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 C.I.A and later
joined the rap group N.W.A. After leaving N.W.A in 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.
He married Kimberly Woodruff in 1992, with whom he has four children
(three boys, one girl). From the 2000s onwards, Jackson focused
on acting, and his musical output has slowed down considerably.
O'Shea "Ice Cube" Jackson was born on June 15, 1969 in
South Central Los Angeles, California, the son of Doris Jackson (née
Benjamin), a hospital clerk and custodian, and Hosea Jackson, who
worked as a groundskeeper at UCLA. His cousins are Teren Delvon
Jones, also known as Del tha Funkee Homosapien, who is a part of
the rap group Hieroglyphics and is best known for his work with Gorillaz;
and Kam of rap group The Warzone. At age sixteen, Jackson 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, Jackson formed the C.I.A., and they performed
at parties hosted by Dr. Dre.
Main article: N.W.A
In 1987, Jackson and Dr. Dre released the single My Posse, under
the alias CIA. After the collaboration, Jackson showed Eazy-E the
lyrics to "Boyz-n-the-Hood". Eazy-E, although initially
rejecting the lyrics, eventually recorded the song for N.W.A. and
the Posse, the debut album for the group N.W.A that included him,
Dre, and other rappers MC Ren and DJ Yella.
By this point Jackson was a full-time member of N.W.A along with
Dr. Dre and MC Ren. Jackson wrote Dr. Dre and Eazy-E's rhymes for
the group's landmark album, Straight Outta Compton, released in 1988.
However, as 1990 approached, Jackson found himself at odds with the
group's manager, Jerry Heller, after Heller responded to the group's
financial questions by drafting up a new arrangement. As he explains
in his book:
"Heller gave me this contract, and I said I wanted a lawyer
to see it. He almost fell out of his chair. I guess he figured, how
this young muthafucker turn down all this money? [$75,000] Everybody
else signed. I told them I wanted to make sure my shit was right
Since Jackson wrote the lyrics to approximately half of both Straight
Outta Compton, and Eazy-E's solo album, Eazy-Duz-It, he was advised
of the amounts he was truly owed by Heller, and proceeded to take
legal action, soon after leaving the group and the label. In response,
the remaining N.W.A members attacked him on the EP 100 Miles and
Runnin', as well as their next and final album, Efil4zaggin (Niggaz4life
 Solo career
In late 1989, Jackson 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, Jackson 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, Jackson 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 L.A. riots, but also interpreted as racist by many;
it was still being cited years after its release. Jackson toured
with Lollapalooza in 1992, which widened his fan base.
Jackson released The Predator in November 1992, which had been recorded
amidst the LA riots of 1992. Referring specifically to the 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 slowly began
to diminish. Lethal Injection which was released in the end of 1993
and represented Jackson'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 1995, Jackson 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 second part, War & Peace
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, Jackson also joined Dr. Dre, Eminem & Snoop Dogg on
the Up In Smoke Tour.
In 2006, Jackson released his seventh solo album, Laugh Now, Cry
Later, on his Da 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. It features the controversial single "Gangsta Rap Made
Me Do It".
On Oct 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, Jackson 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.
 Westside Connection
In 1996, Jackson 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 war of words between the East and
West Coasts of the 90s. The album's eponymous single reached number
twenty-one 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 instill a sense of pride in West Coast
rap fans and to start a larger movement that anyone who felt underappreciated
might identify with. Songs like "Bow Down" and "Gangstas
Make the World Go 'Round" make reference to this. Jackson 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 and was a radio hit. After a rift occurred between Jackson and
Mack 10 about Jackson's commitments to film work rather than touring
with the group, Westside Connection disbanded. WC, however is still
friends with Jackson and released a new solo album on Lench Mob Records
entitled Guilty by Affiliation on August 14, 2007.
 Collaborations, film and television work
In 1992, while taking a break from his own output, Jackson assisted
on debut albums from Da Lench Mob (Guerillas in tha Mist, 1992) and
Kam (Neva Again, 1993), both of which enjoyed critical acclaim and
some moderate commercial success. He handled most of the production
on Guerillas in tha Mist.
In 1993, Lench Mob member, J-Dee, was sentenced to life imprisonment
for attempted murder, and Jackson did not produce their next album,
Planet of tha Apes. Around this time in 1993, he also worked with
Tupac Shakur on his album Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z., appearing on
the track "Last Wordz" with Ice-T. He also did a song with
Dr. Dre for the first time since he left N.W.A: "Natural Born
Killaz", for the Murder Was The Case soundtrack, and also contributed
to the Office Space soundtrack. He also featured on Kool G Rap's
song "Two To The Head" from the Kool G Rap & DJ Polo
album "Live And Let Die". Jackson appeared on the song "Children
of the Korn" by the band Korn, and lent his voice to British
DJ Paul Oakenfold's solo debut album, Bunkka, on the track "Get
Following his role as 'Doughboy' in Boyz n the Hood, in 1992 he
starred alongside Ice-T, and Bill Paxton in Walter Hill's action
film, Trespass, and then in The Glass Shield.
Jackson was offered to co-star with Janet Jackson in the 1993 film
Poetic Justice, but he refused because he claimed that he was not
at a point in his career where he would play in a romantic movie,
so the role was given to Tupac Shakur instead.
John Singleton had encouraged Jackson to try his hand at screenwriting,
telling him, "if you can write a record, you can write a movie."
With this encouragement, Jackson wrote the screenplay for what became
the 1995 comedy Friday, in which he also starred, alongside then-up-and-coming
comedian Chris Tucker. Friday became a hit, earning $28 million worldwide
on a $3.5 million budget, and spawned two sequels, Next Friday and
Friday After Next.
That year he also starred in his second collaboration with John
Singleton, Higher Learning, as world-weary university student, "Fudge";
a role for which he earned award nominations.
In 1997 Jackson starred in the action thriller Dangerous Ground
as a South African exiled from his country to escape to America and
returns fifteen years later, he also had a supporting role in the
film Anaconda that same year. He wrote, executive produced, and made
his directorial debut in The Players Club in 1998, and in 1999, starred
alongside George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg in the critically acclaimed
Three Kings. In 2000, he wrote and appeared in the Friday sequel
Next Friday. In 2002, Ice Cube starred in the commercially successful
movie Barbershop, as well as All About the Benjamins and the third
film in the Friday trilogy, Friday after Next (which he again wrote).
In 2004, he appeared in Barbershop 2: Back in Business, and Torque;
in 2005 he starred in the action movie XXX: State of the Union, the
comedy Are We There Yet? and Are We Done Yet?, co-starring Nia Long.
In early April 2007 Jackson was a guest on Angie Martinez' Hot97
radio show and stated that he was interested in bringing back Chris
Tucker as Smokey in a possible Friday sequel, but that was only possible
if "New Line cuts the check." In an interview with
BlackFilm.com, Jackson stated that he would be interested in involving
all major characters from the Friday franchise in a possible sequel,
but added "I know I'm not going to get Chris [Tucker] back,
but I'd love to get everybody else back."
In the Movies is a compilation album of Ice Cube songs that have
appeared in movie soundtracks, which was released on September 4,
Jackson and basketball star LeBron James have paired up to pitch
a one-hour special to ABC based on James' life.
Ice Cube's Are We There Yet television series premiered on TBS on
June 2, 2010. Based on the 2005 feature film of the same name. The
show revolves around a family adjusting to the new addition of the
matriarch's new husband, played by Terry Crews, and trying to deal
with normal family situations. On August 16, 2010, it was announced
that Are We There Yet? has been renewed for 90 additional episodes.
In an August 2010 interview with UrbLife.com, Ice Cube expressed
excitement about the show being picked up for the run, which will
pan out to around six seasons. He also credits Tyler Perry for opening
the door for him at TBS.
In 2004, his hit singles "Check Yo Self", "It Was
a Good Day" and affiliated song "Guerrillas in tha Mist" with
Da Lench Mob appeared on popular video game Grand Theft Auto: San
Andreas on fictional radio station Radio Los Santos.
In late 2005, Jackson and R. J. Cutler, teamed up to create the
six-part documentary series titled Black. White., which was broadcast
on cable network FX. In May 2006 Jackson accused Oprah Winfrey of
not welcoming rappers on her show, and specifically, for not inviting
him to the show when the rest of the cast of films that he participated
in were invited. Jackson's other movie projects include Teacher
of the Year, released in 2007, and The Extractors, released in
He has also signed on to star in and produce Welcome Back, Kotter,
a big screen adaptation of the 1970s television series. Jackson
will play the title character, originally portrayed by Gabe Kaplan
and his film company, Cube Vision Productions, has sealed a deal
with Dimension Films to bring the show to the big screen.
In an interview in London, he revealed he is in talks of a collaboration
with Gorillaz after speaking to front man Damon Albarn.
In October 2006, Ice Cube was honored at VH1's Annual Hip Hop Honors
by Xzibit, Lil Jon and WC from the Westside Connection, all performing
some classic Ice Cube tracks, and Ice Cube also performed "Why
We Thugs" and "Go To Church" from his latest album,
Laugh Now, Cry Later, where the strong N.Y.C crowd were greeted with
Cube's vintage Cali sound.
After launching his new come-back album Laugh Now, Cry Later, Jackson
has been touring across the world to promote the new album. The tour
is known as "Straight Outta Compton Tour", and accompanying
him along the way is his fellow friend and rapper WC from the Westside
Connection. Some places he has recently performed include the Paradiso
in Amsterdam, and in various venues in England. After touring all
over the U.S. and Europe, his next destination was the Far East,
including Australia, New Zealand and Japan. He performed all around
Australia with his vintage no-holds barred West Coast style, from
Sydney's Enmore Theatre, to The Forum Arena in Melbourne. After Australia,
he headed to Japan. Although Jackson has made references of going
to church and mosque, he has indicated that he is a deist, without
following religious "rituals and traditions".
Jackson collaborated with Tech N9ne on the song "Blackboy" that
appears on Tech N9ne's July 2008 album Killer.
The eighth Ice Cube studio LP, titled Raw Footage, was released
on August 19, 2008, and featured the singles Gangsta Rap Made Me
Do It and Do Ya Thang.
Jackson appeared on a song by rapper The Game titled "State
of Emergency" off The Game's Album, L.A.X.
Despite rumors of conflicts with other rappers in 2010, Ice Cube
stated in an interview with DJ Whoo Kid on Sirius Shade 45 that he
has no beef.
Jackson's ninth studio album I Am the West was released on September
28, 2010. Ice Cube has stated this album will be different than any
one of his other albums having a different direction for the album.
He has revealed to have received beats from West coast veteran producers
such as DJ Quik, Dr. Dre, E-A-Ski, and Sir Jinx, not having worked
on a solo album with the latter in nearly 20 years. The album was
released independently under his label Lench Mob. Ice Cube has stated
that "being independent is beautiful because we can do things
'out the box' that record companies would usually frown at. Instead
of working from a ready-made cookie-cutter marketing plan, we can
tailor make a marketing plan specifically for me."
 Clothing line
Ice Cube has announced a new clothing line SOLO by Cube which features
hooded sweatshirts with built in headphones in the drawstring.
 Personal life
A father of four, Jackson was asked by Fresh Air's Terry Gross to
provide some perspective on the relationship between his work and
his family. When asked whether or not he allowed his children to
listen to his music, he responded: "What's worked for me is
instilling in my kids a level of self-respect," helping them
to understand the content of not just music but the violence found
on the evening news. When asked what he tells his children about
profanity, he recalled telling his kids that there are "appropriate
times to use any kind of language.... Adults should never hear you
use these words. If you want to use these words around your friends,
that's really on you."Ice Cube is also the father of rappers
OMG and Doughboy, who were featured on his album, I Am the West.
In an interview with British newspaper The Guardian, Jackson stated
that he is a Muslim, having converted sometime in the 1990s. He described
his Muslim faith as a simple, personal one that does not involve
attending prayer services or following rituals. Although he has spoken
favorably of the Nation of Islam, he denied ever being in the organization.
Main article: Ice Cube discography
* 1990: AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted
* 1991: Death Certificate
* 1992: The Predator
* 1993: Lethal Injection
* 1998: War & Peace Vol. 1 (The War Disc)
* 2000: War & Peace Vol. 2 (The Peace Disc)
* 2006: Laugh Now, Cry Later
* 2008: Raw Footage
* 2010: I Am the West
* TBA: Once Upon A Time In South Central L.A.
 As an actor
Title Year Role Other notes
Boyz n the Hood 1991 Darin "Doughboy" Baker Main Role
Trespass 1992 Savon Main Role
CB4 1993 himself Cameo
The Glass Shield 1995 Teddy Woods Main Role
Higher Learning 1995 Fudge Main Role
Friday 1995 Craig Jones Main Role
Dangerous Ground 1997 Vusi Madlazi Main Role
Anaconda 1997 Danny Rich Main Role
The Players Club 1998 Reggie Minor Role
I Got The Hook Up 1998 Gun Runner Minor Role
Three Kings 1999 SSgt. Chief Elgin Main Role
Thicker Than Water 1999 Slink Supporting Role
Next Friday 2000 Craig Jones Main Role
Ghosts of Mars 2001 James 'Desolation' Williams Main Role
All About The Benjamins 2002 Detective Bucum Main Role
BarberShop 2002 Calvin Palmer Main Role
Friday After Next 2002 Craig Jones Main Role
Torque 2004 Trey Main Role
BarberShop 2: Back in Business 2004 Calvin Palmer Main Role
Are We There Yet? 2005 Nick Persons Main Role
XXX: State of the Union 2005 Darius Stone Main Role
Are We Done Yet? 2007 Nick Persons Main Role
First Sunday 2008 Durell Main Role
The Longshots 2008 Curtis Plummer Main Role
Janky Promoters 2009 Russell Redds Main Role
Lottery Ticket 2010 Jerome "Thump" Washington Supporting
Rampart 2011 TBA TBA
Title Year Role Other notes
Are We There Yet? TV series 2010–present Terrence Recurring
 Video games
Title Year Role Other notes
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2010 Chief Petty Officer Bowman/SOG multiplayer
announcer Voice actor
 As director/writer/producer
* Friday (1995) writer, executive producer
* Dangerous Ground (1997) executive producer
* The Players Club (1998) writer, director, executive producer
* Next Friday (2000) writer, producer
* All About The Benjamins (2002) writer, producer
* Friday After Next (2002) writer, producer
* BarberShop 2: Back in Business (2004) executive producer
* BarberShop: The Series (2005) executive producer
* Are We There Yet? (2005) producer
* Beauty Shop (2005) executive producer
* Black. White. (2006) executive producer
* Are We Done Yet? (2007) producer
* Friday: The Animated Series (2007) executive producer
* Pirate Island (2008) producer
* The Longshots (2008) producer
* First Sunday (2008) producer
* Straight Outta L.A. (2010) director
* Are We There Yet? (TV series) (2010) executive producer
 Film award history
Ice Cube has received nominations for several films in the past.
To date, he has won two awards:
* 2000: Blockbuster Entertainment Award: Favorite Action Team (for
* 2002: MECCA Movie Award: Acting Award
 Music awards
* VH1 Hip Hop Honors 2006
o 2006 Honoree Snoop Dogg
* BET Hip-Hop Awards2011
o I Am Hip-Hop Award