“I first met Jerry Heller when he came to Miami and looked me up to talk about this girl group I had at the time, L’Trimm. He had a girl act too, J.J. Fad, who had the song “Supersonic.”
So Jerry came down to Miami to talk to me about managing L’Trimm. He was a nice guy. We knew a lot of the same people. And he knew Henry. But everybody fuckin’ knew Henry.
Jerry was a nice New York guy. Gentle but tough. I remember us going to the Crab House and having garlic crabs while he was in town. Couple of Jewish guys into black music out having garlic crabs. He was telling me about this new group he had getting ready to put out their first record. He told me their name was N.W.A. and that I would never guess what it stood for. I guessed a couple times…”No Whites Allowed,” “Not Without Amy.”
He did a shouldersweep, looked right at me, and said, “Niggas With Attitudes.”
After that, he went back to California and we stayed in touch.
A few months later, he called me in a panic. “Joe, I’m havin a problem, Can you help me?”
I said, “Yeah, maybe. What’s up?”
He said, “I’m getting all these NWA orders and I can’t fill em’. I don’t have credit lines with the pressing plants. Can you vouch for me?”
So I talked it over with Henry and made some calls to different record pressing plants we did business with and got Jerry approved to press up those NWA records.
After that, any time he came to Miami he’d look me up, and whenever I was in L.A. he would take care of me out there.
I remember how much he loved, admired, and respected Eric, Eazy E. He would always tell him watch out with all that pussy. But Eazy E had everything lined up for all his women and all their kids to have Jerry make sure they had money and educations. Jerry loved that guy. He always said how smart he was.
Later on, after Eazy E died, when Jerry was having to deal with Suge Knight and Death Row Records, he came down to Miami and I remember him coming into my office and breaking everything down in gory, disturbing, and heartfelt detail about Eazy dying, and how the Nation of Islam kept him from being there, and how he had to get these Israeli ex-Mossad armed bodyguards to protect him from Suge with all that product selling like it was.
He looked like a broken man. Shaken. But he was tough. A survivor. And he kept on dealing with rap acts until the day he died.
I talked to him after “Straight Outta Compton” came out. Told him they got a good actor to play him. Asked if he had any input. And Jerry Heller said, “Fuck no. No input at all. Fuck those motherfuckers.”
Jerry Heller was a hell of a guy. He was definitely part of the team that made NWA what they are today. He died young. Seventy five is young nowadays. And he was right there with Eric Wright right from the beginning. Yeah, man. Jerry Heller and Eazy E.”
Text ©Jake Katel and Henry Stone Music USA Inc. All Rights Reserved