Ice Cube

Ice Cube

Biography

Ice Cube was the first member of the seminal California rap group N.W.A. to leave, and he quickly established himself as one of hip-hop's best and most controversial artists. From the outset of his career, he courted controversy, since his rhymes were profane and political. As a solo artist, his politics and social commentary sharpened substantially, and his first two records, AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted and Death Certificate, were equally praised and reviled for their lyrical stance, which happened to be considerably more articulate than many of his gangsta peers. As his career progressed, Cube's influence began to decline, particularly as he tried to incorporate elements of contemporary groups like Cypress Hill into his sound, but his stature never diminished, and he remained one of the biggest rap stars throughout the '90s.

For such a revolutionary figure, Cube (born O'Shea Jackson) came from a surprisingly straight background. Raised in South Central Los Angeles, where both of his parents had jobs at UCLA, Cube didn't become involved with b-boy culture until his late teens. He began writing raps while in high school, including "Boyz-n-the Hood." With his partner Sir Jinx, Cube began rapping in a duo called CIA at parties hosted by Dr. Dre, and he eventually met Eazy-E, then leading a group called HBO, through Dre. Eazy asked Cube to write a rap, and he presented them with "Boyz-n-the Hood," which was rejected. Eazy decided to leave CIA, and he, Cube, and Dre formed the first incarnation of N.W.A. Cube left to study architectural drafting at Phoenix, AZ, in 1987, returning the following year after he obtained a one-year degree. He arrived just in time for N.W.A.'s breakthrough album, Straight Outta Compton. Released late in 1988, Straight Outta Compton became an underground hit over the course of 1989, and its extreme lyrical content -- which was over-the-top both lyrically and politically -- attracted criticism, most notably from the FBI.

N.W.A. may have been rivaling Public Enemy as the most notorious group in hip-hop, but Cube was having deep conflicts with their management, resulting in him leaving the band in late 1989. He went to New York with his new posse, da Lench Mob, and recorded his first solo album with Public Enemy's production team, the Bomb Squad. Released in the spring of 1990, his debut AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted was an instant hit, going gold within its first two weeks of release. While the record's production and Cube's rhythmic skills were praised, his often violent, homophobic, and misogynist lyrics were criticized, particularly by the rock press and moral watchdogs. Even amid such controversy, the album was hailed as a groundbreaking classic within hip-hop, and it established Cube as an individual force. He began his own corporation, which was run by a woman, and he produced the debut album from his female protégée, Yo-Yo. At the end of 1990, he released the EP Kill at Will, which was followed in the spring by Yo-Yo's debut, Make Way for the Motherlode. That summer, his acting debut in John Singleton's acclaimed urban drama Boyz 'n the Hood was widely praised.

AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted may have been controversial, but it paled next the furor surrounding Cube's second album, Death Certificate. Released late in 1991, Death Certificate was simultaneously more political and vulgar than its predecessor, causing more outrage. In particular, "No Vaseline," a vicious attack on N.W.A. manager Jerry Heller, was perceived as anti-Semitic, and "Black Korea" was taken as a racist invocation to burn down all Korean-owned grocery stores. The songs provoked a public condemnation from the trade publication Billboard. It was the first time an artist had been singled out by the magazine. The furor over Death Certificate didn't prevent it from reaching number two and going platinum. During 1992, he toured with the second Lollapalooza tour in a successful attempt to consolidate his white rock audience. He also converted to the Nation of Islam during 1992, which was evident on his next album, The Predator. Upon its release in December of 1992, The Predator became the first album to debut at number one on both the pop and R&B charts. The steady-rolling single "It Was a Good Day" and the Das EFX collaboration "Check Yo Self" made the album Cube's most popular.

However, Cube's hold on the mass rap audience was beginning to slip. His former colleague, Dre, was dominating hip-hop with his stoned G-funk, and Cube tried to keep pace with 1993's Lethal Injection. While the album debuted at number five and went platinum, its funkier sound wasn't well-received. Lethal Injection was Cube's last official album for several years. In 1994, he wrote and produced da Lench Mob's debut, Guerillas in tha Mist, and produced Kam's debut, Neva Again, releasing a remix and rarities collection Bootlegs & B-Sides at the end of the year. In 1995, he kept quiet, appearing in Singleton's film Higher Learning and making amends with Dre on their duet "Natural Born Killaz." The following year, he acted in the comedy Friday, which he wrote himself. He also formed Westside Connection with Mack 10 and WC, releasing their debut album, Bow Down, at the end of the year. It went gold within its first month of release. In the spring of 1997, Cube starred in the surprise hit horror film Anaconda. War & Peace, Vol. 1 (The War Disc), followed in 1998; its sequel, The Peace Disc, followed two years later.

Cube spent the next few years devoting his time to film. Three Kings, Ghosts of Mars, and the big hit Barbershop all appeared in theaters before the rapper returned to music with Westside Connection's sophomore effort, Terrorist Threats, which appeared in 2003. Three years later he revived his barely used Lench Mobb label for his solo comeback album, Laugh Now, Cry Later. In the Movies, a compilation of soundtrack cuts, was put together for a 2007 release. A year later he returned with Raw Footage, an album filled with Cube's observations on politics along with the single "I Got My Locs On" featuring special guest Young Jeezy. His 2010 effort I Am the West was a family affair, with his sons Doughboy and OMG making guest appearances.

In 2012, Cube announced the release of a new album, Everythang's Corrupt. However after releasing a number of singles over the coming years, the album release was delayed indefinitely as he switched focus back to the legacy of N.W.A. Along with Dr. Dre, Cube began work on a biopic about the origins and rise of their seminal '90s gangsta rap group. His son O'Shea Jackson, Jr. was cast to portray him. In 2015, the critically-acclaimed, Academy Award-nominated Straight Outta Compton was released. The film made over $200 million worldwide at the box office and inspired Dr. Dre's third solo album, Compton, which included a reunion between Cube and Dre on "Issues." With N.W.A.'s cultural resurgence and mainstream recognition of their legacy in the history of rap and hip-hop, the group received another honor for their contribution to music with their induction into the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.

Discography

Ice Cube - AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted

Ice Cube - AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted

Priority Records 1990
Ice Cube - Kill At Will

Ice Cube - Kill At Will

Priority Records 1990
Ice Cube - Death Certificate

Ice Cube - Death Certificate

Priority Records 1991
Ice Cube - The Predator

Ice Cube - The Predator

Priority Records 1992
Ice Cube - Lethal Injection

Ice Cube - Lethal Injection

Priority Records 1993
Ice Cube - Bootlegs & B-Sides

Ice Cube - Bootlegs & B-Sides

Priority Records 1994
Ice Cube - Featuring...Ice Cube

Ice Cube - Featuring... Ice Cube

Priority Records 1997
Ice Cube - War & Peace Vol. 1 (The War Disc)

Ice Cube - War & Peace Vol. 1 (The War Disc)

Priority Records 1998
Ice Cube - War & Peace Vol. 2 (The Peace Disc)

Ice Cube - War & Peace Vol. 2 (The Peace Disc)

Priority Records 2000
Ice Cube - Greatest Hits

Ice Cube - Greatest Hits

Priority Records 2001
Ice Cube - Laugh Now, Cry Later

Ice Cube - Laugh Now, Cry Later

Lench Mob Records 2006
Ice Cube - In The Movies

Ice Cube - In The Movies

Priority Records 2007
Ice Cube - The Essentials

Ice Cube - The Essentials

Priority Records, EMI 2008
Ice Cube - Raw Footage

Ice Cube - Raw Footage

Lench Mob Records 2008
Ice Cube - I Am The West

Ice Cube - I Am The West

Lench Mob Records 2010
Ice Cube - Remain Calm

Ice Cube - Remain Calm

Cover City Rec. 2015

Guest Appearances

The D.O.C. - No One Can Do It Better
  • The Grand Finale

The D.O.C. - No One Can Do It Better

Ruthless Records, Atlantic 1989
Too Short - Short Dog's In The House
  • Ain't Nothin But A Word To Me

Too Short - Short Dog's In The House

Jive 1990
King Tee - At Your Own Risk
  • Played Like A Piano

King Tee - At Your Own Risk

Capitol Records 1990
Public Enemy - Fear Of A Black Planet
  • Burn Hollywood Burn

Public Enemy - Fear Of A Black Planet

Def Jam Recordings, Columbia 1990
Yo-Yo - Make Way For The Motherlode
  • You Can't Play With My Yo-Yo

Yo-Yo - Make Way For The Motherlode

EastWest Records America 1991
Da Lench Mob - Guerillas In Tha Mist
  • All On My Nut Sac

Da Lench Mob - Guerillas In Tha Mist

Street Knowledge Records, EastWest Records America 1992
Sister Souljah - 360 Degrees Of Power
  • Killing Me Softly: Deadly Code Of Silence

Sister Souljah - 360 Degrees Of Power

Epic 1992
Kool G. Rap & D.J. Polo - Live And Let Die
  • Two To The Head

Kool G. Rap & D.J. Polo - Live And Let Die

Cold Chillin' 1992
Kam - Neva Again
  • Watts Riot

Kam - Neva Again

EastWest Records America 1993
King Tee - Tha Triflin' Album
  • A Hoe B-4 Tha Homie

King Tee - Tha Triflin' Album

Capitol Records 1993
Erick Sermon - No Pressure
  • The Ill Shit

Erick Sermon - No Pressure

Rush Associated Labels 1993
Yo-Yo - You Better Ask Somebody
  • The Bonnie And Clyde Theme

Yo-Yo - You Better Ask Somebody

EastWest Records America 1993
2Pac - Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.
  • Last Wordz

2Pac - Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.

Interscope Records 1993
Willie D - Play Witcha Mama
  • Play Witcha Mama

Willie D - Play Witcha Mama

WRAP Records 1994
Scarface - The Diary
  • Hand Of The Dead Body

Scarface - The Diary

Rap-A-Lot Records, Noo Trybe Records 1994
Anotha Level - On Anotha Level
  • Level-N-Service

Anotha Level - On Anotha Level

Priority Records 1994
K-Dee - Ass, Gas Or Cash (No One Rides For Free)
  • Thought I Saw A Pussy Cat

K-Dee - Ass, Gas Or Cash (No One Rides For Free)

Lench Mob Records 1994
Terminator X & The Godfathers Of Threatt - Super Bad
  • Sticka

Terminator X & The Godfathers Of Threatt - Super Bad

Rush Associated Labels, P.R.O. Division 1994
Don Jagwarr - Faded
  • Bad Boy

Don Jagwarr - Faded

Priority Records 1994
Dazzie Dee - Where's My Receipt?
  • Ain't No Busta's This Way

Dazzie Dee - Where's My Receipt?

Capitol Records 1995
WC And The Maad Circle - Curb Servin'
  • West Up!

WC And The Maad Circle - Curb Servin'

London Records, Payday 1995
Mack 10 - Mack 10
  • Westside Slaughterhouse

Mack 10 - Mack 10

Priority Records 1995
Mr. Mike - Wicked Wayz
  • Wicked Wayz

Mr. Mike - Wicked Wayz

Suave House, Relativity 1996
Yo Yo - Total Control
  • Bonnie And Clyde II

Yo Yo - Total Control

EastWest Records America 1996
Dazzie Dee - The Re-Birth
  • Ain't No Busta's This Way

Dazzie Dee - The Re-Birth

Raging Bull Records 1996
Ant Banks - Big Thangs
  • Big Thangs

Ant Banks - Big Thangs

Priority Records 1997
Scarface - The Untouchable
  • Game Over

Scarface - The Untouchable

Rap-A-Lot Records, Noo Trybe Records 1997
Mack 10 - Based On A True Story
  • The Guppies

Mack 10 - Based On A True Story

Priority Records 1997
Scarface - My Homies
  • The Geto

Scarface - My Homies

Rap-A-Lot Records, Interface 1998
MC Ren - Ruthless For Life
  • Comin' After You

MC Ren - Ruthless For Life

Ruthless Records 1998
Mack 10 - The Recipe
  • Should I Stay Or Should I Go

Mack 10 - The Recipe

Hoo Bangin' Records, Priority Records 1998
AllFrumTha I - AllFrumTha I
  • Dopest On Tha Planet

AllFrumTha I - AllFrumTha I

Priority Records 1998
WC - The Shadiest One
  • Can't Hold Back

WC - The Shadiest One

Payday, FFRR 1998
Korn - Follow The Leader
  • Children Of The Korn

Korn - Follow The Leader

Epic, Immortal Records 1998
Jayo Felony - Whatcha Gonna Do
  • J.A.Y.O. (Justice Against All Oppressors)

Jayo Felony - Whatcha Gonna Do

Def Jam Recordings 1998
MC Eiht - Section 8
  • III The Hood Way

MC Eiht - Section 8

Hoo Bangin' Records, Priority Records 1999
Chris Rock - Bigger & Blacker
  • NYPD

Chris Rock - Bigger & Blacker

DreamWorks Records 1999
Notorious B.I.G. - Born Again
  • If I Should Die Before I Wake

Notorious B.I.G. - Born Again

Bad Boy Entertainment 1999
Road Dawgs - Don't Be Saprize
  • You Ain't Know

Road Dawgs - Don't Be Saprize

Noo Trybe Records 1999
E-40 - Loyalty And Betrayal
  • Behind Gates

E-40 - Loyalty And Betrayal

Jive 2000
Mack 10 - The Paper Route
  • Tha Weekend

Mack 10 - The Paper Route

Hoo Bangin' Records, Priority Records 2000
Snoop Dogg - Tha Last Meal
  • Set It Off

Snoop Dogg - Tha Last Meal

Priority Records, Doggy Style Records, No Limit Records 2000
Bad Azz - Personal Business
  • Streets Illustrated

Bad Azz - Personal Business

Priority Records 2001
Mr. Short Khop - Da Khop Shop
  • Short Khop & The Brain

Mr. Short Khop - Da Khop Shop

TVT Records 2001
Mack 10 - Bang Or Ball
  • Connected For Life

Mack 10 - Bang Or Ball

Cash Money Records 2001
8Ball - Lay It Down
  • Lay It Down, P2

8Ball - Lay It Down

Draper Inc 2002
WC - Ghetto Heisman
  • Walk

WC - Ghetto Heisman

Def Jam Recordings 2002
Da Hood - Mack 10 Presents Da Hood
  • What You Gone Do?

Da Hood - Mack 10 Presents Da Hood

D3 Entertainment, Riviera Entertainment, Hoo Bangin' Records 2002
Cool Dre - Keep It Real
  • Legal Paper

Cool Dre - Keep It Real

Zion Entertainment 2002
Gangsta - Penitentiary Chances
  • Big Boys

Gangsta - Penitentiary Chances

Heat Rocc Entertainment 2003
The D.O.C. - Deuce
  • The Shit

The D.O.C. - Deuce

Silverback Records 2003
Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz - Crunk Juice
  • Real Nigga Roll Call

Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz - Crunk Juice

TVT Records 2004
Scarface - My Homies Part 2
  • Definition Of Real

Scarface - My Homies Part 2

Rap-A-Lot Records 2006
Tha Dogg Pound - Cali Iz Active
  • It's All Hood

Tha Dogg Pound - Cali Iz Active

Koch Records 2006
Daz - So So Gangsta
  • Strizap

Daz - So So Gangsta

Virgin 2006
Snoop Dogg - Tha Blue Carpet Treatment
  • Lax

Snoop Dogg - Tha Blue Carpet Treatment

Geffen Records 2006
Boyz N Da Hood - Back Up N Da Chevy
  • Choppa's

Boyz N Da Hood - Back Up N Da Chevy

Bad Boy Records 2007
Nasty - The Greedy Fat Pig
  • Bang!

Nasty - The Greedy Fat Pig

Legend Entertainment Group 2007
WC - Guilty By Affiliation
  • 80's Babies

WC - Guilty By Affiliation

Lench Mob Records 2007
Spider Loc - West Kept Secret: The Prequel
  • Big Blacc Boots

Spider Loc - West Kept Secret: The Prequel

RBC Records, KOCH Entertainment 2007
Killer Mike - I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind II
  • Pressure

Killer Mike - I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind II

Grind Time Official, SMC Recordings 2008
Tech N9ne - Killer
  • Blackboy

Tech N9ne - Killer

Strange Music 2008
Trick Trick - The Villain
  • Let It Fly

Trick Trick - The Villain

Koch Records 2008
The Game - LAX
  • State Of Emergency

The Game - LAX

Geffen Records 2008
Nuttz - Bankroll Or Bedroll
  • Why We Thug

Nuttz - Bankroll Or Bedroll

Underworld Inc. 2008
Lil Jon - Crunk Rock
  • Killas

Lil Jon - Crunk Rock

Universal Republic 2010
General - The Preparation - EP
  • Wit My Top Bac

General - The Preparation - EP

All Money Entertainment 2010
DJ Quik - The Book Of David
  • Boogie Till You Conk Out

DJ Quik - The Book Of David

Mad Science 2011
WC - Revenge Of The Barracuda
  • You Know Me

WC - Revenge Of The Barracuda

eOne, Swang Records 2011
Daz Dillinger - D.A.Z.
  • Iz You Ready 2 Die

Daz Dillinger - D.A.Z.

Felder Entertainment Inc. 2011
Bootsy Collins - Tha Funk Capital Of The World
  • Hip Hop @ Funk U

Bootsy Collins - Tha Funk Capital Of The World

Mascot Records 2011
E-40 And Too $hort - History: Function Music
  • West Coast Shit

E-40 & Too $hort - History: Function Music

Heavy On The Grind Entertainment 2012
Insane Clown Posse - Mike E Clark's Extra Pop Emporium
  • Chris Benoit (Kumas Scrub Club Remix)

Insane Clown Posse - Mike E Clark's Extra Pop Emporium

Psychopathic Records 2012
Ms. Toi - I Am A Warrior
  • Green Like That Green

Ms. Toi - I Am A Warrior

G.O Entertainment 2014
Sleepy Malo - West Costa Nuestra
  • Caliboy

Sleepy Malo - West Costa Nuestra

Mobg 2015
The Game - The Documentary 2
  • Don't Trip

The Game - The Documentary 2

eOne Music 2015
The Game - The Documentary 2 + 2.5 (Collector's Edition)
  • Don't Trip

The Game - The Documentary 2 + 2.5 (Collector's Edition)

eOne Music 2016
Cold187um - The Blackgodfather
  • Legacy

Cold187um - The Blackgodfather

Untouchable Muzick Group, LLC 2016

Compilations

Various - Murder Was The Case: The Soundtrack
  • Natural Born Killaz

Various - Murder Was The Case: The Soundtrack

Death Row Records 1994
Various - Rap G Style
  • Two To The Head

Various - Rap G Style

Priority Records 1995
DJ Screw - 3 'N The Mornin' (Part One)
  • Good Day

DJ Screw - 3 'N The Mornin' (Part One)

Bigtyme Recordz 1995
Various - 10th Anniversary - Rap-A-Lot Records
  • Hand Of The Dead Body

Various - 10th Anniversary - Rap-A-Lot Records

Rap-A-Lot Records 1996
Various - Death Row Greatest Hits
  • Natural Born Killaz

Various - Death Row Greatest Hits

Death Row Records, Interscope Records 1996
George Clinton - Greatest Funkin' Hits
  • Bop Gun (One Nation)

George Clinton - Greatest Funkin' Hits

Capitol Records 1996
Various - Rapmasters: From Tha Priority Vaults Volume 3
  • Anotha Level

Various - Rapmasters: From Tha Priority Vaults Volume 3

Priority Records 1996
Various - The Lawhouse Experience Vol. 1
  • Legal Paper

Various - The Lawhouse Experience Vol. 1

Street Life Records, Lawhouse Records, Attic 1997
Various - Gang Related - The Soundtrack
  • Greed

Various - Gang Related - The Soundtrack

Death Row Records, Priority Records 1997
Various - I Got The Hook-Up! (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  • Ghetto Vet

Various - I Got The Hook-Up! (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

No Limit Records, Priority Records 1998
DJ Screw - 3 'N The Mornin' (Part Two) Remix
  • Natural Born Killaz

DJ Screw - 3 'N The Mornin' (Part Two) Remix

Bigtyme Recordz 1998
Various - The N.W.A Legacy Volume 1 1988 - 1998
  • It Was A Good Day (Remix)

Various - The N.W.A Legacy Volume 1 1988 - 1998

Priority Records 1999
Various - Nuthin' But A Gangsta Party
  • Bop Gun (One Nation) (Edit)

Various - Nuthin' But A Gangsta Party

Priority Records 2000
Various - The N.W.A Legacy 2
  • Hello

Various - The N.W.A Legacy 2

Priority Records, Capitol Records 2002
Scarface - Greatest Hits
  • Hand Of The Dead Body

Scarface - Greatest Hits

Rap-A-Lot Records 2002
Various - Red Star Sounds Volume 2: B-Sides
  • Wanna Ride

Various - Red Star Sounds Volume 2: B-Sides

Def Jam Recordings 2002
Various - xXx - Music From And Inspired By The Motion Picture
  • Connected For Life

Various - xXx - Music From And Inspired By The Motion Picture

Universal Records 2002
Various - 15 Years On Death Row
  • Natural Born Killaz

Various - 15 Years On Death Row

Death Row Records 2006
Dr. Dre - Chronicles: Death Row Classics
  • Natural Born Killaz

Dr. Dre - Chronicles: Death Row Classics

Death Row Records 2006
Various - Messy Marv Presents West Coast Gangsta V.16
  • Child Support

Various - Messy Marv Presents West Coast Gangsta V.16

Siccness Records 2006
Master P - Featuring...
  • You Know I'm A Ho

Master P - Featuring...

Priority Records 2007
Mack 10 - Foe Life: The Best Of Mack 10
  • Only In California

Mack 10 - Foe Life: The Best Of Mack 10

Priority Records 2007
8Ball And MJG - We Are The South (Greatest Hits)
  • Lay It Down

8Ball And MJG - We Are The South (Greatest Hits)

Suave House Records, Koch Records 2008
Various - N.W.A. And Their Family Tree
  • It Was A Good Day

Various - N.W.A And Their Family Tree

Priority Records, EMI 2008
Lil Rob - 1218 Collection
  • My Lowrider

Lil Rob - 1218 Collection

Cali Records 2008
Gonzoe - The Black Familia, Vol. 2
  • What U Wanna Do?

Gonzoe - The Black Familia, Vol. 2

Blocwize Ent. 2008
Ghostface Killah - GhostDeini The Great
  • Be Easy Remix

Ghostface Killah - GhostDeini The Great

Def Jam Recordings 2008
Scarface - Greatest Features
  • Game Over

Scarface - Greatest Features

Rap-A-Lot Records 2009
Various - Snoop Dogg Presents My #1 Priority
  • 100 Dollar Bill Y'all

Various - Snoop Dogg Presents My #1 Priority

Priority Records 2010
EMPIRE Distribution - The Best Of 2011
  • Please

EMPIRE Distribution - The Best Of 2011

EMPIRE Distribution 2011
Trick Trick - Featuring
  • Let It Fly

Trick Trick - Featuring

Time Entertainment, B.M.B. Entertainment 2013
Various - Big Caz Presents Pounding, Vol. 1
  • Tell Me When To Go (Mothug Remix)

Various - Big Caz Presents Pounding, Vol. 1

Mo Thugs Records 2013
Gonzoe - The Best Of Gonzoe, Vol. 1
  • What You Wanna Do

Gonzoe - The Best Of Gonzoe, Vol. 1

Blocwize Ent. 2013
Allfrumtha I - Greatest Bangin Hits
  • Dopest On The Planet

Allfrumtha I - Greatest Bangin Hits

Bink Bank Ent. 2013
Too $hort - The Essential
  • Ain't Nothin' But A Word To Me

Too $hort - The Essential

Jive/Legacy 2014
Various - The Guilty Til' Proven Innocent Project (Soundtrack)
  • Cali Boi

Various - The Guilty Til' Proven Innocent Project (Soundtrack)

Big Spin Records 2014
Various - Pounding # 2
  • Chrome N Paint

Various - Pounding # 2

Mo Thugs 2015
Various - Straight Outta Compton (Music From The Motion Picture)
  • The Nigga Ya Love To Hate

Various - Straight Outta Compton (Music From The Motion Picture)

UME 2016