Ice Cube responded bluntly to the death of former N.W.A manager Jerry Heller telling Detroit radio station, Hot 107.5, “I didn’t have no emotions. I’m just glad I’m with my brothers today. I’m glad I’m with DJ Yella, I’m glad I’m with MC Ren today, it’s only right.”
Heller died Friday after suffering a heart attack while driving. He was 75. Heller was an instrumental part of N.W.A’s rise in the late Eighties, and with it the proliferation of gangsta rap. He helped Eazy-E form Ruthless Records in 1987 and managed N.W.A through the release of their seminal debut, Straight Outta Compton, but his relationship with Ice Cube disintegrated after the MC left the group in 1989 over royalty disputes, resulting in the scathing diss track, “No Vaseline.”
Over two decades later, Ice Cube’s feelings towards Heller hadn’t warmed. “I ain’t gonna pop no champagne, but I ain’t gonna shed no tears either,” the rapper said. “It is what it is. We come here to pass, and he’s outta here. Like I said, I’m not losing no sleep over that one.”
While Ice Cube and Dr. Dre’s respective relationships with Heller soured, the manager remained closed with Eazy-E until the rapper’s death in 1995. Last year, Heller’s feud with Dre and Cube resurfaced with the release of Straight Outta Compton, the N.W.A biopic, which portrayed Heller (played by Paul Giamatti) in a negative light. Heller filed a $110 million defamation lawsuit against the film’s producer — including Dr. Dre and Ice Cube — but the majority of the suit was dismissed this June.
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“It was very hurtful,” Heller told Rolling Stone of how he was represented in the movie. “I thought ‘No Vaseline’ was hurtful. But actually, this was more hurtful. Look, I am what I am, but I’m not a thief. And I’m not scandalous. I did more for N.W.A … I mean, it was just incredible, the success that we had. So for them to call me a thief is just terrible.”