Ice Cube is an American rapper, actor, and film and music producer. He was born O’Shea Jackson on June 15, 1969 in Los Angeles to a hospital clerk named Doris Jackson and a university groundskeeper Hosea Jackson. He first started rapping in high school, and then attended the Phoenix Institute of Technology in 1987, where he studied architectural drafting for two years. He first formed a group called C.I.A. with some friends. The group performed at a party hosted by Andre Romelle Young, better known as Dr. Dre. Dre was impressed with Ice Cube’s tunes and the two teamed up with fellow musicians DJ Yella, Eazy-E and MC Ren to form the rap group N.W.A. (short for Niggaz With Attitude).
Ice Cube released the album “Straight Outta Compton” with the group in 1988. Their music came to be known as gangsta rap, with explicit and violent lyrics, which brought them into conflict with various law enforcement agencies, censors and concerned parents. They even received a written warning from the assistant director of the FBI, but this only enhanced their notoriety. The album was one of the first to contain the label of “Parental Advisory” content and they received very little airtime on TV, yet their album went double platinum because of hordes of fans flocking to their performances.
Ice Cube left the group in December 1989 over royalty issues, as he had written a large number of the songs but felt he wasn’t fairly compensated. The remaining band members released their next album titled “100 Miles And Runnin” which included songs targeting Ice Cube for cowardice and lack of originality. He was unfazed by the criticism and released his solo debut album titled “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted” in May 1990. The album was an immediate success, although rife with controversy for misogynistic and racist lyrics. He then helped to produce the female rapper Yo-Yo’s debut album titled “Make Way for the Motherlode”.
His second album, titled “Death Certificate” was released in 1991. It was also very successful and equally controversial because of what people felt were anti-white and misogynistic lyrics. However, he continued to gain popularity with an ever widening fan base and teamed up to tour with several artists including the rapper Lollapalooza. His third album, “Predator” was released in November 1992 and debuted at No. 1 on both the pop and R&B charts. This was the first album in history to do so. The song “Wicked” referred to the 1992 Los Angeles riots and became one of the most popular tracks on the album. He later reunited with former N.W.A. member Dr. Dre to release a duet titled “Natural Born Killaz” and also released several more studio albums including “Lethal Injection”, “War & Peace Vol. 1 (The War Disc)”, “Laugh Now, Cry Later” and “I Am the West”.
Apart from music, Ice Cube also has a successful film and television career, including lead and supporting roles in films like “Boyz n the Hood” in 1992, “Dangerous Ground” in 1997, “Friday” in 2000 which he also wrote and produced, and its sequels “Next Friday” and “Friday After Next”. Ice Cube also starred in the box office hit “Barbershop” and the sequel “Barbershop 2: Back in Business”, as well as the hit movie and subsequent television series of the comedy “Are We There Yet” also starring Nia Long. He also made an appearance in the hit comedies “21 Jump Street” and its sequel “22 Jump Street”. He has his own clothing line by the name of “Solo by Cube”. Ice Cube is married to Kimberly Woodruff, with whom he has four children. He claims that he converted to Islam in the 1990s.