No Vaseline

Album: Death Certificate (1991)

Songfacts®:

  • Watching him take comic turns in movies and beer commercials, it's shocking that the same man once released songs like "No Vaseline," a raw (get it?) track where he takes on members of his former group, N.W.A. (Ice Cube was the first member to leave the group, splitting after their first tour in a spat over earnings).

    Written by Cube and produced by Sir Jinx, according to the 1994 publication The Book of Lists: The '90s Edition, by David Wallechinsky and Amy Wallace, "No Vaseline" appears on Adam Block's Secret Subjects of 15 Pop Songs. Actually, it was never that secret, this is what is known as a diss track, and was directed by Cube at his former bandmates in NWA, and most vehemently against his former manager Jerry Heller, who was not only white but Jewish. It includes the couplet:

    Get rid of that devil real simple
    Put a bullet in his temple


    This led to Cube being denounced by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which obviously read anti-Semitism into his posturings. In the November 2, 1991 edition of the Los Angeles Times, Brian Turner, President of Cube's record company Priority responded, "Ice Cube's lyrics represent nothing more than a macho put-down kind of thing that stems from a long-standing feud between Cube and his former group, N.W.A. and that group's manager, Jerry Heller." It was not, he said, "anti-Semitic."

    Cube himself was quoted: "I'm not against Jews in either of those songs..." (the "either" was a reference to "True Game").
  • "No Vaseline" is also an answer song of sorts, the first part refers to the N.W.A. track "Message To B.A.", which is itself a reference to Benedict "Ice Cube" Arnold.
  • The Wiesenthal Center called for a boycott of the song, and of course this had the effect such boycotts always have. According to the aforementioned Book Of Lists, in England the police were prepared to destroy 23,000 copies of the record, and Island Records spent $40,000 defending it against an obscenity charge. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 3
  • Ice Cube later expressed regret over the anti-Semitic statements he made in this song, saying that while his vitriol was directed at Heller, and he shouldn't have taken his anger out on all Jewish people.
  • Along with "Black Korea," this was left off UK editions of Death Certificate, a decision made by his label in that territory, Island Records.

Comments: 2

  • Sioraf from Macroon, IrelandSpot on Dave.
  • Dave from Edmonton, CanadaHey, why not tell us the actual facts and keep your opinions to yourself, Alex? The site is called Songfacts, not Songopinions. Keep your bias for the Comments secton, that's what it's for. (Also, thanks for mentioning Mary Whitehouse and not bothering to tell anyone exactly who she is, jackass)
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