Many know about the feud that occurred between N.W.A and Ice Cube. Why? Because it culminated in one of hip hop’s most savage diss tracks. Whether it’s because Dr Dre said something to Jerry Heller or Ice Cube mentioned the crew in an interview, the rapper and his former crew were hurling accusations at each other consistently for the best part of two years. But not many know how the feud actually started. In this article, we’re going to tell you what you need to know about the history behind the beef.
One thing that many don’t know is that Ice Cube grew up with some of the N.W.A members. In fact, all of the individuals in the crew grew up in the same neighbourhood. Ice Cube even once considered Eazy-E and Dr Dre to be his friends.
In an interview with Thrasher Magazine, the rapper explained why he had to leave his friends regardless of whether or not they liked it as he detailed, “I was nervous about leaving the group, but I did what I had to do. I had no other option. It was either stay and know you getting fucked out some money or leave and try to start a career from there. To be honest, I’d rather be broke than be in a major group and not be getting paid right.”
Ice Cube (real name O’Shea Jackson) grew frustrated with the fact that Dr Dre, Eazy-E and MC Ren were being happily subservient to Jerry Heller when he was in fact, exploiting them and robbing them of a lot of money. This is where the tension originated. When he went solo, Dre didn’t appreciate his pursuit and bashed Cube on several of their tracks. On ‘Real N*ggaz’ Dre raps, “We started out with too much cargo / So I’m glad we got rid of Benedict Arnold”
Furthermore, on their album N*ggaz4Life, an interlude name ‘Message To B.A’ features several voicemails referencing Jackson that say the likes of “A message to Benedict Arnold, No matter how hard you try to be / Here’s what they think about you: Hello, I was at The Celebrity, and I was wonderin’ why that punk Ice Cube got his ass beat by ATL / Yo, that nigga was sayin’ he from Compton, he ain’t from Compton He from a planet called, “Punk”, it is full of pussy protein, and pearl tongue / All I wanna know is why ya’ll let his punk-ass in the group in the first place when you knew what kinda bitch he was? / Yeah, I was in the new music seminar in New York, and I watched that punk motherfucker run while the rest of his homeboys got they ass beat / Hello, I’m callin’ to say since Ice Cube was suckin’ so much New York dick, can he come and eat some of this Chicago pussy? / (I smell pussy) Yeah, nigga when we see yo’ ass, we gon’ cut your hair off and fuck you with a broomstick. Think about it, punk motherfucker”
After this, Ice Cube responded with the savage, infamous diss track, ‘No Vaseline’. In 1991, Cube released said diss track taking aim at his former bandmates, Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, DJ Yella and their manager, Jerry Heller. In the track, he tells Dr Dre to stop rapping and “stick to producing” and, on multiple occasions, accuses the crew members of sodomy. ‘No Vaseline’ is a ruthless and vicious diss track.It’s main line is “you’re gettin’ fucked out your green (money) by a white boy with no Vaseline”.
However, despite the track, no living members of N.W.A hold any grudges to this day. Cube and Dre even reunited on stage again after 27 years at Coachella in April 2016. Talking to radio personality Howard Stern in 2016 Ice Cube, speaking on making amends with Dr Dre, stated, “We just went forward. We’re gonna always be like that. I don’t care if we don’t talk to each other for 10 years, when we see each other, it’s gonna be like yesterday.”
You can listen to ‘Message To B.A’ and ‘No Vaseline’ in the videos below.