According to Allhiphop.com, former NWA music manager Jerry Heller has died at the age of 75. While Heller is known to most in Hip-Hop for helping to advance the careers of NWA and co-founding Ruthless Records with Eazy-E, he represented a plethora of music stars across genres, including Marvin Gay, The Who, Van Morrison and many more.
Heller was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1940 and attended college at University of Southern California before serving in the United States Army. In a 1974 interview with Billboard magazine he said explained how he built a multi-million dollar management agency.
“I’d much rather have a list of medium-priced headliners who can be kept working steadily, than build a whole agency around one superstar who can walk out and leave you in deep trouble anytime.”
As fate would have it, one of the most infamous moments of his career was when Ice Cube left NWA to strike out on his own, citing disagreements with Heller and Eazy-E over money as the main reason. Heller denied any financial impropriety in his 2006 memoir, “Ruthless,” citing that Ice Cube didn’t understand finances.
This conflict was a key point of NWA’s 2015 biopic, Straight Outta Compton, with Heller being played by actor Paul Giamatti. Heller sued for defamation, but a judge rejected most of the suit earlier this year.
However, because of the film, Heller was making the rounds doing many interviews in the last year or so. His recall was remarkable to say the least, being able to pull up small details from over 40 years ago. Here are 5 of the most recent interviews which allow the man to tell his side of things in his own words.
5. Prez and Mac Jay for the 73rd episode of the Murder Master Music Show (2013)
Before things went completely sour, Heller admitted to being on civil terms with Dr. Dre.
“With Dre it’s different. I was like his God father, you know. We were very, very close. I could never really dislike Andre Young. I see him on the streets, his mother lives a couple houses from me. Whenever I see him we’d say hello and there didn’t seem to be any hard feelings, at least on my part.”