Ice Cube
Ice Cube1.jpg
Ice Cube performs at How the West Was Won at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine, California. (2013)

Birth name

O'Shea Jackson


June 15, 1969 (1969-06-15) (age 51)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.


Hip hop


Rapper, actor, record producer, screenwriter, film producer, director

Years active



Associated acts

N.W.A, Da Lench Mob, C.I.A., Public Enemy, Sir Jinx, Snoop Dogg, WC, Westside Connection

O'Shea Jackson (born June 15, 1969), better known by his stage name Ice Cube, is an American rapper, record producer, actor, screenwriter, film producer, and director. He began his career as a member of group C.I.A. and later joined the revolutionary gangsta rap group N.W.A. After leaving N.W.A in December 1989, he built a successful solo career in music, and also as a writer, director, actor and producer in cinema.

Ice Cube is noted as a proficient lyricist and storyteller and is regarded as a brutally honest rapper; his lyrics are often political as well as violent, and he is considered one of the founding artists in gangsta rap. He has sold over 40 million records in the United States. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest rappers of all time.

Early life[edit | edit source]

O'Shea Jackson was born on 15 June 1969 in the South Central area of Los Angeles to Doris Jackson (née Benjamin), a hospital clerk and custodian, and Hosea Jackson, a groundskeeper at the University of California. O'Shea's half-sister was murdered by her boyfriend in a murder-suicide when he was twelve years old. He is the cousin of rappers Teren "Del the Funky Homosapien" Jones and Craig "Kam" Miller. In his early teens, Ice Cube developed an interest in hip hop music and began writing raps in his keyboard class at Taft High School. He studied architectural drafting at the Phoenix Institute of Technology in the fall of 1987.

With friends Sir Jinx and K-Dee, Ice Cube formed the group C.I.A., and they performed at parties hosted by Sir Jinx's cousin Dr. Dre. Dre saw Cube's potential as a writer and had him assist with writing World Class Wreckin' Cru's hit song, "Cabbage Patch", as well as joining Cube on a side partnership with a duo called Stereo Crew, which considered of Jackson and K-Dee. The duo released a record entitled "She's a Skag" on Epic Records in 1986.

Music career[edit | edit source]

1986-1989: N.W.A[edit | edit source]

Main article: N.W.A

In 1987, C.I.A. and Dr. Dre collaborated on the single "My Posse". After the collaboration, Ice Cube came into contact with Eazy-E through Dr. Dre. Ice Cube gave the lyrics of a song entitled "Boyz-n-the-Hood" to Eazy-E, after a group called H.B.O. rejected the lyrics. Although Eazy-E was reluctant to record the song, he eventually did for the 1987 debut album N.W.A. and the Posse.

By this point, Ice Cube was a full-time member of N.W.A since 1986, with Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, MC Ren, DJ Yella, and Arabian Prince. Ice Cube wrote Dr. Dre and Eazy-E's lyrics for the group's landmark debut album, Straight Outta Compton, which was released in 1988. However, towards the end of 1989, Ice Cube found himself at odds with the group's manager, Jerry Heller, after he rejected Heller's proposed contract terms. Since Ice Cube wrote approximately half of the lyrics to 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 took legal action soon after leaving the group and the Ruthless Records label. In response, the remaining N.W.A members attacked him on the EP 100 Miles and Runnin' and their second and final album Niggaz4Life.

1989-present: Solo career[edit | edit source]

In 1989, Ice Cube relocated to New York to record his debut solo album, AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, with Public Enemy's production team The Bomb Squad. It was released on May 1990 and became an instant hit, but was charged with controversy and Ice Cube was accused of racism and misogyny. Subsequently, Ice Cube appointed the female rapper Yo-Yo to the head of his own record label and helped produce her debut album, Make Way for the Motherlode. This was followed by Ice Cube's critically acclaimed role as Doughboy in John Singleton's violent hood drama, Boyz n the Hood. In the same year, the acclaimed EP Kill at Will was released and became the first hip hop EP to go Platinum.

His second album, Death Certificate, was released in 1991. The album was regarded as being more focused, yet even more, controversial, and critics accused him again of being anti-white, misogynistic, and antisemitic. It features the song "No Vaseline", a scathing response to N.W.A's attacks, and "Black Korea", a track regarded by some as prophetic of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Ice Cube toured with Lollapalooza in 1992 and widened his fan base. He began his acting career in the 1992 John Singleton film Boyz n the Hood as Doughboy and appeared later that year in the film Trespass alongside Ice-T. Ice Cube married Kimberly Woodruff on 26 April 1992, with whom he has four children: O'Shea, Jr. (25), Darryl (23), Kareema (20), and Sharif (13).

Ice Cube released his third album, The Predator, in November 1992. It debuted at number one on both the pop and hip hop charts, the first album in history to do so. Singles from The Predator included "It Was a Good Day" and "Check Yo Self". The album was generally well-received by critics and remains his most successful release commercially, with over three million copies sold in the US. However, after the release of The Predator, his hip hop audience diminished. Ice Cube's fourth album Lethal Injection was released at the end of 1993 and saw him attempting a G-funk sound that was associated with Dr. Dre and was not well received by critics. He did have successful hits from Lethal Injection, including "Really Doe", "Bop Gun (One Nation)", "You Know How We Do It", and "What Can I Do?". After 1994, Ice Cube took a hiatus from creating solo albums and concentrated on his film career and developing the careers of his associates, such as Mack 10, Mr. Short Khop, Kausion, and Da Lench Mob.

1995 saw Ice Cube star in and write the screenplay to the stoner comedy film Friday. John Singleton had encouraged Ice Cube to attempt screenwriting, and he wrote the script alongside DJ PoohFriday earned $28 million worldwide on a $3.5 million budget and spawned two sequels: Next Friday in 2000 and Friday After Next in 2002, with a fourth film titled Last Friday set to be released in the near future. Ice Cube also starred in the Singleton-directed film Higher Learning as world-weary university student Fudge, a role for which he earned award nominations.

In 1996, Ice Cube formed the group Westside Connection with Mack 10 and WC, and together they released the album Bow Down that same year. Some of the album was used to engage in the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry of the 1990s. The album's eponymous single reached #21 on the singles charts, and the album itself was certified Platinum by the end of 1996. 

Discography[edit | edit source]

Studio albums[edit | edit source]

Extended plays[edit | edit source]

with N.W.A[edit | edit source]

with Westside Connection[edit | edit source]

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