Ice Cube (born O’Shea Jackson on June 15, 1969) is an American actor and rapper, originally a member of the controversial group N.W.A (Niggaz With Attitude) until launching a successful solo career in music and cinema. In recent years, Ice Cube’s acting career has overshadowed his career in music.
Ice Cube was raised in South Central Los Angeles, California by his parents, both of whom were employed at UCLA. He began writing raps while attending school at William Howard Taft High School in Woodland Hills, California, most notably “Boyz ‘N Tha Hood”, a song which later became famous when done by N.W.A.
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, DJ Yella, The Arabian Prince and MC Ren formed N.W.A. Cube took one year off to earn a degree in architectural drafting in Phoenix in 1987 but returned in time to participate in N.W.A’s debut album, Straight Outta Compton. The album attracted much notoriety for the group, from the FBI and concerned citizen and parent groups. Cube did the lead verse for the album’s infamous track “Fuck tha Police.”
Ice Cube left N.W.A 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.