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Ice Cube
Ice Cube performing in Toronto, 2006.
Ice Cube performing in Toronto, 2006.
Background information
Birth name O'Shea Jackson
Born June 15, 1969 (1969-06-15) (age 49)[1]
Origin South Los Angeles, California
Genres West Coast hip hop, gangsta rap, conscious hip hop
Occupations Rapper, record producer, actor, screenwriter, film director, film producer
Instruments Keyboards, sampler
Years active 1984–present
Labels Priority (1987–1996)
Lench Mob (1994–present)
EMI (1987–present)
Associated acts N.W.A, C.I.A., Westside Connection, Snoop Dogg, Chilly Chill, WC, Allfrumtha I, Da Lench Mob, Lil Jon, Yo-Yo, Del tha Funkee Homosapien, 2Pac, Ice-T, E-40, Mack 10, Too Short, MC Eiht, Korn, Scarface, Dr. Dre

O'Shea Jackson (born June 15, 1969), better known by his stage name Ice Cube, is an American rapper, actor, screenwriter, film director, and producer. He began his career as a member of C.I.A and later joined the rap group N.W.A. After leaving N.W.A in 1989, he built a successful solo career in music, and also as a writer, director, actor and producer in cinema. In 2010 embarked upon a television production career with the TBS series Are We There Yet.

He married Kimberly Woodruff in 1992, with whom he has four children.[2][3] From the 2000s onwards, Jackson focused on acting, and his musical output has slowed down considerably. He remains one of the most visible West Coast rappers, having helped originate gangsta rap.

Early lifeEdit

Jackson was born on June 15, 1969 in South Central Los Angeles, California, the son of Doris Jackson (née Benjamin), a hospital clerk and custodian, and Hosea Jackson, who worked as a groundskeeper at UCLA.[4][5] His cousins are Teren Delvon Jones, also known as Del tha Funkee Homosapien, who is a part of the rap group Hieroglyphics and is best known for his work with the Gorillaz; and Kam of rap group The Warzone.[6] At age sixteen, Jackson developed an interest in hip hop music, and began writing raps in Taft High School's keyboarding class.[6] He attended the Phoenix Institute of Technology in the fall of 1987, and studied Architectural Drafting.[7] With friend Sir Jinx, Jackson formed the C.I.A., and they performed at parties hosted by Dr. Dre.

In an interview with British newspaper The Guardian, Jackson stated that he is a Muslim, having converted sometime in the 1990s. He described his Muslim faith as a simple, personal one that does not involve attending prayer services or following rituals. Although he has spoken favorably of the Nation of Islam, he denied ever being in the organization.[8]


Main article: N.W.A

In 1987, Jackson and Dr. Dre released the single My Posse, under the alias CIA. After the collaboration, Jackson showed Eazy-E the lyrics to "Boyz-n-the-Hood".[1] Eazy-E, although initially rejecting the lyrics, eventually recorded the song for N.W.A. and the Posse, the debut album for the group N.W.A that included him, Dre, and other rappers MC Ren and DJ Yella.

By this point Jackson was a full-time member of N.W.A along with Dr. Dre and MC Ren. Jackson wrote Dr. Dre and Eazy-E's rhymes for the group's landmark album, Straight Outta Compton, released in 1988. However, as 1990 approached, Jackson found himself at odds with the group's manager, Jerry Heller, after Heller responded to the group's financial questions by drafting up a new arrangement. As he explains in his book:

"Heller gave me this contract, and I said I wanted a lawyer to see it. He almost fell out of his chair. I guess he figured, how this young muthafucker turn down all this money? [$75,000] Everybody else signed. I told them I wanted to make sure my shit was right first."[9]

Since Jackson wrote the lyrics to approximately half of both Straight Outta Compton, and Eazy-E's solo album, Eazy-Duz-It, he was advised of the amounts he was truly owed by Heller, and proceeded to take legal action, soon after leaving the group and the label. In response, the remaining N.W.A members attacked him on the EP 100 Miles and Runnin', as well as their next and final album, Efil4zaggin (Niggaz4life spelled backwards).

Solo career Edit

In 1989, Jackson recorded his debut solo album in Los Angeles with the Bomb Squad (Public Enemy's production team). AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted was released in May 1990 and was an instant hit, riding and contributing to the rising tide of rap's popularity in mainstream society. The album was charged with controversy, and he was accused of misogyny, and racism. Subsequently, Jackson appointed the female rapper Yo-Yo (who appeared on AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted) to the head of his own record label and helped produce her debut album, Make Way for the Motherlode. This was followed by a critically acclaimed role as 'Doughboy' in John Singleton's hood-based drama, Boyz n the Hood. In the same year as AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, Jackson released the acclaimed EP, Kill At Will which sold well, becoming the first hip hop EP to go both Gold and Platinum.[1]

His 1991 follow-up, Death Certificate was regarded as more focused, yet even more controversial, and critics accused him again of being anti-white, misogynist, and antisemitic. The album is thematically divided into the 'Death Side' ("a vision of where we are today") and the 'Life Side' ("a vision of where we need to go"). It features "No Vaseline", a scathing response to N.W.A's attacks and "Black Korea," a track regarded by some as prophetic of the L.A. riots, but also interpreted as racist by many; it was still being cited years after its release.[1] Jackson toured with Lollapalooza in 1992, which widened his fan base.[3]

Jackson released The Predator in November 1992, which had been recorded amidst the LA uprising of 1992. Referring specifically to the riots, in the first single, "Wicked", he rapped "April 29 was power to the people and we might just see a sequel". The Predator debuted at number one on both the pop and R&B charts, the first album in history to do so. Singles from The Predator included "It Was a Good Day" and the "Check Yo Self" remix, and the songs had a two part music video. The album remains his most successful release, with over three million copies sold in the US. However, after The Predator, Ice Cube's rap audience slowly began to diminish. Lethal Injection which was released in the end of 1993 and represented Jackson's first attempt at imitating the G-Funk sound of Dr. Dre's The Chronic, was not well received by critics. He had more successful hits from Lethal Injection, including "Really Doe", "Bop Gun (One Nation)", "You Know How We Do It" & "What Can I Do?". After 1994, he took a hiatus from music and concentrated on film work and developing the careers of other rap musicians, such as Mack 10, and Mr. Short Khop.[1]

In 1995, Jackson had reunited with former N.W.A member Dr. Dre, who was now part of Death Row Records, in their duet "Natural Born Killaz".[1] In 1998, he released his long-awaited solo album, War & Peace Volume 1. The delayed second part, War & Peace Volume 2, was released in 2000. The albums featured appearances from Westside Connection as well as a reunion with fellow N.W.A members, Dr. Dre and MC Ren, though many fans maintained that the two albums weren't on par with his past work, especially the second volume.[10] In 2000, Jackson also joined Dr. Dre, Eminem & Snoop Dogg on the Up In Smoke Tour.[11]

In 2006, Jackson released his seventh solo album, Laugh Now, Cry Later, on his Da Lench Mob Records label, debuting at number four on the Billboard Charts and selling 144,000 units in the first week.[12] The album featured production from Lil Jon and Scott Storch, who produced the lead single "Why We Thugs".

He released his eighth studio album, Raw Footage, on August 19, 2008. It features the controversial single "Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It".

On Oct 12, 2009 he released a non album track called 'Raider Nation' in tribute to the American Football teams he supports.[13]

On May 11, 2010, Jackson released a 30 for 30 documentary, Straight Outta L.A., for ESPN on the relationship between the gangster rap scene in Los Angeles and the tenure of the Raiders there.[14][15]

Westside ConnectionEdit

In 1996, Jackson formed Westside Connection with Mack 10 and WC, and together they released an album called Bow Down. Most of the album was used to engage in the war of words between the East and West Coasts of the 90s. The album's eponymous single reached number twenty-one on the singles charts, and the album itself was certified Platinum by the end of 1996. With Bow Down, Westside Connection brought their own agenda to the hip hop scene. Ice Cube, Mack 10, and WC had grown tired of being overlooked by most East Coast media outlets; the album was designed to instill a sense of pride in West Coast rap fans and to start a larger movement that anyone who felt underappreciated might identify with. Songs like "Bow Down" and "Gangstas Make the World Go 'Round" make reference to this. Jackson would also eventually make amends with Eazy-E shortly before the latter's death in 1995. After a seven-year hiatus, Westside Connection returned with their second effort Terrorist Threats in 2003. The album fared well critically, but its commercial reception was less than that of Bow Down. "Gangsta Nation" was the only single released from the album, which was Produced by Fredwreck and featured Nate Dogg and was a radio hit. After a rift occurred between Jackson and Mack 10 about Jackson's commitments to film work rather than touring with the group, Westside Connection disbanded. WC, however is still friends with Jackson and released a new solo album on Lench Mob Records entitled Guilty by Affiliation on August 14, 2007.[citation needed]

Collaborations, Film and Television workEdit

In 1992, while taking a break from his own output, Jackson assisted on debut albums from Da Lench Mob (Guerillas in tha Mist, 1992) and Kam (Neva Again, 1993), both of which enjoyed critical acclaim and some moderate commercial success. He handled most of the production on Guerillas in tha Mist.

In 1993, Lench Mob member, J-Dee, was sentenced to life imprisonment for attempted murder, and Jackson did not produce their next album, Planet of tha Apes. Around this time in 1993, he also worked with Tupac Shakur on his album Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z., appearing on the track "Last Wordz" with Ice-T. He also did a song with Dr. Dre for the first time since he left N.W.A: "Natural Born Killaz", for the Murder Was The Case soundtrack, and also contributed to the Office Space soundtrack. He also featured on Kool G Rap's song "Two To The Head" from the Kool G Rap & DJ Polo album "Live And Let Die". Jackson appeared on the song "Children of the Korn" by the band Korn, and lent his voice to British DJ Paul Oakenfold's solo debut album, Bunkka, on the track "Get Em Up".

Following his role as 'Doughboy' in Boyz n the Hood, in 1992 he starred alongside Ice-T, and Bill Paxton in Walter Hill's action film, Trespass, and then in The Glass Shield.

Jackson was offered to co-star with Janet Jackson in the 1993 film Poetic Justice, but he refused because he claimed that he was not at a point in his career where he would play in a romantic movie, so the role was given to Tupac Shakur instead.

John Singleton had encouraged Jackson to try his hand at screenwriting, telling him, "if you can write a record, you can write a movie."[16] With this encouragement, Jackson wrote the screenplay for what became the 1995 comedy Friday, in which he also starred, alongside then-upcoming comedian Chris Tucker. Friday became a hit, earning $28 million worldwide on a $3.5 million budget, and spawned two sequels, Next Friday and Friday After Next.

That year he also starred in his second collaboration with John Singleton, Higher Learning, as world-weary university student, "Fudge"; a role for which he earned award nominations.

In 1997 Jackson starred in the action thriller Dangerous Ground as a South African exiled from his country to escape to America and returns fifteen years later, he also had a supporting role in the film Anaconda that same year. He wrote, executive produced, and made his directorial debut in The Players Club in 1998, and in 1999, starred alongside George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg in the critically acclaimed Three Kings. In 2000, he wrote and appeared in the Friday sequel Next Friday. In 2002, Ice Cube starred in the commercially successful movie Barbershop, as well as All About the Benjamins and the third film in the Friday trilogy, Friday after Next (which he again wrote). In 2004, he appeared in Barbershop 2: Back in Business, and Torque; in 2005 he starred in the action movie XXX: State of the Union, the comedy Are We There Yet? and Are We Done Yet?, co-starring Nia Long.

In early April 2007 Jackson was a guest on Angie Martinez' Hot97 radio show and stated that he was interested in bringing back Chris Tucker as Smokey in a possible Friday sequel, but that was only possible if "New Line cuts the check."[17] In an interview with, Jackson stated that he would be interested in involving all major characters from the Friday franchise in a possible sequel, but added "I know I'm not going to get Chris [Tucker] back, but I'd love to get everybody else back."[18]

In the Movies is a compilation album of Ice Cube songs that have appeared in movie soundtracks, which was released on September 4, 2007.[19]

Jackson and basketball star LeBron James have paired up to pitch a one-hour special to ABC based on James' life.[20]

Ice Cube's Are We There Yet television series premiered on TBS on June 2, 2010. Based on the 2005 feature film of the same name. The show revolves around a family adjusting to the new addition of the matriarch's new husband, played by Terry Crews, and trying to deal with normal family situations. On August 16, 2010, it was announced that Are We There Yet? has been renewed for 90 additional episodes.[21] In an August 2010 interview with, Ice Cube expressed excitement about the show being picked up for the run, which will pan out to around six seasons. He also credits Tyler Perry for opening the door for him at TBS. [22]


In 2004, his hit singles "Check Yo Self", "It Was a Good Day" and affiliated song "Guerrillas in tha Mist" with Da Lench Mob appeared on popular video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on fictional radio station Radio Los Santos.

In late 2005, Jackson and R. J. Cutler, teamed up to create the six-part documentary series titled Black. White., which was broadcast on cable network FX. In May 2006 Jackson accused Oprah Winfrey of not welcoming rappers on her show, and specifically, for not inviting him to the show when the rest of the cast of films that he participated in were invited.[23] Jackson's other movie projects include Teacher of the Year, released in 2007,[24] and The Extractors, released in 2008.

He has also signed on to star in and produce Welcome Back, Kotter, a big screen adaptation of the 1970s television series.[25] Jackson will play the title character, originally portrayed by Gabe Kaplan and his film company, Cube Vision Productions, has sealed a deal with Dimension Films to bring the show to the big screen.

In an interview in London, he revealed he is in talks of a collaboration with Gorillaz after speaking to front man Damon Albarn.[26]

In October 2006, Ice Cube was honored at VH1's Annual Hip Hop Honors by Xzibit, Lil Jon and WC from the Westside Connection, all performing some classic Ice Cube tracks, and Ice Cube also performed "Why We Thugs" and "Go To Church" from his latest album, Laugh Now, Cry Later, where the strong N.Y.C crowd were greeted with Cube's vintage Cali sound.

Father of four, Jackson was asked by Fresh Air's Terry Gross to provide some perspective on the relationship between his work and his family. When asked whether or not he allowed his children to listen to his music, he responded: "What's worked for me is instilling in my kids a level of self-respect," helping them to understand the content of not just music but the violence found on the evening news. When asked what he tells his children about profanity, he recalled telling his kids that there are "appropriate times to use any kind of language.... Adults should never hear you use these words. If you want to use these words around your friends, that's really on you."[6]

After launching his new come-back album Laugh Now, Cry Later, Jackson has been touring across the world to promote the new album. The tour is known as "Straight Outta Compton Tour", and accompanying him along the way is his fellow friend and rapper WC from the Westside Connection. Some places he has recently performed include the Paradiso in Amsterdam, and in various venues in England. After touring all over the U.S. and Europe, his next destination was the Far East, including Australia, New Zealand and Japan. He performed all around Australia with his vintage no-holds barred West Coast style, from Sydney's Enmore Theatre, to The Forum Arena in Melbourne. After Australia, he headed to Japan. Although Jackson has made references of going to church and mosque, he indicates he's a deist without following religious 'rituals and traditions'.[27][28]

Recently, he has also collaborated with Tech N9ne on the song "Blackboy" that appears on Tech N9ne's July 2008 album Killer.

The eighth Ice Cube studio LP, titled Raw Footage, was released on August 19 2008, and featured the singles Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It and Do Ya Thang.

Jackson appeared on a song by rapper The Game titled "State of Emergency" off The Game's Album, L.A.X.


Main article: Ice Cube discography
Solo Albums Year
AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted 1990
Death Certificate 1991
The Predator 1992
Lethal Injection 1993
Bootlegs & B-Sides 1994
War & Peace Vol. 1 (The War Disc) 1998
War & Peace Vol. 2 (The Peace Disc) 2000
Laugh Now, Cry Later 2006
Raw Footage 2008
I Am the West 2010
EP's Year
Kill at Will 1990
With Westside Connection Year
Bow Down 1996
Terrorist Threats 2003
With N.W.A Year
N.W.A. and the Posse 1987
Straight Outta Compton 1988
With C.I.A. Year
My Posse 1987


As an actorEdit

Title Year Role Other notes
Boyz n the Hood 1991 Darin "Doughboy" Baker
Trespass 1992 Savon
CB4 1993 himself guest-appearance in segment
The Glass Shield 1995 Teddy Woods
Higher Learning 1995 Fudge
Friday 1995 Craig Jones
Dangerous Ground 1997 Vusi Madlazi
Anaconda 1997 Danny Rich
The Players Club 1998 Reggie
I Got The Hook Up 1998 Gun Runner
Three Kings 1999 SSgt. Chief Elgin
Thicker Than Water 1999 Slink
Next Friday 2000 Craig Jones
Ghosts of Mars 2001 James 'Desolation' Williams
All About The Benjamins 2002 Bucum
BarberShop 2002 Calvin Palmer
Friday After Next 2002 Craig Jones
Torque 2004 Trey
BarberShop 2: Back in Business 2004 Calvin Palmer
Are We There Yet? 2005 Nick Persons
XXX: State of the Union 2005 Darius Stone
Are We Done Yet? 2007 Nick Persons [29]
First Sunday 2008 Durell
The Longshots 2008 Curtis Plummer
Janky Promoters 2009 Russell Redds
Lottery Ticket 2010 Mr. Washington
10 2010
Rampart 2011 based on the Rampart Scandal [30]
Friday 4 2011 Craig Jones
Shady Talez 2011
Welcome Back, Kotter 2012

As director/writer/producerEdit


Film award historyEdit

Ice Cube has received nominations for several films in the past. To date, he has won two awards:

  • 2000: Blockbuster Entertainment Award: Favorite Action Team (for Three Kings)
  • 2002: MECCA Movie Award: Acting Award

Music awardsEdit

  • VH1 Hip Hop Honors 2006
  • BET Hip-Hop Awards 2009
    • I Am Hip-Hop Award


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2007). "Ice Cube - Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-02-13. 
  2. "Ice Cube - Biography". IMDB. Retrieved 2008-02-13. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Chillin' with Cube". London: The Guardian. February 25, 2000.,4120,140252,00.html. Retrieved 2007-06-14. 
  4. "Ice Cube". Retrieved 2007-08-09. 
  5. Nashawaty, Chris (2002-11-15). "They Call Him Mister Cube | News".,,388411,00.html. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Ice Cube 01/10/2005 NPR Fresh Air Interview with Terry Gross
  7. Jefferson, Jevaillier (February 2004). "Ice Cube: Building On His Vision". Retrieved 2007-06-14. 
  8. "Ice Cube on Islam". London: (www.)guardian( 2000-02-25. Retrieved 2008-11-15. 
  9. Ice Cube: Attitude (McIver, 2002) ISBN 1-86074-428-1
  10. Birchmeier, Jason. ""War & Peace, Vol. 2 (The Peace Disc)" - Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-02-13. 
  11. Pareles, Jon (2000-07-17). "Four Hours of Swagger from Dr. Dre and Friends". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-13. 
  12. "Ice Cube - Billboard Albums". Allmusic. 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-13. 
  13. by jennie(ctrl). "Raider Nation!". Ice Cube. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  14. "Blog Archive » Ice Cube: “Raiders fans were gangster’s way before we came into the picture”". Sports Radio Interviews. 2009-11-12. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  15. "ESPN 30 for 30". 1994-06-17. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  16. "Ice Cube - Brief Article". Jet. 2000-02-28. Retrieved 2008-02-13. 
  17. Ice Cube on Hot 97 Podcast
  18. Are We There Yet?: An Interview with Ice Cube
  19. Jeffries, David. "In the Movies" - Overview. Allmusic. Retrieved September 7, 2007.
  20. James Pitches ABC on TV Drama Based on His Life USA Today, December 20, 2008
  21. ‘Are We There Yet‘ Renewed by TBS for 90 More Episodes 16 August 2010 - tvbythenumbers
  22. "Ice Cube’s Life Story?! Talks Tyler Perry, Woody Harrelson, TV Success and More!". August 16, 2010. 
  23. "Ice Cube: Oprah has 'a problem with hip-hop'". Associated Press. 2006-05-26. Retrieved 2008-05-18. 
  24., Retrieved on 2008/06/13.
  26. Music - News - Gorillaz and Ice Cube to collaborate? - Digital Spy
  27. "ICE CUBE LYRICS - Go To Church". Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  28. "Chillin' with Cube | Film". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  29. Sequel to 2005's "Are We There Yet?
  30. [1]

External linksEdit

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