As the key contributor to N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton and Eazy-E’s Eazy-Duz-It, both platinum albums, you can understand why Ice Cube might have felt shortchanged when Jerry Heller presented him with a cheque for $32,000.
Frustrated with what he felt was unfair compensation, as well as Eazy’s relationship with Heller, Cube left N.W.A. shortly after their debut album was released and set off on his solo career. Despite leaving the group, Cube still wanted Dre to produce his album.
“So when I went solo, I was like I wanted Dr. Dre to do AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, but Jerry Heller vetoed that,” Cube recalled in an interview with XXL. “So since he vetoed that shit—and I’m pretty sure Eazy didn’t want Dre to do it. But Dre did want to do it; we gotta put that on record. Dre wanted to do my record, but it was just too crazy with the break-up of [N.W.A]. The break-up snowballed into some shit.”
With Dre out as a producer for his debut, Cube and his longtime collaborator Sir Jinx (who is also Dre’s cousin), left for New York to work on the record. During this time, Cube reached out to the Bomb Squad to see if they would be willing to work with him.
“Cube contacted me wanting to know if we could do a few tracks for his solo album,” Bomb Squad producer Hank Shocklee said. “I was like, ‘I’ll do it if I can do the whole album’. And he said, ‘that’s what I was hoping you would say’. When we were in the studio he showed up with notebooks and notebooks full of new rhymes, a bag full of rhymebooks.”
Ice Cube: I think Dre’s sound was heavier, crisper, but I just thought the Bomb Squad had the complicated funk. So I was happy either way. I wanted Dre to work because I knew what I was getting with Dre. I didn’t know what I was getting with the Bomb Squad. I didn’t know if they even wanted to do my whole record, I was just hoping to get them to do two or three songs. So, when they agreed to do the whole thing, I fuckin’ did a backflip.SPIN 30: Ice Cube Reflects On His Back-Against-The-Wall Debut, ‘AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted’ | SPIN