Jerry Heller, the combative music manager whose fraught relationship with the seminal hip-hop group N.W.A was searingly portrayed in last year’s box office hit “Straight Outta Compton,” died Friday of a heart attack at Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks, the Los Angeles Times reported.
He was 75.
Heller’s cousin, Gary Ballen, confirmed Heller’s death to The Times.
A native of Cleveland, Heller began his career in music as a booking agent for artists including Elton John, Van Morrison, Marvin Gaye and Pink Floyd.
In the ‘80s, he became an important and colorful personality in the emerging West Coast rap scene, helping launch the influential Ruthless Records with rapper Eric “Eazy-E” Wright of N.W.A in 1987. The group’s controversial, cop-bashing debut studio album, “Straight Outta Compton,” was a commercial and critical success that underscored rap’s combustive hold on popular culture.
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