The first person responsible for managing legendary West Coast rap group N.W.A. has died. According to the folks at All Hip Hop News, former N.W.A. manager Jerry Heller has passed away at age 75. His cause of death is currently unknown.
Although Heller managed the likes of Otis Redding, The Who, Ike & Tina Turner, Black Sabbath and many more, he will be remembered most for his relationship with Eric “Eazy-E” Wright and managing the incendiary N.W.A. Heller and Eazy founded Ruthless Records in 1987. The label managed to sell over 100 million records and its platform made N.W.A. the most notorious musical act in the land.
Heller definitely played a huge role in bringing N.W.A. to the big leagues, but his legacy in hip-hop is somewhat complicated. In 1991, former N.W.A. member Ice Cube released “No Vaseline,” a scathing diss track aimed at members of the group and Heller, who he claimed cheated him out of a lot of money. Last summer, the Cube and Dr. Dre-produced film Straight Outta Compton brought up a few points about Heller’s allegedly immoral business practices, and Heller was pretty upset.
#TMZ reported that Heller was suing Dre, Cube and other Straight Outta Compton producers $75 million for defamation. At the time Heller claimed that the film’s scenes which depicted him withholding a $75,000 check from Cube, eating lobster dinners and tricking Dre and Cube into signing bad contracts didn’t happen in real life.
It’s unclear what will happen to Heller’s case now