Ice T is perhaps the
most understated legend of hip-hop music. EVER. As the original gangster of hip-hop,
his influence, is represented in nearly every aspect of the genre seen today.
While Schoolly D fathered it, Ice populated it, making it possible for Eazy E.
NWA, and every other nigga with an attitude to have a voice. In the 1990’s, Ice-T
championed freedom of speech, honesty in lyrics, and expansion of hip-hop.
But Ice’s achievements
didn’t stop with music. He’s one of the more popular rappers-turned-actors and
has been on TV or film since the early 90’s.
And, for those
that thought Ice the rapper fell, off…you couldn’t be more wrong. He’s shifted
to the indie game, getting more money than he ever saw while signed to Warner
Bros. With his new crew SMG (a group that includes Smooth The Hustler and Trigger
The Gambler) he looks to do it all over again. Peep game.
AllHipHop.com: Can you speak on this new venture, Final Level? What is it all
about and what people can expect?
Ice-T: I had done
an Internet venture in LA back in the day with Acomic Pop. Atomic Pop went out
of business. I kind of shut it down. I came to New York to basically do the
Law and Order show. I kind of lost my whole interest in trying to run my own
record label from the ground up. It’s just so much work and something I didn’t
want to do. I like the part of the business where you take the group, you take
them in the studio, you make the records and then figure some place to sell
them. What happened was we finished the Sex Money and Guns (SMG) album , myself
Smooth Da Hustla and Trigger the Gambla. We had a lot of product and being honest
kind of like falls on deaf ears if your not showing them Nelly or something
that’s hot at the moment. It really aggravates you. I’m a different kind of
cat. All my stuff is a little bit offset and like certain groups like Kool G
Rap, we’ve been able to make a career off of making music that wasn’t mainstream
but we have a nice fan base. A lot of the groups in the Bay area thousands and
thousand of records but you may not know them. There’s a way of doing that and
I know how to do it. I just kind of started getting discouraged and I told Mickey
(Benston, Ice-T’s manager), well look man lets get us a distribution deal. Lets
go out, get a distribution deal because we got so much product we need to have
a way out. Then we connected to Kazaa who is basically your peer to peer. We
told them let us put something on your site for sell and lets see how it does.
They let me put up the Ice-T The Pimp Penal Code album. That album features
nothing but pimps just dropping game and then we put the SMG album on it for
$4.99 and we sold like 15,000 of them. People are really hungry for that thing.
And we made all the five dollars. So that’s cool. We get the whole profit. I
sold platinum records. n*ggas don’t know, but you can go out here and sell a
platinum record and after your video and everythings done if you see 100,000
you may be happy. The internet itself worked, but I’ve been on the Internet
long enough to know that motherf*ckers still gotta go to the store. They wanna
Somebody said you can get in a little bit of trouble for the porn and pimping
with the Law and order folks.
Ice-T: I been through
so much sh*t in my life. It’s not like I’m Leonardo Dicaprio and I’m in some
sh*t . Law and Order knows who they hired.
What made you redo Body Count?
Ice-T: Well Body
Count stopped because of death. Master V, the drummer died of leukemia and Mooseman
the bassplayer got killed in the hood just standing on the corner. He was in
his neighborhood and n*ggas just rode up and blasted because he lives in a gang
area and was at just wrong place wrong time. Having lost the two members we
couldn’t get that chemistry with new players, so it just took a while and then
also the world got kind of complacent. The war kind of brought back that energy
we needed for Body Count to exist. It’s an aggressive band and I’m singing about
sh*t . When everybody happy and bling blinging and spinning their rims we sound
a little angry.
You spoke a lot about political issues and injustice.
Ice-T: The album
is war music. It’s about street sh*t , its about b*tches and its wild. I’m just
really trying to bring back that sinister evil violent sounding metal, because
I mean I listen to the other rock/rap groups but they not as evil as BC. We
sound a little bit more sinister. We got a new drummer named OT and new bass
player name Vincent Price. They got the vibe.
At AllHipHop and SOB’s Plain Rap concert series, along with Kool Keith and SMG
on December 14. For more info: http://www.sobs.com