Ice Cube: Mr. Rogers sued me over ‘A Gangsta’s Fairytale’

(L-R) Ice Cube and Fred Rogers, or 'Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.'. CP Images Archive

AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, the 1990 platinum-certified debut album by Ice Cube, turned 30 last Saturday, and to celebrate, the veteran rap icon took to Instagram Live for a virtual listening party with his fans, old and new.

In between each track, the 50-year-old spoke in depth about not only the beats, lyrical content and origin of specific songs, among other things, but he also shared an interesting story about the time he says Mr. Rogers sued him.

According to Ice Cube, Fred Rogers, the late kids’ TV personality, filed a lawsuit against him in 1990 for sampling the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood theme song in A Gangsta’s Fairytale, the ninth track on AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted.

Ice Cube recounted the legal battle in the midst of his listening session, calling it a “trip.”

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“Off this song, Mr. Rogers sued us,” said the former N.W.A. rapper, referring to A Gangsta’s Fairytale. “He was mad because we had the Mister Rogers theme at the beginning of this s–t.”

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Though he did not go into detail, Ice Cube suggested Rogers won the legal battle, saying the TV personality was profiting from the three-minute track at one point.

“The n—a sued us and was getting like five cents a record until we took that part off,” he added.

This isn’t the first time Ice Cube has mentioned the lawsuit. In 2014, during an interview with Medium alongside longtime friend and American hip-hop producer Sir Jinx, he said Rogers wouldn’t let them use the sample.

“He told us we couldn’t use it,” said Ice Cube. “We took the song off the album, and he sued us anyways. I think they made us give him damages because we mention his name one time.”

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Jinx, 50, said that the first 200,000 presses of AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted contained the three-second sample, in which he imitated a lyric from the much-loved children’s theme song.

Rogers died in 2003 and never publicly commented on a legal complaint against Ice Cube and Jinx.

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Ice Cube also told fans he originally penned A Gangsta’s Fairytale for his former and now deceased N.W.A. bandmate Eazy-E.

“I actually wrote this for Eazy-E,” he said. “But y’all know what it is, we weren’t getting down at the time, so I had to take it myself.”

Ice Cube left N.W.A. in 1989 after a royalty dispute relating to Eazy-E’s debut album Eazy-Duz-It (1988), some of which he wrote.

In 1995, four years after breaking up, N.W.A almost reunited, Ice Cube revealed in a 2015 interview with the Hollywood Reporter.

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He revealed he had “met with” Eazy-E a few months before he died of complications from AIDS.

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“At the time, our feud had died down,” he said. “We had talked about getting back together.”

Ice Cube said his late bandmate was “still at odds” with N.W.A. co-founder Dr. Dre back then and that the reunion depended on his involvement ⁠— which didn’t happen until the group’s partial reunion in 1999.