Here’s How Ice Cube Shut Down Haters While Producing His First Solo Album, ‘AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted’
Ice Cube’s debut solo album, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, turned 30-years old this year. With that in mind, the rap star turned Hollywood actor has taken to Twitter to share a few little-known facts about his experience producing the album and how he shut down haters along the way.
Ice Cube said he left N.W.A. due to ‘politics’
In 1987, Ice Cube founded N.W.A, along with Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, and Arabian Prince. Music buffs will note that DJ Yella and MC Ren joined the group later, and Arabian Prince left early on. The group found success by making authentic music that resonated with young people around the country. Alas, conflict arose, and Ice Cube parted ways with N.W.A. in 1989.
Soon after his exit from the group, Ice Cube launched a solo career with AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted. On the promotional circuit for the album in 1990, he opened up in an interview about why he left N.W.A. The performer said this about the break-up:
Politics. It was a guy named Jerry Heller. It was the whole divide and conquer type thing. I was the one that was smart and wasn’t just going for the okey-doke. You know, so I wanted to let the rest of the crew know. But he stepped in [and] told them a whole different story as if I was a traitor or troublemaker, so they turned on me. So, it was like a divide and conquer thing, you know. But I ain’t going out like that.Ice Cube via Cubevision on YouTube
Heller was a music manager and executive credited with guiding the trajectory of N.W.A. from the very beginning. He is also the subject of scrutiny from some individuals who blame him for allegedly dismantling the group.
Ice Cube overcame roadblocks while producing his solo album
In a recent tweet, Ice Cube claimed that after he left N.W.A., Heller interfered with his solo work, preventing Dr. Dre from collaborating with him. He also revealed other roadblocks he encountered, tweeting this:
“After our summer tour in 1989, I left N.W.A. to go solo. Jerry stopped Dre from working on my solo record, so I went to NYC for production. Sam Severe stood me up at Def Jam. But then I saw Chuck D walking down the hallway.”
Chuck D, among other artists, became allies as Ice Cube worked tirelessly to complete his project despite swirling controversy and other challenges. The rap star shed light on that era of his career in a series of tweets, writing the following about his supporters:
“While working on [AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted], many of NYC’s OGs would stop by the studio to say ‘what’s up’ and wish me luck on the project. We’d work from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., sleep all day and do it again the next night. It took about 30 days to complete.”
“During pre-production on Long Island, guys would slide thru. Met Busta, Redman, and K-Solo for the first time. Erick Sermon from EPMD would scoop us to hang out in his hood sometimes.”
AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted dropped in 1990 amid fan frenzy, acclaim, and impressive sales. What’s more, the album was certified platinum in September of 1991, shutting down any lingering doubts about Ice Cube’s ferocity as a solo emcee.
The beef with Heller lasted for decades
In retrospect about AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, Ice Cube pointed the finger at Heller as a barrier to early collaborations with Dr. Dre. But the musical biopic, Straight Out of Compton, takes an even deeper dive into the relationship between Heller and and the group members. In the movie, Heller is portrayed by Paul Giamatti in what most viewers would perceive negatively.
Alas, Heller was so disgruntled by his depiction in the film that he sued ex-N.W.A. members and film producers, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, who then filed a counterclaim. The lawsuit raged even after Heller’s death in 2016 but was ultimately dismissed, as reported by Rolling Stone.
Ice Cube remains an influencer in music, movies, and social issues. Fans can look forward to seeing more of the entertainer in his upcoming projects, including Ride Along 3.