Inset Photo Credit: By Adam Bielawski
Ice Cube is known for his cool, but his net worth fortune, estimated at $170,000,000, is red hot.
The versatile superstar is a triple threat: He’s a musician, an actor and a talented screenwriter.
He’s also a savvy businessman who has been a spokesperson for Coors Light beer since 2011 and who has licensed a bestselling clothing line called Solo by Cube.
Like all true artists, Ice Cube understands that collaboration is one of the biggest creative forces driving music and movies today but he’s never been afraid to go it alone when circumstances pushed him.
In 1989, at the height of N.W.A.’s popularity, Ice Cube walked out of the group when he determined that he wasn’t getting his fair share of profits.
It was a hard decision to make and one that was subsequently dramatized in the blockbuster film “Straight Outta Compton,” which Ice Cube helped produce. At the time, it seemed to many onlookers like a career-ending move, but the years have proved the doubters wrong.
Today, Ice Cube has an estimated net worth of an incredible $170,000,000, and thanks to royalties and lucrative new projects, that figure is growing all the time. How did Ice Cube manage to make all that money?
Table of Contents
Ice Cube’s Rise to Fame
O’Shea Jackson was born on June 15, 1969, in Baldwin Hills, a neighborhood in South-Central Los Angeles.
South-Central was a rough place to grow up in and Jacksons’ parents were determined to get their son away from the drugs, gangs and violence that marked this area throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
They pulled their son out of the local high school and allowed him to be bussed to William Howard Taft High School in the far more upscale San Fernando Valley. There, he became a good student with a deep love of football and music.
Jackson became interested in hip-hop in his early teens around the same time that he acquired his distinctive stage name.
As the famous rapper tells it, the name came out of an argument he had with his older brother: “He threatened to slam me into a freezer and pull me out when I was an ice cube.” The nickname stuck.
Ice Cube Musical Beginnings
It was in the ninth grade that Ice Cube first began working on the rhymes that would catapult him to fame just a few short years later.
A friend challenged him to pen a song in a typing class. He discovered that he really liked writing lyrics and kept at it. At the age of 16, he sold his first song to future N.W.A. bandmate Eazy-E. The song was entitled “Boyz-n-the-Hood.”
In the mid-1980s, Ice Cube and two of his friends, K-Dee (born Darrel Johnson) and Sir Jinx (born Anthony Wheaton), put together a hip-hop group called C.I.A. The letters stood for “Cru’ in Action!”
C.I.A. began playing the South-Central party circuit commandeered by Andre Young, better known as Dr. Dre. Dre instantly recognized Cube’s phenomenal talent as a songwriter and drafted the younger rapper to write material for hip-hop groups that Dre helped manage, including World Class Wreckin’ Cru and Stereo Crew.
Ice Cube knew he wanted a career in hip-hop and rap, but he also knew how hard it is to launch a musical career.
As a backup, he enrolled in the Phoenix Institute of Technology in 1987 and graduated with a degree in architectural drafting.
If he hadn’t gone on to become a world-famous star, Ice Cube would still have had a comfortable career, though he probably wouldn’t have been able to earn $170,000,000.
Ice Cube First Album
In 1987, Ice Cube and C.I.A. released their first single, a song called “My Posse.”
The track featured 17-year-old Ice Cube as both writer and rapper.
Dr. Dre and Eazy-E by this time had formed their own group, N.W.A. Ice Cube’s song “Boyz-n-the-Hood” was featured on N.W.A.’s debut album and shortly thereafter, Ice Cube joined N.W.A.
The group’s initial lineup featured Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Arabian Prince (Kim Nazel), DJ Yella (Antoine Carraby) and MC Ren (Lorenzo Patterson).
Ice Cube was the only member of N.W.A. who hadn’t grown up in Compton.
Ice Cube’s Music Career
With the release of its studio album, “Straight Outta Compton,” N.W.A. shot to fame.
Though the album’s explicit lyrics led to it being banned from most radio stations across the nation, the album still sold more than 10 million units in the U.S. alone. Ice Cube wrote more than half the songs on “Straight Outta Compton.”
But it wasn’t all bliss. Ice Cube was deeply disturbed about the way the album’s profits were being distributed among N.W.A. members. In 1989, he left N.W.A.
His debut studio album, “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted,” was released in 1990 to critical acclaim and huge commercial sales.
As he had in the tunes he penned for “Straight Outta Compton,” Ice Cube continued to tackle controversial themes like racism, drug addiction, poverty and police profiling on his first solo effort.
The album debuted at No. 19 on the Billboard 200 chart and went on to sell more than one million units.
His fourth album, “Lethal Injection,” which was released in 1994, didn’t sell as well as its predecessors, so Ice Cube took a break to concentrate on his burgeoning careers as an actor, screenwriter and producer of other musicians.
However, Ice Cube has always considered himself a musician first and foremost, and he continues writing, performing and producing his music to this day.
For his comeback album “Laugh Now, Cry Later,” which was released in 2006, Ice Cube launched a highly successful world tour called the “Straight Outta Compton Tour“, which took him to cities throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia and Japan.
“I always got an album coming out,” he told his fans via Twitter in 2011. Despite his massive success and commitments in other entertainment venues, his legions of hip-hop fans don’t have to worry because retiring from the music scene is not in Ice Cube’s future.
In 2016, he, Dr. Dre, MC Ren and DJ Yella received what is perhaps the biggest honor in the world of pop music when N.W.A. was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
In 2017, Ice Cube was honored for his contributions to the recording industry with his very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
His success as a musician has played a big part in contributing to his current net worth of $170,000,000.
Ice Cube Movie Star
In 1991, a young director named John Singleton was looking for an actor to play the role of Doughboy in his debut film feature “Boyz n the Hood.”
The name of the film was a tip of the hat to the song that Ice Cube had penned six years earlier, so it’s hardly surprising that Singleton wanted Ice Cube to appear in his movie. Ice Cube received rave reviews for his turn as a Crenshaw gang member.
He soon developed a close friendship with Singleton, which inspired him to become interested in making movies himself. When he expressed hesitation about his ability to write a screenplay, Singleton told him, “If you can write a record, you can write a movie.”
Ice Cube’s own labor of love, “Friday,” opened in 1995. Ice Cube both starred in the movie and scripted its screenplay.
The film earned $28 million on a modest production budget of $3.5 million and went on to spawn two sequels: “Next Friday” in 2000 and “Friday After Next” in 2002. In 1995, Ice Cube also starred as Fudge in John Singleton’s third film, “Higher Learning.”
The late 1990s and early 2000s were a busy time for Ice Cube when it came to screen appearances and productions.
In 1998, he made his directorial debut with the film “The Players Club.”
His appearance in David O. Russell’s critically acclaimed Gulf War film “Three Kings” in 1999 earned him more critical plaudits.
In 2002, he starred as Calvin Palmer Jr. in the runaway hit “Barbershop,” a role that he reprised in the movie’s sequels, “Barbershop 2: Back in Business” and “Barbershop: The Next Cut.” He also starred in the 2005 family comedy “Are We There Yet?”
In 2015, Ice Cube became involved in what is probably his most successful film project to date, an N.W.A. biopic entitled “Straight Outta Compton.”
Ice Cube was too old to play his 17-year-old self convincingly, so that role went to his look-alike son, O’Shea Jackson Jr. Ice Cube is listed as one of the movie’s producers.
Ice Cube TV Star
In addition to his impressive film career, Ice Cube has been involved with many television projects.
In 2008, he and his friend LeBron James teamed up to pitch a show to ABC to be based on the basketball great’s life.
In 2010, he starred in and was one of the executive producers for a television adaptation of his hit movie “Are We There Yet?” The show aired on TBS for three seasons.
Ice Cube is not the star of “Law and Order: SVU,” though. The actor who plays Sergeant Odafin Tutuola on the popular NBC show is actually Ice-T.
Although they do not look alike, the two actors are often confused with one another because of the similarity of their stage names.
Ice Cube and Ice-T appeared together in the 1992 film “Trespass” and are reported to be friendly in real life.
Ice Cube’s Awards
In addition to his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Ice Cube has won many other awards.
In 2009, he won BET’s I Am Hip-Hop Icon Award.
In 2005, Ice Cube won the Soul Train Music Quincy Jones Award for Career Achievement, and in 2011, he won the NAACP Image Award for outstanding supporting actor for his role as Nick Persons in the film “Are We There Yet?”
Ice Cube’s Wife and Kids
Ice Cube and his wife, the former Kimberly Woodruff, met while she was still in college.
They began dating in 1988 and married on April 26, 1992.
The couple has three sons and one daughter together: O’Shea Jr., Darrell, Shareef and Kareema.
How To Build
An Ice Cube Net Worth
It’s no easy feat building a net worth as large as Ice Cube’s. He wasn’t just immensely talented as a lyricist, musician and actor but he took courageous steps to go it alone when he believed he was being hard done by at various stages throughout his career.
The good news is you don’t have to be similarly talented to grow your own net worth, though the chances of building a $170 million fortune are slim for most people without a lottery ticket win!
Nevertheless, it is possible to follow the tried and tested path of investing slowly and steadily over time in the stock market. And these days you don’t even need to figure out the steps yourself.
The advent of robo-advisors who manage money for you automatically and connect you to human advice on demand has slashed the cost of traditional financial management and helped millions of investors get on the stock market ladder without needing a fortune to get started. One of the best is Betterment, and it’s worth checking out.