This Day in Black History: June 15, 1969

American rapper, actor and film producer Ice Cube was born.

Posted: 06/15/2013 08:00 AM EDT

One of the founding fathers of gangsta rap, Ice Cube was born on June 15, 1969, in Los Angeles. The politically and socially charged nature of his earlier music and his work with rap group N.W.A. cemented Ice Cube's title as one of the greatest rappers of all time.

The American rapper was first introduced to national audiences as a member of the groundbreaking rap group N.W.A. Fellow members Dr. Dre and Eazy-E teamed up with Ice Cube in 1988, when the group released their breakthrough album, Straight Outta Compton. The seminal album made history by becoming the first underground album to reach platinum status without any previous major marketing. Conflicts with the group's management prompted Ice Cube to venture out into a well-received solo career. 

Critics both praised and criticized Ice Cube for his trademark profanity and controversial lyrics, most notably in his debut 1990 album, AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, and his 1991 follow-up, Death Certificate. Moral watchdogs often condemned the artist's frequent use of homophobic and sexist narratives in his music, yet Ice Cube still reached revolutionary heights in the 1990s and has continued releasing records almost every two to three years since.

His star turn as Doughboy in John Singleton's 1992 award-winning film Boyz n the Hood set the stage for Ice Cube's hugely successful career in film. After honing his screenwriting talents with the 1995 box office hit Friday, the renaissance rapper further delved into a multitude of screenwriting, film producing, directing and acting opportunities in works like Next Friday, Friday After Next, Barbershop, Three Kings, Higher Learning, All About the Benjamins and Are We There Yet?

 

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