(AllHipHop News) Jerry Heller, the original manager for N.W.A., has died according to sources with AllHipHop.com. He was 75.
The business man was widely recognized as the man that helped bring the controversial group to the masses along with Eazy-E.
The cause of death is not yet known.
As a manager and business man, Heller began representing mainstream acts like Journey, Marvin Gaye, Joan Armatrading, Van Morrison, War, Average White Band, Ike & Tina Turner, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Otis Redding, The Who, Grand Funk Railroad, Black Sabbath, Humble Pie, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Four Tops, and many more in the 1960’s and 70’s. However, when he started working with Hip-Hop pioneer Eric “Eazy-E” Wright, Heller’s career took on new life.
He was the co-founder of Ruthless Records with Eazy-E, a label that sold over 100 million records and launched the music careers of Wright, N.W.A., Michel’le, J.J. Fad, The D.O.C.,Above The Law and others.
In a 2006 interview with AllHipHop.com, Heller explained why he gravitated to West Coast rap music.
“I liked [West Coast Hip-Hop] because it was more melodic than East Coast Hip-Hop. Besides, whatever else it was, it had a sense a humor, which I didn’t think East coast Hip-Hop had,” Heller explained. “I started to manage some of the West coast groups, mainly the World Class Wrecking Cru, who were with Alonzo Williams, who I think is one of the most important guys in the history of West Coast Hip-Hop.”
At the time of death, Heller was embroiled in a lawsuit over his portrayal in the 2015 hit movie “Straight Outta Compton.” Heller felt the movie – produced by former N.W.A. members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, defamed him. A large part of the suit was dismissed in court earlier this summer.
Heller had a particularly contentious relationship with Ice Cube, who was the first to leave N.W.A. over money issues. His and Eazy’s relationship with Dr. Dre would soon sour and the sonic producer would go on to found competing brand Death Row Records.
“Ruthless: A Memoir, “Heller’s memoir, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2006.
Rapper King T, a West Coast Staple, sent a message on his social media. As AllHipHop broke the story, others began to send out their condolences, including DJ Chris “The Glove” Taylor, legendary radio jock Greg Mack and others from the scene.
— King T (@kingtla) September 3, 2016