Soundtrack Of My Life: O’Shea Jackson Jr.

Cool as fuck Hollywood actor and son of Ice Cube

The first song I remember hearing

‘Happy Birthday to You’

“That seems legit. Second [birthday], had to be. I was a pretty weird kid, I’d sit in the house and think all day. You see your family members, you see your cousins and you got a whole day dedicated to you – at that age you’re not even really concerned about what the day is. You get cake, you get gifts.”

The first song I fell in love with

Mary J. Blige – ‘I’m Going Down’


“That song, my mum had on repeat because she saw what it did to me. I still get a little bit of chills when I hear it because it’s just so nostalgic. It makes me feel like I’m in the backseat while my mum drives us to school. It has such a warm place in my heart. At that young age you don’t know nothing about love, you don’t know nothing about true pain, but it’s just that voice of Mary J. It reminds me of the times before I even knew what the world was or knew any of the hardships that one faces. It was a simple time in my life and a beautiful song.”

The first album I bought

Redman – ‘Malpractice’

“My grandma used to take us to this store called the Warehouse, and that’s where you would get your CDs and DVDs. Shout out to the Warehouse, rest in peace. It’s not there anymore but that was where I bought Redman’s ‘Malpractice’. I was a real big fan of the single on that album ‘Let’s Get Dirty (I Can’t Get In Da Club)’. The energy of that song, the bass. I’m a big gamer and as a kid I loved that he mentioned PlayStation 2 in the song. Boy, are there some songs on that album that I probably shouldn’t have had. But I come from a rap family so it’s cool to me that as a kid, my first album was Redman’s ‘Malpractice’. My mum was always breaking down songs to me, just to make sure I knew what I was saying, knew what I was talking about. If you’re out in public and somebody catches you slipping with your words that you’re saying, it could backfire on you, so she was always one to educate me on the power of the words that are being said in a song. Redman is a dope lyricist, but the beat drew something out of me, it drew a level of excitement out of me.”

The first gig that I went to

Ice Cube


“I can’t pinpoint the venue or the date, but I’m 1000% sure it was an Ice Cube concert [Jackson is Ice Cube’s son]. I’m a tour baby. I was two years old, going around the world, going to London and Germany on tour with my dad, sitting in my mum’s lap on the side of the stage.

“I eventually ended up joining him on stage when I was 18, when I turned 18 is when he kind of put me to work. I was helping build the stage, helping break it down, in charge of towels, going to soundchecks, taking bags, anything to give me that feel of what it is to really be on the grind out there. The music tour life is not for everybody, it’s hard. But when you get home and you sit around for too long you want to get back on the road, start to get the itch. That’s a beautiful feeling, I miss it to this day. Music has been such a key piece of my life, without it I wouldn’t be here talking to you right now.”

The song that reminds me of home

Rose Royce – ‘Wishing On A Star’

“Any song that is California-based makes me think of California – Snoop or Dre, Tupac, ‘California Love’ – if you’re not thinking of Los Angeles when you hear that you’re tripping. But ‘Wishing On A Star’ by Rose Royce makes me think of my house, literally, growing up, because that’s my one of my mum’s favourite songs. It would always come on while she was cooking, she always had music playing to keep the energy high in the house. I love my mum to death, she’s the best piece of home I have, she is my world. If I listen to it too many times it might choke me up because it reminds me of my mother, sitting with my mum, talking to my mum, anytime I was hurt getting held by my mum. That is truly home to me, my mother’s arms.”

The song I wish I’d written

The Jackson 5 – ‘Who’s Loving You’

“It’s one of the hottest records ever made. And if I wrote it, first of all I’d be much older, but ‘Who’s Loving You’ is such a piece of art right there. It’s an incredible song and it makes me feel good.”

The song I do at karaoke

Silk Sonic – ‘Leave The Door Open’

“It’s Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars’ group. I don’t really do a lot of karaoke but I’ve been singing that non-stop, really, since it came out. It’s such a new age yet old school song at the same time. They really captured a period in time with the lyrics, the layout of the instruments and just the overall funk of it all. I really like that song. Could I do it justice? I need the acoustics right, I need the wind to be going south…”

The song I can’t get out of my head

Suzanne Vega – ‘Tom’s Diner’

“That’s the ultimate earworm. I will be humming that song for the rest of my days. I even have the a cappella version. If you listen to it, you’ll hear that she doesn’t rhyme the whole record. There was never a point where she starts rhyming, it’s literally just the melody that really gets you. I think she’s freestyling that whole song.”

The song I can no longer listen to

Green Day – ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’

“First of all, an ex showed me it, so immediately I’m like: ‘Yo, turn that off.’ But it kind of makes me sad because out here September is when school starts. For most kids it’s hard growing up, you’re growing up into the person that you’re going to be, and at that time most of your friendships probably ended over summer and it’s always that restart. That restart always killed me. I know that those are the simple times, you don’t know real hardship but [some things are] so serious to you and that song immediately makes me think of just how affected I was by things in school other than my education.”


The song I want played at my funeral

The Beatles – ‘Yesterday’

“’Yesterday’ is such a beautiful song and the older I get the heavier it gets. It’s a song that’s filled with sorrow, and I expect there not to be a dry eye in the house, whenever it is that I go. There’s something about it that just speaks to natural human emotion. And after that goes off, they could play ‘Duel Of The Fates’ by John Williams, the Star Wars song. Play that and everybody start fighting.”

O’Shea Jackson Jr. stars in ‘Swagger’, streaming on Apple TV+ from October 29

You May Like