In the late 1980s, N.W.A. stood atop the hip-hop mountain as one of the most controversial and prolific groups of its time.

In the late 1980s, N.W.A. stood atop the hip-hop mountain as one of the most controversial and prolific groups of its time. So when seminal member Ice Cube decided to part ways with the Los Angeles-based quintet, fans didn't know what to expect. Then, in 1990, Ice Cube (born O'Shea Jackson) released his solo debut, Amerikkka's Most Wanted. As political as it was profane, the album remained true to N.W.A.'s gangsta tradition while blazing a new trail for West Coast MCs. Tracks like "The Nigga Ya Love to Hate," "Turn Off the Radio," and the album's title track highlight the ferociousness of the then-20-year-old MC. Now a bona fide Hollywood heavyweight, Ice Cube has come a long way since Amerikkka's Most Wanted, though his hardcore roots will always play an integral part in his career.—RH