Many things can be said about the controversial music manager Jerry Heller who launched Eazy E and NWA on a meteoric rise to the top of the hip hop world, but the fact remains…The man was an absolute marketing genius and a real Business All Star.
Jerry Heller, who served as N.W.A.’s original manager, died of a heart attack on Friday, September 2, at Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks, California. He was 75.Heller was involved in a car accident on Friday morning and was taken to the hospital with serious injuries shortly before his death.
Heller was best known for kicking off N.W.A.’s highly successful career in the ’80s after teaming up with band member Eazy-E to launch Ruthless Records. The record label also launched the careers of several R&B and hip-hop stars such as J. J. Fad, Michel’le and the D.O.C.
Heller had a contentious relationship with N.W.A. member Ice Cube, who left the group in 1989 over a royalty dispute. Ice Cube, now 47, later released a diss track against his former manager titled “No Vaseline,” on which he rapped, “N.W.A. ain’t s–t without Ice Cube!” (Dr. Dre also left the group in 1991, citing similar monetary issues.)
Born October 6, 1940
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Died September 2, 2016 (aged 75)
Thousand Oaks, California,U.S.
Occupation Music manager
Years active 1960–2016
Net worth US$20 million (2016)
Gerald E. “Jerry” Heller (October 6, 1940 – September 2, 2016) was an American music manager and businessman. He was best known for managing west coast rap supergroup and gangsta rap pioneers N.W.A and Eazy-E. He rose to prominence in the 1960s and ’70s, importing Elton John and Pink Floyd for their first major American tours, and representing Journey, Marvin Gaye, Joan Armatrading, Van Morrison, War, Average White Band, ELO, Eric Burdon, Crosby Stills and Nash, Ike & Tina Turner, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Otis Redding, The Who, Grand Funk Railroad, Black Sabbath, Humble Pie, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Four Tops, Dr. John, Jose Feliciano, The Grass Roots, and The Standells, among many others.
In the mid-1980s he worked with R&B and hip hop acts like Michel’le, World Class Wreckin’ Cru, J.J. Fad, The D.O.C., Egyptian Lover and L.A. Dream Team.
Heller played a role in the emergence of West Coast rap music when he cofounded Ruthless Records with Eazy-E and discovered, signed, or managed the likes of N.W.A, The Black Eyed Peas, Above the Law, The D.O.C., and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
Heller died on September 2, 2016 due to unknown causes