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 the hip-hop group C.I.A. and later joined the 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. Additionally, he has served as one of the producers of the Showtime television series Barbershop and the TBS series Are We There Yet?, both of which are based upon films in which he portrayed the lead character.
O'Shea Jackson was born on June 15, 1969 in Los Angeles, in the South Central area, the son of Doris Jackson (née Benjamin), a hospital clerk and custodian, and Hosea Jackson, who worked as a groundskeeper at UCLA. According to a 2005 interview with Teenink, O'Shea's half-sister was murdered by her boyfriend in a murder-suicide when he was 12 years old. His cousin is Teren Delvon Jones, also known as Del tha Funkee Homosapien, who is a part of the rap group Hieroglyphics and who has also worked with Gorillaz; and Kam of rap group The Warzone.At 16, Ice Cube developed an interest in hip hop music, and began writing raps in Taft High School's keyboarding class. He attended the Phoenix Institute of Technology in the fall of 1987, and studied Architectural Drafting. With friend Sir Jinx, Ice Cube formed the C.I.A., and they performed at parties hosted by Dr. Dre. Young Cube was fourteen years old when he met Dre, nineteen. Dre soon entered the recording industry involved with the World Class Wreckin' Cru recording records. Dre saw Cube's potential as a writer and had him helping Dre in writing Wreckin Cru's big L.A. hit track, "Cabbage Patch" as well as joining Cube on a side partnership the duo called Stereo Crew by which they produced a twelve-inch record, "She's a Skag" released on Epic Records in 1986.
In late 1989, Ice Cube 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, Ice Cube 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, Ice Cube released the acclaimed EP, Kill At Will which sold well, becoming the first hip hop EP to go both Gold and Platinum.
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 1992 Los Angeles riots, but also interpreted as racist by many; it was still being cited years after its release. Ice Cube toured with Lollapalooza in 1992, which widened his fan base.
Ice Cube released The Predator in November 1992. Referring specifically to that year's Los Angeles 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 diminished. Lethal Injection which was released in the end of 1993 and represented Ice Cube'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, Mack 10, Mr. Short Khop, Kausion, and Da Lench Mob.
In 1994, Ice Cube had reunited with former N.W.A member Dr. Dre, who was now part of Death Row Records, in their duet "Natural Born Killaz". In 1998, he released his long-awaited solo album, War & Peace Volume 1. The delayed 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 were not on par with his past work, especially the second volume.In 2000, Ice Cube also joined Dr. Dre, Eminem & Snoop Dogg on the Up In Smoke Tour
In 2006, Ice Cube released his seventh solo album, Laugh Now, Cry Later, on his Lench Mob Records label, debuting at number four on the Billboard Charts and selling 144,000 units in the first week. 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, featuring the controversial single "Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It".
On October 12, 2009 he released a non-album track called 'Raider Nation' in tribute to the Oakland Raiders' football team he supports.
On May 11, 2010, Ice Cube 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.He has been voted as eighth of MTV's "greatest emcees of all time." Westside Connection
In 1996, Ice Cube 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 East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry of the 90s. The album's eponymous single reached number 21 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 instil a sense of pride in West Coast rap fans and to start a larger movement that some people who felt underappreciated might identify with. Songs like "Bow Down" and "Gangstas Make the World Go 'Round" make reference to this. Ice Cube 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; it was a radio hit. After a rift between Ice Cube and Mack 10 about Ice Cube's commitments to film work rather than touring with the group, Westside Connection disbanded. WC, however, did release a new solo album on Lench Mob Records entitled Guilty by Affiliation on August 14, 2007.