Jerry Heller: N.W.A Manager Dies Of Heart Attack, Did 'Straight Outta Compton' Cause His Death?

Louis Babcock

Jerry Heller, the former manager of the gangsta rap group N.W.A and co-founder of Ruthless Records, died on Saturday as a result of a heart attack. Heller was 75-years-old. According to TMZ, the heart attack occurred while Heller was driving, causing him to crash into another vehicle.

— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) September 4, 2016

— emily (@jac0em) September 3, 2016

— Jasmyne (@jazzy0730) September 3, 2016

"He was a visionary. He knew that this rap thing was going to happen before anybody else did."
"Gangsta rap was the most important movement since the beginning of rock 'n' roll. N.W.A were the first great rap audio documentarians of the problems in our inner cities."

The rise and fall of the N.W.A was portrayed on screen in 2015 in the box office hit Straight Outta Compton. Grossing $201 million in the United States, Straight Outta Compton portrayed Jerry Heller as an evil figure in the West Coast rap scene. Heller felt so strongly that his role in the N.W.A was misrepresented on screen that he filed a $110 million lawsuit for libel against former N.W.A members Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. NBC Universal Studios was also named in the lawsuit.

Heller and N.W.A did not last very long. Two years after Heller brought N.W.A to the world, Ice Cube quit the group over royalty payments. Dr. Dre would make similar claims against Heller and left Ruthless Records to start his own record label company, Death Row Records. The animosity between Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Jerry Heller lasted for years after N.W.A was out of the picture. Cube and Dre would take their opportunities to express their hatred for Heller in the music that they made after leaving the gangsta rap group. Eazy-E was the only member of N.W.A that got along with Heller. In fact, Heller and Eazy-E maintained a working relationship up until Eazy-E's untimely death.

— Plug Society (@ThePlugSociety) September 3, 2016

One thing that Jerry Heller was worried about was how history would portray him. He spoke about this to the Los Angeles Times in 2006.

"I don't want to be judged next to guys like Suge Knight. I want to be measured next to David Geffen, Irving Azoff and Clive Davis. Whether I measure up or not, I let my record speak for me. That's how I want to be judged — by what I've done, not by what people like Ice Cube and Dr. Dre have said about me."

[Image Via AP Photo/Jim Cooper, File]