Since the movie Straight Outta Compton was released in August of 2015, the former rap group NWA has grown in popularity (if that is even possible). NWA has been and forever will be known as the greatest and most dangerous rap group of our time, but the movie added another dimension to the group’s life and style. Made up of rappers Dr. Dre, Easy-E, Mc Ren, DJ Yella and Ice Cube, the movie shows us the inner workings of this infamous group and gives us a glimpse of what their music meant to them and to the rest of the world. They were able to completely and utterly revolutionized hip-hop culture with their music. Not only that, but the movie portrays the reality that these young men faced and how their raps songs were used to combat gun violence and police brutality in the United States.
Below we’ve listed 15 things that you may never have known about the rapper Ice Cube (born O’Shea Jackson). As a former NWA band member, Ice Cube has since moved on to create solo albums, produce records and movies and act in many films. He’s become one of the most famous and popular members of the rap community and has been dubbed as one of the greatest MCs of all time. He is also noted as one of the best lyricist and storytellers of the 90s and is regarded as a brutally honest rapper with his lyrics often insinuating a political stance on violence and aggression. Even to this day he continuously delivers unparalleled raps and is known to be one of the founding fathers of gangsta rap.
15. He’s cousins with rapper Del
Ice Cube comes from quite a musical family. One of Ice Cube’s cousins is Teren Delvon Jones, also known as Del tha Funkee Homosapien. Del is part of rap group Hieroglyphics and has worked with huge names such as the Gorillaz. In the early 90s, Del started his musical career writing for Jackson’s (Ice Cube’s) group Da Lench Mob and with Ice Cube’s help, Del released his debut album I Wish My Brother George Was Here when he was only 18. This album was a relatively a large success because of the song “Mistadobalina.” Eventually, Del separated himself from Ice Cube and pursued a solo career at a different label.
14. He was the only member of NWA not born in Compton
Ice cube was the only member of NWA that was not born in Compton, California. Crazy right? Especially since he’s the one who wrote half of the lyrics to the rap song “Straight Outta Compton.” All the other members of the group, Dr. Dre, Easy-E, Mc Ren and DJ Yella were all born and brought up in Compton. Jackson was instead born on June 15, 1969 in the South Central area of Los Angeles. Jackson was not only the only one from outside of Compton, he was also the youngest. When the group started out, O’Shea Jackson was in his last year of high cool and was only 17 years old.
13. His older sister was killed when he was just 12
Before Ice Cube gained fame by rapping about gun violence and police brutality, he actually fell victim to the repercussions of gun violence at the age of 12. Ice Cube’s half- sister, Beverley Jean Brown, age 22, was shot by her husband in a murder-suicide in their home. The couple lived just doors away from where Jackson and his parents lived. From this instance, Ice Cube attributes a large number of his raps and songs to describing guns used in gang wars, guns used by corrupt police officers and guns used by ordinary citizens. He explicitly links the fact that America is gun-driven nation to the death of his sister.
12. Ice Cube has a degree in architectural drafting- obtained when NWA was at its peak
Many don’t know this about Ice Cube, but he has a degree in architectural drafting. Right when NWA was about to explode in the hip-hop world, Jackson took a hiatus. He didn’t believe that they would make a ton of money in rapping and he believed that no one would go for the large amount of cursing in their music. He instead decided to move to Arizona and get a degree at the Phoenix Institute of Technology in the fall of 1987. He has since never gone back to actually get his certificate, stating now that “If you want me to draw you a house I can draw you a house; I don’t know if it’s gonna be liveable [though].” He credits his schooling in architectural drafting for his ability to create and picture plans.
11. He started a career in film and television
In 1992, Ice Cube started in the movie Boyz n the Hood as the character Doughboy. Following the massive amount of success this movie had, rumour has it that John Singleton, the producer of the movie, told Ice Cube that he should try his hand at screenwriting, arguing that it is similar to writing songs. With this encouragement, Ice Cube ended up writing the screenplay to the comedy Friday, released in 1995. It became a huge hit and since then, Jackson has consistently starred and produced countless blockbuster movies such as Anaconda, The Players Club, Barbershop and Straight Outta Compton.
10. In the 90s he converted to Islam
Having converting to Islam in the 1990s, it is unclear what religion Jackson practiced (if any) before his conversion. Nevertheless, he believes that his ties with Islam are pure and spiritualistic, deeming that he has a relationship with God and not a sect or a faction. Though Muslim, Ice Cube reportedly never goes to the mosque because he believes there is no need, since it is just him and God. Apparently, now that he has a family, Jackson has cuts ties with the nation of Islam and the Islamic community. He has not commented on with which faith he has brought up his children with.
9. His son, O’Shea Jackson Jr. played his father in the Straight Outta Compton movie
Many of you may have caught the startling resemblance between Ice Cube and the individual who played his character in this summer’s hit movie Straight Outta Compton. Well it should come as no surprise that the young man in the movie is actually Jackson’s oldest son O’Shea Jr. and rapper Doughboy. O’Shea Jr. wasn’t given the part automatically. He had to audition alongside the rest of the crew and prove his acting capabilities. O’Shea Jr. apparently had to lose a couple of pounds and develop the dark and menacing scowling eyes that Ice Cube is famous for. Ice Cube was one of the producers on the show that cast his son.
8. Released the first hip-hop EP to go Platinum
In 1988, Ice Cube left the group NWA. He felt as if he was not being recognized and was not being paid what he deserved. On his contract he was also reportedly not confirmed as being an official member of NWA. Jackson thus began his solo career in 1989. Largely out of spit, most of his initial songs on this first album AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted was a dis to his former band mates. Yet, in the same year that this album was released, Ice Cube released the EP: Kill At Will which sold so fast that it became the first hip hop EP to of ever go Platinum.
7. Ice Cube toured with Lollapalooza
You all know the names Coachella, Glastonbury, Love Parade and Lollapalooza, right? If not, they are all massive music festivals that happen every year in different parts of the world. What does this have to do with anything? In 1992, Ice Cube spent a large amount of the year touring with notable music festival Lollapalooza. He was one of the first rappers to go on a tour that featured all types of music like country, EDM and heavy metal. Because of this, his fan base widened exponentially and soon after he collaborated with music icons like Korn, David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails and Tupac Shakur.
6. He got his name Ice Cube from his brother
Rumour has it that Ice Cube received his nickname from his older brother. His brother would constantly be going out with girls and these girls would constantly be phoning the house asking for him. Instead of giving the phone to his brother, Jackson would try to hit on these women. His brother later stated that Jackson was too “cool” for his own age, acting like a modern day Fonzie. From then on his brother names him Ice Cube. This nickname stuck with Jackson through high school to the present day.
5. He could have been Janet Jackson’s love interest
In the early 90s Ice Cube was offered to co-star along leading woman and musical icon Janet Jackson in the 1993 romantic file Poetic Justice. Maybe it was because he was a happily married man, but Ice Cube turned down the role to be Ms. Jackson’s love interest and instead the part was offered to none other than rap legend Tupac Shakur. The movie ended up becoming quite successful. Apparently it grossed a huge amount at the box office and Ms. Jackson was also nominated for a couple of Academy Awards! Rap Icon Kendrick Lamar also named one of his songs “Poetic Justice” and gives reference to this movie in it.
4. Ice Cube has a clothing line
Many of you probably know that Ice Cube has his own clothing line, and like many other celebrities, he branched out into the fashion world. His clothing line is named Solo by Cube and features many types of clothing. Most notable are his hooded sweatshirts with built in headphones in the hood strings, the first of their kind. Though not as popular as his former NWA band mate Dr. Dre’s Beats headphones, Ice Cube still has created a massive franchise with these wearable and washable built-in speakers. Released in 2011, they were instantly a hit and sold out worldwide.
3. Two of his children are rappers
Jackson has 4 children, two of which are pursuing a rapping career just like their famous father. Ice Cube’s sons O’Shea, Jr. (born in 1991) and Darrell (born in 1992) who go by the names Doughboy (Jackson played the character of Doughboy in the hit movie Boyz n the Hood) and OMG have been reciting and creating lyrics for rap songs since their teenage years. Luckily they have the musical gene and Ice Cube was apparently so impressed with their skills that they were both featured on their father’s last album I Am the West. This album was released in 2010.
2. He has won music and film awards
What started off as strictly a rapping career slowly spiralled off to an acting career. Not withstanding the fact that Ice Cube is and will always be one of the greatest rappers, he has not only won awards in the rap business when he won the BET Hip-Hop Awards in 2009, he has also won awards in the film industry. In 2000 he received the Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favourite Action Team in Three Kings and in 2002 he received the MECCA Movie Award for acting. He has since starred in comedies such as 21 Jump Street and Are We There Yet?.
1. He began record label Lench Mob Records and film producing company Cube Vision
After the controversial split with NWA band members. Ice Cube was still not getting the recognition he was owed and so he reportedly smashed up his label Priority Records when he did not get paid. Out of animosity, he shortly thereafter started his own record label: Lench Mob Records. Lench Mob Records has produced music for Da Lench Mob, T-Bone and OMG among others. With this success, his film career also progressed and he started his own production company which he owns and operates himself: Cube Vision. Cube Vision has produced movies such as Barbershop, Friday After Next and Beauty Shop.