The rap icon’s rise to pop culture prominence mirrors that of the genre itself.
Like hip-hop, Cube grew out of the bleak ghetto and emerged as a global star. Born O’Shea Jackson in South Central Los Angeles, Calif., in 1969, he became one of the most influential and important figures and helped elevate the platform of the art form far beyond early expectations.
With his critically acclaimed yet notorious group N.W.A., which included Dr. Dre, MC Ren, Eazy-E and DJ Yella, Ice Cube gave a face and a powerful voice to West Coast rap music. Their 1988 classic album, “Straight Outta Compton,” was a cornerstone of hip-hop. Then as a solo star, Ice Cube continued to push the artistic envelope beginning with his first two stellar albums, “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted” and “Death Certificate.”
When hip-hop moved on to Hollywood, so did Cube.
Beginning with 1991’s Academy Award-nominated “Boyz n the Hood,” Ice Cube proved to be a natural on the big screen. But it was in 1995 that he established himself as a box office champ when he wrote, produced and starred in the cult classic, “Friday,” which spawned a successful franchise of movies. Just as he began his career grabbing the mic and creating his own lane in the game, Ice Cube founded his own production company, Cube Vision, and made his own movies including “All About the Benjamins,” the “Barber Shop” movies, “Are We There Yet?” “Are We Done Yet?” and “The Longshots.”
Throughout the years, the world has watched as the man whose introduction to the world was clouded in controversy and “attitude” has evolved into a serious Hollywood player and businessman. Much like the hip-hop genre that he helped build, Ice Cube’s influence is worldwide.
Ice Cube will be honored at the 2009 BET Hip-Hop Awards with the distinguished I Am Hip-Hop Award.
Tune in to BET on October 27 the 4th annual BET Hip-Hop Awards from Atlanta, GA, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.