in earnest.

Cube wrote material for Eazys solo effort, Eazy-Duz-It, which Ruthless released in 1988. N.WAs first LP, Straight Out ta Compton, appeared on the Priority label in 1989. Featuring the controversial single Ftha Police, which prompted a threatening letter to the record company from the FBI, the album went platinum in three months without the benefit of any radio airplay. Listening to the album, Nelson and Gonzales wrote in Bring the Noise, is like sitting in the Theatre of Urban Mojo, staring at rapidly changing images of ghetto angst. While the authors charge that the band received harsh criticism because it told the truth about young black mens lives, they admit that the songs are an assault on the listener. Yet, they add, in some way one cannot help but become attracted to the brutal imagesits like staring at an auto accident.

Solo Success

Despite N.W.A.s massive success, Ice Cube got into a dispute with the groups manager, Jerry Heller. After a 50-city tour and record grosses of over $3 million, Cube found hed earned a mere $32,000. Following further negotiations he was compensated, but decided to leave the group. N.W.A.s still a strong group without Ice Cube, the rapper remarked to Musician. But Ice Cube is not as strong with N.W.A. as he is by himself. He formed his own label, Street Knowledge, hiring new talent such as female rapper Yo-Yo. His first solo album, AmeriKKKas Most Wanted released on Priority in 1990was quickly certified platinum. Produced in collaboration with Public Enemys Chuck D. and the Bomb Squad, the album convinced many that Cube was the real force behind N.W.A.s hardest-hitting work, and that as a solo artist he would be a major force. Spin called it a masterpiece. Yo-Yo debuted on the track Its a Mans World, matching Cubes well-known sexism with savvy responses; some listeners viewed her inclusion as a tempering of Cubes alleged misogyny. Ice Cube also produced Yo-Yos 1990 album Make Way for the Motherlode and would serve as executive producer on her 1992 sophomore effort, Black Pearl. Still, Nelson and Gonzales declared that the sexism found on [AmeriKKKas Most Wanted] is counterproductive to the goals of the struggle for black liberation.

In 1991 Priority released Cubes Kill At Will, another highly successful record that earned strong reviews. Art Form praised the single Dead Homiez as a harrowing and sorrowful tale of a funeral for a friend, and also spoke highly of the song The Product, about which Cube remarked It says a kid is just a product of his social background. Put him around lawyers, hes gonna want to be a lawyer. Put him around gangbangers, hes gonna want to be a gangbanger. That same year, Cube made his acting debut in John Singletons hit movie Boyz N the Hood, playing the haunted, violent Doughboy to generally favorable reviews.

Attacked as Racist

With the release of Death Certificate, Ice Cube once again plunged into controversy. Apparently anti-Semitic references to Heller in No Vaseline and hostile words for Korean grocers in Black Korea triggered a wave of protests from organizations like the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; even Billboard condemned the record in an editorial. Cubes apparent racism and misogyny sparked considerable comment, though he and some of his defenders noticed that critics were silent on the subject of black-on-black violence.

At the same time, however, Cube impressed many critics with his prowess as a rapper and observer of life on the streets: Entertainment Weekly called 1991s Death Certificate 20 tracks of the most visceral music ever allowed in public, awarding it an A- grade. Spin admired the records big, slap-happy beats but took Cube to task for what critic Dimitri Ehrlich deemed racist, sexist, and homophobic material. Side onethe Death Sidebegins with the sound of a funeral; the life side commences with a birth. The death side is the condition were in now, Cube explained to Ehrlich in Interview, adding that There are more positive records on the life side, because while the death side shows you where we at, life shows you where we going.

Following Ice-Ts successful run on the first Lollapalooza traveling rock festival in 1991, Cube appeared on the bill for Lollapalooza 2 in 1992, sharing the stage with funk-rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Seattle-based grungemeisters Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam, among many others. Almost every rock act on the bill heaped praise on Cube, and the Chili Peppers went so far as to appear in a video for his 1992 album The Predator. Another, much more important event came between Death Certificate and The Predator, however: the Los Angeles riots in the spring of 1992. After a group of white police officers who were videotaped beating black motorist Rodney King were acquitted by an all-white jury, the city exploded in acts of random violence. Fans looked to Cube for a definitive statement on the riots.

The Predator earned an A- from Entertainment Weeklys Greg Sandow, who observed that whats most striking here are songsIce Cubes strongest, most cohesive work yetabout the perils of everyday South Central life. Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles Times who called Cubes first and second LPs two of the most compelling albums ever in rapfound that despite its inconsistencies, the albums best moments make it essential listening. Still, Hilburn criticized the rapper for failing to deal more directly with the events of [the riots]. The album debuted at Number One on the Billboard pop and rhythm and blues charts simultaneously, the first album to do so since Stevie Wonders Songs in the Key of Life in 1976.

On top of enhanced fame from his new hit record, Cube would soon become even better known thanks to another film role. This time he starred with Ice-T in the film Trespass, a crime thriller whose working title had been Looters but was changed in response to the 1992 riots. Meanwhile, Reflex magazine reported that Ice Cube had donated $25,000 to the Los Angeles-based Minority AIDS Project, and Option noted his donation of proceeds from a new single to post-riot relief efforts.

End of N.W.A.; Continued Solo Success

Just as The Predator was raiding the charts, Rolling Stone announced that N.W.A. had apparently disbanded. Ice Cube, however, appeared on top of his game. His 1993 release Lethal Injection was one of the years most eagerly anticipated albums. While some critics praised it, Kevin Powell of Vibe declared it not the masterpiece it could have been. Time, meanwhile, claimed that Ice Cubes raps about police brutality and white immorality enter the ear and expand in the brain like a Black Talon bullet; his lyrics are sometimes inexcusable, but his logic is often inescapable. Ignore his high-caliber insights at your peril.

hooks, a black feminist theorist, explored Cubes perceived misogyny and thoughts on attaining black self-love in an interview with the rapper published in Spin. Black women have always been the backbone of the community, he declared, and its up to the black man to support the backbone. He also insisted that I do records for black kids, and white kids are basically eavesdropping. White kids need to hear what we got to say about them, and their forefathers, and uncles, and everybody thats done us wrong. Additionally, he admitted wanting to move into straight political records but didnt want to change the content of his records too abruptly.

By 1994, Cubes life had undergone some changes. Reported Vibe, Hes happily married, a follower of the beliefs of the Nation of Islam, and the father of a little namesake (OShea Jackson, Jr.), with a baby girl on the way. Fans and detractors alike will tell you that Cube seems a lot less angry these days. He starred in Singletons feature Higher Learning, directed some music videos, and announced plans to eventually move into feature film direction. I dont want to do nothing weak, Cube insisted. I want to make sure I win. Although the scourge of white America appeared to have gone mainstream, Lethal Injection had done little to rehabilitate Cube in the eyes of his critics; in interviews, Cubes more conciliatory remarks were still tempered with flareups of the old fury. He also trumpeted the Nation of Islams demand for a separate black country. Yet the new Cube reflected a more pragmatic sensibility; as he insisted to Vibe, I know that killing a nigga down the street aint going to solve none of my problems at all. And I dont put that into my records, unless Im explaining a situation. I aint stupid no more. And some people cant deal with that.

Selected discography

With N.W.A.

Boyz-n-the-Hood, Priority, 1986.

Straight Outta Compton (includes Ftha Police), Priority, 1989.

As solo artist

AmeriKKKa s Most Wanted (includes Its a Mans World), Priority, 1990.

Kill at Will (includes Dead Homiez and The Product), Priority, 1991.

Death Certificate (includes Black Korea and No Vaseline), Priority, 1991.

The Predator, Priority, 1992.

Lethal Injection, Priority, 1993.

Sources

Books

Nelson, Havelock, and Michael Gonzales, Bring the Noise: A Guide to Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture, Harmony Books, 1991, pp. 87-89.

Periodicals

Art Form, 1992, pp. 42-49.

Daily Variety, November 23, 1992, p. 6.

Entertainment Weekly, November 15, 1991, pp. 90-91;

November 20, 1992, p. 88.

Interview, December 1991, p. 89.

Los Angeles Times, November 15, 1992, p. 64.

Musician, March 1991, pp. 58-61.

Newsweek, December 2, 1991, p. 69.

Option, July 1992, p. 146.

Pulse!, August 1992, p. 65.

Reflex, November 10, 1992, p. 11.

Roiling Stone, October 4, 1990, pp. 78-86, 166.

Spin, January 1992; March 1992, pp. 33-37; April 1993.

Time, January 3, 1994, p. 85.

Vibe, February 1994; March 1994, pp. 41-46.

Simon Glickman

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"Ice Cube 1969(?)–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Ice Cube 1969(?)–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/ice-cube-1969

Ice Cube

Ice Cube

Rap singer, actor

Hooked Up With Dr. Dre and Eazy E

AmeriKKKas Most Wanted

Attacked as Racist

Selected discography

Sources

With an eye that magnifies brutal characters and violent situations, Ice Cube exposes a world that seems on the brink of exploding in the ear of the listener, wrote Havelock Nelson and Michael Gonzales in their book Bring the Noise: A Guide to Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture. A native of South Central Los Angeles who recorded with the notorious group N.W.A. before going solo, Ice Cube has often been a lightning rod for controversy; his N.W.A. song F tha Police and solo raps like Black Korea have elicited angry denunciations, threats, and protests. Yet Cube has argued repeatedly that his lyrics simply hold a mirror up to the reality of inner-city life. In the meantime, his records have gone platinum, his participation in the 1992 Lollapalooza festival has gained him an avid following among young white rock fans, and his appearances in films and cultivation of other acts have opened up new career avenues.

Ice Cube was born OShea Jackson in 1969; his mother, Doriswho like OSheas father, Hosea, hailed from the southern United Statesnamed him after her favorite football player, O.J. Simpson. A better-than-aver-age student described by Doris as a very nice young man in a Rolling Stone profile, Cube attended Hawthorne Christian School for a time and dabbled in sports. He grew up in the shadow of the 1965 Watts Riots, which shook the foundations of Los Angeles and put the race relations crisis in focus for the nation. Like many of his friends, Cube committed a few petty crimes during his youth but was no gangbanger. While funk and soul dominated inner-city radio when he was young, nothing caught his ear quite the way rap did when it arrived toward the end of the seventies. When I first heard [the Sugarhill Gangs] Rappers Delight, I couldnt stop rewinding it, he told Art Form. It did nothing but grab me. By the age of 14, I was writing my own raps, and seeing [influential gangsta rapper] Ice-T in concert for the first time.

Hooked Up With Dr. Dre and Eazy E

He was also hanging around with his friend Jinx, who shared his passion for rap. After hearing OSheas first rapwritten during typing classJinx agreed to make a tape with him. Cube told Rolling Stone that this early effort was pathetic. The beat was going, and I was over in the left corner. The lyrics, they were cool, but they wasnt no exciting type of mind-boggling shit. I was only fifteen, you know. In 1986 Jinxs cousin Dr. Dre hooked Cube up with Eric Eazy E Wright, who

For the Record

Born OShea Jackson, c. 1969, in Los Angeles, CA; son of Hosea (a machinist and groundskeeper) and Doris (a hospital clerk) Jackson. Education: Graduated from Phoenix Institute of Technology, 1988.

Member of group N.W.A., 1986-89; appeared on N.W.A. album Straight Outta Compton, 1989; released solo album AmeriKKKas Most Wanted, 1990; formed record label and production company Street Knowledge, 1990; produced album Make Way for the Motherlode for rapper Yo Yo, 1990; executive producer on Yo Yos Black Pearl, 1992. Actor in films, including Boyz N the Hood, Columbia, 1991, and Trespass, Universal, 1992.

Awards: Gold record for singles Wicked /U Aint Gonna Take My Life and It Was a Good Day, 1993; platinum records for AmeriKKKas Most Wanted, Kill at Will, Death Certificate, and The Predator.

Addresses: Record company Priority Records, 6430 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028. Production company Street Knowledge Productions, 6809 Victoria Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90043.

had financed an independent record labelRuthless Recordswith proceeds from his drug dealing. Eazy E asked Cube to write material for a New York group called HBO, which had signed with Ruthless.

Cube collaborated with Dre on a track called Boyz-n-the-Hood, an uncompromising tune about life on the streets of Compton, an industrial city just south of L.A. HBO didnt want the song, so Eazy E recorded it himself in 1986. Then he, Cube, and Dr. Dre became Niggas With Attitude, or N.W.A. The groups recordsmany written and rapped by Cubegarnered them a following, and they seemed to be embarking on a lucrative career. But Cubes mother insisted that he get an education, so at age eighteen he headed off for the Phoenix Institute of Technology. After a year-long drafting course, he returned to Los Angeles and started up with the group in earnest.

Cube wrote material for Eazy Es solo effort, Eazy-Duz-It, which came out on Ruthless in 1988. N.W.A.s first release, Straight Outta Compton, appeared on the Priority label in 1989. Featuring the controversial single F tha Police, which prompted a threatening letter to the record company from the FBI, the album went platinum in three months without the benefit of radio airplay. Listening to the album, wrote Nelson and Gonzales in Bring the Noise, is like sitting in the Theatre of Urban Mojo, staring at rapidly changing images of ghetto angst. While the authors charged that the band received harsh criticism because it told the truth about young black mens lives, they admitted that the songs are an assault on the listener. Yet, they added: In some way one cannot help but become attracted to the brutal imagesits like staring at an auto accident.

AmeriKKKas Most Wanted

Despite N.W.A.s massive success, Ice Cube got into a dispute with the groups manager, Jerry Heller. After a fifty-city tour and record grosses of over $3 million, Cube found hed earned a mere $32,000. After some negotiation, he was compensated but decided to leave the group. N.W.A.s still a strong group without Ice Cube, the rapper remarked to Musician. But Ice Cube is not as strong with N.W.A. as he is by himself. He went on to form his own production company, Street Knowledge, hiring new talent such as female rapper Yo Yo. His first solo album, AmeriKKKas Most Wanted released in 1990 on Prioritywas certified platinum. Produced in collaboration with Public Enemys Chuck D. and the Bomb Squad, the album convinced many that Cube was the real force behind N.W.A.s hardest-hitting work and that as a solo artist he would be a major force.

Spin magazine called AmeriKKKas Most Wanted a masterpiece. Yo Yo debuted on the track Its a Mans World, matching Cubes well-known sexism with savvy responses; some listeners viewed the inclusion of Yo Yo as a tempering of Cubes alleged misogyny. Indeed, Ice Cube also produced Yo Yos 1990 album Make Way for the Motherlode and would serve as executive producer on her 1992 effort, Black Pearl. Still, Nelson and Gonzales declared that the sexism found on [AmeriKKKas Most Wanted] is counterproductive to the goals of the struggle for black liberation.

In 1991 Priority released Cubes Kill at Will EP, another highly successful record that earned strong reviews. Art Form praised the single Dead Homiez as a harrowing and sorrowful tale of a funeral for a friend, and also spoke highly of the song The Product, about which Cube remarked, It says a kid is just a product of his social background. Put him around lawyers, hes gonna want to be a lawyer. Put him around gangbangers, hes gonna want to be a gangbanger. That same year, Cube starred in John Singletons hit movie Boyz N the Hood, playing the haunted, violent Doughboy. He received generally favorable reviews in his film debut.

Attacked as Racist

With the release of his second solo offering, Death Certificate, Ice Cube once again plunged into controversy. Apparently anti-Semitic references in No Vaseline and hostile words for Korean grocers in Black Korea triggered a wave of protests from organizations like the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; even Billboard magazine condemned the record in an editorial. Cubes apparent racism and misogyny sparked considerable comment, though he and some of his defenders noticed his critics were silent on the subject of black-on-black violence.

At the same time, however, Cube impressed many critics with his prowess as a rapper and observer of life on the streets:Entertainment Weekly called Death Certificate 20 tracks of the most visceral music ever allowed in public, awarding it an A- grade. Spin admired the records big, slap-happy beats but took Cube to task for what critic Dimitri Ehrlich deemed racist, sexist, and homophobic material. Side onethe death sidebegins with the sound of a funeral; the life side commences with a birth. The death side is the condition were in now, Cube explained to Ehrlich in Interview, adding that there are more positive records on the life side, because while the death side shows you where we at, life shows you where we going.

Following fellow rapper Ice-Ts successful run on the 1991 Lollapalooza rock festival organized by rocker Perry Farrell, Cube appeared on the bill for Lollapalooza 2 in 1992. He shared the stage with funk-rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Seattle grungemeisters Sound-garden and Pearl Jam, among many others. Almost every rock act on the bill heaped praise on Cube, and the Chili Peppers went so far as to appear in a video for his 1992 album, The Predator. But a much more significant event came between Death Certificate and The Predator: the Los Angeles riots in the spring of 1992. After a group of white police officerswhom the nation had seen beating black motorist Rodney King on videotapewere acquitted by an all-white jury, the city exploded in arson, looting, and random violence. Many listeners looked to Cube for a definitive statement on the riots.

The Predator earned an A- from Entertainment Weeklys Greg Sandow, who observed that whats most striking here are songsIce Cubes strongest, most cohesive work yetabout the perils of everyday South Central life. Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles Times who called Cubes first and second efforts two of the most compelling albums ever in rapfound the best moments of The Predator make it essential listening. But Hilburn criticized Cube for failing to deal more directly with the events of last spring [the riots]. Still, the album faced few obstacles: it debuted at Number One on the Billboard R&B and pop charts simultaneously, the first album to do so since Stevie Wonders Songs in the Key of Life in 1976 and the first rap album ever to debut at Number One on the pop chart. Daily Variety reported in late November that the record seemed destined for platinum sales.

Rolling Stone noted in late 1992just as The Predator raided the chartsthat N.W.A. had apparently disbanded. Ice Cube, however, despite widespread attacks and calls for censorship of his uncompromising lyrics, promised to be around for quite a while. Part of his longevity would appear to derive from his ability to evolve as an artist. He told Daily Variety that he wanted The Predator to demonstrate, among other things, that Im not pissed off 24 hours a day. He noted: I dont want to be stuck in the same mode. Im a rapper and I wanted to demonstrate my skills as a rapper. While no one appeared to doubt his skills, he seemed to impress even his harshest critics with the power of his images. As he had told Spin in an earlier interview, Youve got to make the people who are buying your records feel.

On top of enhanced fame from a new hit record, Cubes face would soon become even better known thanks to another film role and a generous charitable donation that captured additional media attention. He starred with Ice-T in the film Trespass, a crime thriller the working title of which had been Looters but was changed in response to the riots; and according to Reflex magazines November 1992 issue, the rapper donated $25,000 to the Los Angeles-based Minority AIDS Project.

Selected discography

With N.W.A.

Boyz-n-the-Hood (single), Priority, 1986.

Straight Outta Compton (includes F tha Police), Priority, 1989.

Solo releases

AmeriKKKas Most Wanted (includes Its a Mans World), Priority, 1990.

Kill at Will (EP; includes Dead Homiez and The Product), Priority, 1991.

Death Certificate (includes Black Korea and No Vaseline), Priority, 1991.

The Predator, Priority, 1992.

(Contributor; with Ice-T) Trespass (soundtrack), Sire, 1992.

(Contributor) Get the Fist (single), 1992.

Producer of Yo Yos Make Way for the Motherlode, Priority, 1990, and executive producer of Black Pearl, EastWest, 1992.

Sources

Books

Nelson, Havelock, and Michael Gonzales, Bring the Noise: A Guide to Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture, Harmony Books, 1991.

Periodicals

Art Form, No. 17, 1992.

Billboard, April 24, 1993.

Daily Variety, November 23, 1992.

Details, January 1993.

Entertainment Weekly, November 15, 1991; November 20, 1992; December 18, 1992.

Interview, December 1991.

Los Angeles Times, November 15, 1992.

Metro Times (Detroit), March 31, 1993.

Musician, March 1991; February 1993.

Newsweek, December 2, 1991.

People, January 11, 1993.

Pulse!, August 1992.

Reflex, November 10, 1992.

Rolling Stone, October 4, 1990; January 7, 1993.

Spin, January 1992; March 1992; January 1993; April 1993.

Time, December 28, 1992.

Additional information for this profile was obtained from Priority Records publicity materials, 1992.

Simon Glickman

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"Ice Cube." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Ice Cube." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/ice-cube

"Ice Cube." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/ice-cube

Ice Cube

ICE CUBE

Born: O'Shea Jackson; Los Angeles, California, 15 June 1969

Genre: Rap

Best-selling album since 1990: The Predator (1992)

Hit songs since 1990: "It Was a Good Day," "Check Yo Self," "Bop Gun (One Nation)"

Ice Cube was one of the most talented, successful, and controversial gangsta rappers of the late 1980s and early 1990s. As a member of N.W.A. (Niggaz With Attitude), his substantial writing and vocal contributions helped make them the seminal group of their genre. After leaving for a solo career, he recorded some of the most incendiary and articulate music ever to deal with racial and social issues in America. His bigoted stance was divisive, but his incisiveness brought critical praise and consistent platinum sales. By the mid-1990s and beyond, his burgeoning film career took precedence over music.

Despite growing up in the tumultuous South Central area of Los Angeles, California, Ice Cube (born O'Shea Jackson) was not involved in the heavy gang violence eventually portrayed in his lyrics. He was an above average student with parents who strongly encouraged his educational development. Though he was widely exposed to funk and soul music during his childhood, it was the advent of rap in the late 1970s that truly sparked his musical interest.

In high school, he began writing rap lyrics and formed a duo called CIA with Sir Jinx. During this time, he met Dr. Dre, who was creating music for a local group called the World Class Wrecking Cru, and Eazy-E, who had recently formed his own record label, Ruthless Records. The three of them formed N.W.A., a side project for them to make dirty party records for fun. Audience interest in their first three singles, though, made the group a bigger priority.

Inspired by the noisy and confrontational rhythms of innovative political rappers Public Enemy, the group revamped their sound, added MC Ren to the roster, and released the landmark album Straight Outta Compton (1988). By promoting misogyny, glamorizing gang violence, and advocating the murder of police officers as a reaction to brutality and racial profiling, the group ignited controversy and elicited condemnation from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Despite minimal support from mainstream radio or MTV, the album was an enormous underground hit that launched the gangsta rap genre.

Since Ice Cube had been involved in writing ten out of thirteen tracks on the multiplatinum-selling album and toured the country in support of it, he felt his contributions were worth more than the $30,000 he received. His dispute with manager Jerry Heller led to his unceremonious departure from the group.


Going Solo

Ice Cube went to New York and recorded his solo debut, AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted (1990), with Public Enemy's production team, the Bomb Squad, and his new supporting cast, Da Lench Mob. With a more cacophonous rhythmic assault than N.W.A., and an equally profane lyrical palette, he positions himself as the hostile voice of change in an urban, black community oppressed by white-dominated America. As a diversion, though, he offers tracks like the darkly comedic and misogynistic anecdote about a sexual partner inaccurately claiming his paternity in "You Can't Fade Me," and the incorporation of classic fairy-tale characters into a life of gun wielding and promiscuous sex in "A Gangsta's Fairytale." The album was an immediate success with many critics and consumers, attaining platinum sales within a few months of its release and establishing Ice Cube as a premiere solo entity.

Naturally Ice Cube's expanding appeal raised fear and objections from many moral watchdogs and conservative groups, but when he raised the racial invective on Death Certificate (1991), he drew many more detractors. The songs "Black Korea" and "No Vaseline" garnered the largest backlash. The former issues a threat to burn down all Korean-owned liquor stores nationwide if the owners do not stop profiling black customers. The latter blames white, Jewish, N.W.A. manager Heller for breaking up the group and is full of homophobic and anti-Semitic references. The controversy only fueled quicker sales though, as the album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and went platinum in a month. Though chastised for its bigotry, the work was lauded for directly dealing with current black economic, social, and health care issues, without the gangster posturing of his previous efforts.

In 1991 Ice Cube also received praise for his role as Doughboy in the John Singletondirected movie Boyz N the Hood. The critically acclaimed film was an unflinching and sobering portrayal of Los Angeles' inner-city problems. With his role as ghetto spokesman reaching a second medium, interest in Ice Cube's commentary became even more prominent on April 29, 1992, when riots broke out in Los Angeles after the announcement of the acquittal of three of the four policemen accused of beating black motorist Rodney King. His response was released in the form of his third album, The Predator, later that year.

With its dark and anxious tone, news sound bites relating to the riots and its aftermath, and Ice Cube discussing his prophecy of the riots, the album is an urgent document of its time. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and Top R&B Albums charts simultaneously and immediately went platinum. Surprisingly, it also contains his catchiest material and yielded his only two Top 20 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100, the day-in-the-life reflection "It Was a Good Day" and the cautionary dance jam "Check Yo Self."


Going Hollywood

Though Lethal Injection (1993) was another strong commercial success, its laid-back vibe made it less vital than his previous efforts and foreshadowed his five-year hiatus between solo albums. By 1994 he was married with children and following the beliefs of the Nation of Islam. These events in his personal life had a calming effect and led to a new chapter in his professional life: film. Throughout the rest of the decade, he acted in several successful feature films, including Higher Learning (1995), Anaconda (1997), and Three Kings (1999). He also wrote, produced, and starred in the hit comedies Friday (1995), Next Friday (2000), and Friday After Next (2002) and directed The Player's Club (1998).

Though his film career began to eclipse his musical output, Ice Cube did stay busy by producing albums for artists like his former partners Da Lench Mob and Mack 10 and WC, with whom he formed the Westside Connection and released an album. He also directed several music videos and returned to his solo career with the release of War & Peace Volume 1 (The War Disc) (1998) and War & Peace Volume 2 (The Peace Disc) (2000). Both albums generated hits, sold well, and boasted solid production, but lacked the raw fury of his earlier work. Lyrically, he was still articulate, but his continuing Hollywood success, including starting his own film company, Cube-vision, reduced his credibility as the underprivileged voice of the streets. In the new millennium his most promising musical prospect was a potential N.W.A. reunion.

Ice Cube's intentionally confrontational and racially biased recordings were some of the most objectionable and frightening statements ever recorded. At his peak, though, his ability to identify and promote awareness of the social problems plaguing America's ghettos made him one of the most important voices of the late 1980s and early 1990s. His sharp-witted intelligence, candor, and business sense bolstered his ascent from underground revolutionary to mainstream celebrity.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted (Priority, 1990); Kill at Will EP (Priority, 1990); Death Certificate (Priority, 1991); The Predator (Priority, 1992); Lethal Injection (Priority, 1993).

With N.W.A.: Straight Outta Compton (Priority/Ruthless, 1988). With Westside Connection: Bow Down (Priority, 1996).

SELECTIVE FILMOGRAPHY:

Boyz N the Hood (1991); Higher Learning (1995); Friday (1995); Anaconda (1997); The Player's Club (1998); Three Kings (1999); Next Friday (2000); Barbershop (2002); Friday After Next (2002).

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

J. McIver, Ice Cube Attitude (London, 2002).

WEBSITE:

www.icecubemusic.com.

dave powers

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"Ice Cube." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ice-cube

ice cube

ice cube • n. a small block of ice made in a freezer, esp. for adding to drinks.

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"ice cube." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ice-cube