Ruthless Records Co-Founder Jerry Heller Dead at 75 - DJBooth

Ruthless Records Co-Founder Jerry Heller Dead at 75

N.W.A's first manager has passed away, the cause of death has not yet been released.
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According to his nephew Terry Heller, and confirmed by Billboard, legendary music manager Jerry Heller, who famously and controversially co-founded Ruthless Records with Eazy E, has passed away at age 75. The cause of death has not yet been released.

While Heller is most well-known for managing N.W.A and helping to pioneer the West Coast gangsta rap sub-genre in the late 80's, his resume through the 60's and 70's is even more impressive. In addition to helping Elton John and Pink Floyd book their first major American tours, Heller represented famous acts such as Marvin Gaye, Ike & Tina Turner, Otis Redding, and the Four Tops.

After N.W.A broke up in 1991, members Dr. Dre and Ice Cube both publicly blamed Heller for the group's demise, a depiction that played out in the 2015, Oscar nominated film Straight Outta Compton. Following the film's release the always-litigious Heller filed a lawsuit against NBC Universal, Dre and Cube, claiming "the film is littered with false statements" that would harm his reputation.

Despite being cast later in life as a shady, conniving businessman who took advantage of a group of young, talented black men, Heller is the reason N.W.A rose to prominence. Without his backing, support and belief in the group's capabilities, there's no culture-changing music, there are no Platinum plaques, and there certainly isn't a 2016 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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By DJ Z, who loves to argue with you on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Instagram

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