Ice Cube

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Ice Cube, in a scene from Next Friday (1999)

Ice Cube (born June 15, 1969) is an American actor and controversial rapper, originally a member of the N.W.A. (Niggaz With Attitude) until launching a successful solo career in music and cinema.

Ice Cube, born O'Shea Jackson, was raised in South Central Los Angeles, California by his parents, both of whom were employed at UCLA. He began writing raps in high school, most notably "Boyz 'N Da Hood", a song which later became famous when done by NWA. Cube and a friend, Sir Jinx, rapped as a partnership called C.I.A. at parties hosted by Dr. Dre. After a brief stint in a group called "HBO", Cube showed Eazy-E "Boyz 'N Da Hood" and the pair, plus Dr. Dre, and MC Ren formed N.W.A. Cube took one year off to earn a degree in architectural drafting in Phoenix, Arizona in 1987 but returned in time to participate in NWA's debut album, Straight Outta Compton. The album was a masterpiece of old school rap and attracted much notoriety for the group, from the FBI and concerned citizen and parent groups.

Ice Cube left NWA due to financial and personality conflicts in 1989. With Da Lench Mob and the Bomb Squad (Public Enemy's producers), Cube recorded his debut album in New York City. AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted was released in 1990 and was an instantaneous hit as rap's popularity increased in mainstream society. Though he was criticized for allegedly misogynistic and violent lyrics, even critics had to agree that the album was a groundbreaking, innovative piece of work. Partially to help deflect criticisms, Cube appointed a female rapper named Yo-Yo (who guested on AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted) to the head of his own record label and helped produce her debut album, Make Way for the Motherlode. That was followed by a critically acclaimed turn in Boyz N the Hood, a film by John Singleton. Cube's 1991 follow-up, Death Certificate was even more controversial.

Cube toured on Lollapalooza in 1992 and widened his fan base. Also during that that year, he converted to the Nation of Islam. He released The Predator which debuted at #1 on both the pop and R&B charts, the first album in history to do so.

After The Predator, Cube's audience began to diminish. Lethal Injection (1993) was not very well-liked by critics (and by some fans), and Dr. Dre and the West Coast G-Funk sound was dominating American hip-hop. Taking a break from his own albums, Cube assisted on debuts from Da Lench Mob (Guerillas in the Mist) and Kam (Neva Again). He later dueted with Dr. Dre on "Natural Born Killaz". With Mack 10 and WC, Cube formed the Westside Connection in 1995, releasing their debut album Bow Down later that year. Sales were brisk but did not establish a large audience. Cube released several more solo albums; however, he is now known more for his movies than his original, groundbreaking music.

However in December 2004, after a long break from recording, he reached #2 in the UK singles chart with the club favourite, "You Can Do It" (featuring Mack 10 and Ms Toi), released as a single 5 years after it was first put onto film soundtracks like Next Friday and Save The Last Dance.



Film Career

Ice Cube's film career began with testing his roles as Doughboy and Fudge in John Singleton's films Boyz N the Hood (1991) and Higher Learning (1995). This led to roles in other movies such as Trespass, Anaconda, and Three Kings. Cube wrote, produced and starred in Friday, which spawned two sequels Next Friday and Friday after Next. He has also appeared in the Barbershop movies.


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