May 16, 1990 – It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 30 years since Ice Cube unleashed his explosive solo debut, Amerikkka’s Most Wanted. Released on May 16, 1990, the 16-track project boasted production from Dr. Dre’s cousin Sir Jinx, Cube himself and Public Enemy’s longtime production team The Bomb Squad.
Unsurprisingly, it featured iconic P.E. duo Chuck D and Flavor Flav as well as Compton-born queen Yo-Yo, who unapologetically gives men a piece of her mind on “It’s A Man’s World.”
In 1991, they performed the song together in at the Apollo Theater in New York City, something she’ll never forget.
“One of the best performances ever was our trip to the Apollo in New York,” she tells HipHopDX. “We came out on stage and the crowd went ballistic! It was a historical show! New York never welcomed N.W.A like they welcomed Ice Cube at that time.
“Cube came out and had a bat in his hand, swinging it and talking shit about women and here I come gracing the stage talking shit right back. The crowd went crazy! They threw money on the stage. It was a night to remember.”
Samples included on the Amerikkka’s Most Wanted ranged from James Brown and Marvin Gaye to N.W.A and Eazy-E, which was incredibly ironic considering Cube had just left the pioneering West Coast gangsta rap group — and it wasn’t exactly amicable.
In fact, Cube’s exit from N.W.A would prove to be the catalyst for Dre’s 1991 assault on Dee Barnes. She’d interviewed Eazy-E for her former television show Pump It Up! and later, Cube. Unbeknownst to her, the show aired both interviews in the same episode, which evidently didn’t please Dre. He wound up attacking Barnes at a Hollywood party.
Despite the controversy swirling around Cube’s departure, the album was a commercial success, debuting at No. 19 on the Billboard 200 chart. RIAA certified it gold two weeks after its release and it eventually went platinum in September 1991.