By Robyn Collins
Hip hop manager Jerry Heller, known for helping the late Eazy-E form Ruthless Records and overseeing the rise of N.W.A., died over the weekend, and while some, including Eazy’s daughter E.B. Wright, grieved his loss, N.W.A. rapper and lyricist Ice Cube wasn’t too bummed.
“I ain’t gonna pop no champagne, but I ain’t gonna shed no tears either,” he told a Detroit radio station. “It is what it is. We come here to pass, and he’s outta here. I’m not losing no sleep over that one.”
It’s well-known that there was no love lost between Heller and Cube. For a while, there was even bad blood between Cube and the rest of N.W.A, allegedly due to Heller’s mismanagement. In 1989, the rapper left the group due to royalty disputes. In his solo cut “No Vaseline” he infamously attacked the members of his former group and made some choice comments about Heller: “Get rid of that Devil real simple, put a bullet in his temple/ ‘Cause you can’t be the Nigga 4 Life crew with a white Jew tellin’ you what to do.”
Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., who played his father in the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton, was a bit more sympathetic. “Of course, [Heller] had his moments where he was the champion for the group of N.W.A, and he does deserve credit for a lot of the good that he has done,” he told TMZ. “But if it wasn’t nothin’ shady, it’d be way better… the good that he did do, I’m not gonna say it outweighed the bad. Rest in peace.”
Wright, however, offered condolences and said Heller was “like a second father” to Eazy-E. “He lived many years of people hating him and thinking wrongly of him, and people don’t know the truth,” she said. “That takes a toll on a person who knows that they were very genuine and really had everybody’s best interest at heart.”
Heller remained on good terms with Eazy-E until his passing from AIDS-related complications in 1995.
Cube has mended fences with the surviving members of N.W.A. long ago. Dr. Dre has yet to comment about Heller’s death.