Ice Cube studied architectural drafting as NWA was touring, wanted ‘something to fall back on’

I really enjoyed Ice Cube’s interview with Seth Meyers last week. He tells great stories and his life is crazy interesting! Seth kept giggling and it was infectious. Ice Cube is starring in The High Note (you can see the trailer here) as a manager to Tracee Ellis Ross’ diva musician character. It’s out on demand May 29th and it also stars Dakota Johnson. Ice started out talking about his current life in lockdown with two of his adult children, aged 19 and 26. He’s making them get outside and help him around the house and said he’s the one being annoying to them. He also talked about how he got his start rapping, he was taking a typing class and used to fill time by writing raps. He recited the first line he wrote too. Then, when NWA was getting their start, he split time between going to school in Arizona for architectural drafting and touring in California! If you know Ice Cube, you’re probably familiar with this, but it was news to me. Here’s some of what he said.

“You’ve got two of your kids with you and you’re driving them crazier than they’re driving you?”
My kids are not little. I’ve got a 19-year-old and a 26-year-old at the house and I’m driving them crazy. I’m doing all kids of stuff around the house. I’m making them come outside. My kids hate to come outside now. I’m just kind of in their face all day so it’s kind of cool.

On playing the type of manager he’s met before
I’m managing a diva but I’m more of a diva than she is. I’ve seen those guys a lot, the managers who act like they’re the stars and dress more flashy than stars. It was cool to be able to jump into that role. I know those kinds of managers. [Other types] are father figures who end up screwing you in the end. There are probably 12 more types of managers, just like zodiac signs.

On the fourth Friday being delayed by John Witherspoon’s passing
We were ready to go with the fourth Friday. Unfortunately John Witherspoon passed away and threw us all back. We’re still grieving over the loss of such a talented special man. He wasn’t just funny he was also a serious thoughtful guy. Just to lose him, we feel like we all lost a pops or an uncle.

“You wrote your first rap in typing class?”
9th grade I was late getting my electives and I ended up stuck with typing. I thought I would hate it. Little did I know I would use this for the rest of my life. The first rap I ever wrote was “My name is Ice Cube and I want you to know, I’m not Run-DMC or Curtis Blow.”

You went to trade school for a year in Arizona while you were in NWA?
We didn’t know [our] kind of rap was going to be successful. I [knew] I had to have something to fall back on. The day I was leaving to go to Arizona, Dr. Dre stopped by, trying to get me to stay. [I went anyway.] For a whole year I was in architectural drafting, learning how to draw houses and structures.

You would go from school to NWA shows back in LA [on the weekends]
Southwest I think they had a $2 airline ticket. I would fly back every weekend, every Friday after school, come back to LA. Sometimes we would have shows all up and down the West Coast.

[From Late Night with Seth Meyers]

I didn’t know about Ice Cube’s typing origin story or how he got a degree in architectural drafting as NWA was touring, but it’s part of his Wiki bio so I’m sure the story was out there before. The part about how he’s driving his kids crazy was so relatable to me. My 15-year-old is with me and I have daily tasks for us to do around the house. He’s getting good at it and is starting to do things like clean up and put dishes away without me asking, so that’s a silver living. If we were still living our regular out-of-the-house lives I wouldn’t be teaching him as much about doing laundry, cleaning and cooking, which are all important life skills.

I actually had Ice Cube on my Mother’s Day card! My son knows I love my Impala and 90s rap and so he found a photo of Ice Cube with his classic ’64 Impala to print out and write a little card for me! It really touched me actually. (I scout stories to write ahead of time on Monday so I had already half-written this story when I got it too.)

Ice Cube is also selling t-shirts with all proceeds to benefit first responders. You can see them here.

Here’s that interview in two parts. His background story is in the second video.

View this post on Instagram

Daaaamn, 25 years went fast.

A post shared by Ice Cube (@icecube) on

Embed from Getty Images

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

11 Responses to “Ice Cube studied architectural drafting as NWA was touring, wanted ‘something to fall back on’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. anniefannie says:

    I’ve always been a fan and have done a deep dive on google. He’s a genius and if you watch interviews he comes across as brilliant, insightful & thoughtful, but do not cross him because he’ll bury you

  2. grabbyhands says:

    I’m just kind of in their face all day so it’s kind of cool.

    I’m going to be cracking up about that all day.

  3. Kathryn says:

    Several years ago Ice Cube did an amazing video on the work of landmark mid-century architects – and husband and wife – Charles & Ray Eames. Only two minutes of your time, highly recommend this:

  4. Erinn says:

    I love this.

    I remember playing with a CAD program as a kid designing houses because I just thought it was so fun. Whenever I played the sims I’d really just build ridiculous houses and not play the actual game.

    I’m actually somewhat surprised I didn’t want to take that up for a career given the background, but one of my husbands friends took architecture after completing a carpentry course and working for a bit to save. He was saying how insanely busy the degree was, and how they’d work for like 15 hours a day or more on their projects – but it’s still one of those careers that I’m a little jealous of. It just is so neat.

    • A says:

      I’ve got one year left on my construction engineering degree. Drawing houses is an insane amout of work but so rewarding. Spent all winter in a basement at school, drawing 16 hours a day. 😅

    • Mara says:

      If nothing else at least you’ve got a cool interest (not just watching tv or hanging out). Maybe there are some careers adjacent to architecture you could persue that don’t require as an intense degree or work life?

    • KateX says:

      Erinn – I was a HUGE Sims fan just for designing the houses! I studied architectural technology in Europe and fell into building information modelling (BIM) for a construction company – essentially 3D modelling (via computer) components; coordinating architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems, creating animations, renders and virtual reality models. It is SO enjoyable (although the boss is being a bit difficult lately with Covid). Not to be stalk-ery but I know you’re in Canada (me too – Vancouver!), and there are 1 year courses available in BIM if you did want to do it. Lots of continuous learning and long hours but if you work on your skills and can explain the process in a way that non-tech people can understand, it’s a very rewarding career choice.

  5. Snappyfish says:

    I simply love this.

  6. Nina Simone says:

    A legend !