In an interview on the podcast Million Dollaz Worth of Game, Ice Cube detailed several chance meetings he had with Singleton, who would go on to be the first Black person to garner a Best Director Oscar nomination for Boyz N The Hood. Ice Cube detailed his first meeting with Singleton, which took place at The Arsenio Hall Show where the director was interning.
“You know, he’s like ‘Man, I got the perfect movie for you dude.’ I’m like ‘What? You got the perfect movie for me?’ I’m like for one I’m not an actor so I’m looking at him like he crazy because it was just unusual for someone to walk up to a rapper talking about ‘I want you to act’ back then, so I was like ‘whatever man,’’ the rapper-actor said. “So he was just telling me about the movie, he actually wanted all of us in the movie — he wanted Eazy in the movie, Dre and them — and I guess he said he ran into them but they didn’t take him serious. At that time I didn’t take him serious, I was like ‘all right man; that’s cool.’ ”
Ice Cube had another chance meeting with Singleton, a junior at USC, who would again express interest in placing the rapper in Boyz N The Hood.
“He walked up to me saying the same stuff you know, ‘You perfect man. I’ma junior at USC man [University of Southern California] but dude when I graduate I’ma put you in this movie,” recalled the rapper-actor.
However, despite Singleton’s persistence, Ice Cube continued to ignore him. It wasn’t until 1990 when Ice Cube was presented with a script from his manager, Pat Charbonnet, that he realized it was the same story Singleton pitched. However, Cube fumbled his first audition with the legendary filmmaker.
“He said, ‘Everybody leave.” He put everybody out. He say, ‘Cube, man, that was terrible. Did you read my script?’ I said, ‘Nah, I ain’t read it man. I didn’t even know it was you. I thought it was some white people gon’ be in here,’” Ice Cube recalled. “He said, ‘Man go home, read my script and come back. I’ma give you one shot at this, man. I’ma give you one more shot. I hope you better than you was today after you read this.’ ”
As history would have it, Ice Cube would go on to star in Boyz N The Hood alongside Angela Bassett, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long and Cuba Gooding Jr. The film, released in 1991, would gross over $50 million in the United States.