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Fred Rogers is so universally beloved that it's hard to believe he'd have beef with anyone, but even the greatest of heroes have their issues with others. This was confirmed recently thanks to Ice Cube, who revealed that he was sued by the host of Mister Rogers Neighborhood back in the '90s.
Ice Cube was on Instagram doing a digital listening party to commemorate the 30th anniversary of his solo album Amerikkka's Most Wanted when the information came out. According to the rapper turned actor, Mr. Rogers ended up suing him because a version of the theme song was sampled in the original release of "A Gangsta's Fairytale." Cube talked about the court case and shared some additional facts about the song:
I actually wrote this for Eazy-E. But y’all know what it is, we weren’t getting down at the time so I had to take it myself. It’s a trip. Because of this song, Mr. Rogers sued us. He was mad 'cause we had the 'Mister Rogers' theme at the beginning of this shit, 'It's a wonderful day in the neighborhood' and all that. [He] sued us and was getting like five cents a record 'til we took that part off. That's just a fun fact.
If ever there was a reason to make a Straight Outta Compton and A Beaufitul Day In The Neighborhood crossover movie, this is certainly it. Obviously, it's understandable why Fred Rogers would be protective of his brand and not want it associated with a song as vulgar as "A Gangsta's Fairytale" is, but did he really have to take it to court?
For those that haven't heard the original version of "A Gangsta's Fairytale," the beginning features Sir Jinx singing the iconic Mister Rogers theme. Per an interview in Check The Technique Vol 2 (via Medium), Jinx shared a bit more about the section that was cut and how lucky anyone who has a cut of it is today:
Here’s how you know who the true fans are—the first 200,000 copies of the album have a piece on the beginning of 'A Gangsta’s Fairytale' that’s like Mister Rogers [Jinx sings a version of theme song with gangsta drawl… after 'Won’t you be my neighbor?' he makes sounds of gunfire]. The second version just starts out with, 'And now, in the black part of the city.' If you got the version with the dude singing Mister Rogers then it’s probably worth some money! Ultimately we had to pay Mister Rogers five cents a record, he got paid off of that. After the first 200,000, we took it off. That mean-ass man!
Based on that math, Fred Rogers ended up walking away with $10,000 before the switch was made. He also may have just made someone a lot richer if they have this rare cut of the album, though who knows what the odds are that any of the original cuts are still in circulation today.
Classic episodes of Mister Rogers Neighborhood are available at PBS Kids. Continue to stick with CinemaBlend for all the latest news happening in television and movies.