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 n***a 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.
For Ice, his status will be re-evaluated when VH1’s Hip-Hop Honors places the Los Angeles on a mountaintop, a place he so deserves. The program airs on Monday, Sept. 26 at 9 pm (EST).
What do you think about Hip-Hop nowadays coming from your background which expands
from the golden era, the "gangsta era," the "political era"
right up until now?
Ice-T: I think
its done well, its survived. I’m very happy to see alot of the young cats that
are making the music making the money. It’s expanding off into clothing and
different things. I’m tryna be part of all that. I think the side of it that’s
really missing though is the political side. I miss Public Enemy , Ice Cube
and that aggression. Every rap record, I don’t give a f**k who you listen to,
has something positive but n***as don’t play them. I’m a big 50 Cent fan. When
you heard [Public Enemy’s] “Rebel Without a Pause” and you heard NWA you knew there was some aggression
and that was violence. All my stuff is a little bit offset and like acts groups like Kool G Rap, I’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. I was in Brooklyn at this donut spot and I saw this kid
and we sat down and spoke about some things. He said "we got the money,
we got the car, I got the jewels, I got everything. What do I do with the money?
What do I do with the money? I bought every car I can buy. You got it too Ice,
what do we do with the money? Do we just keep spending it on ourselves or do
we put it together and do something? Now if we would do something what would
we do? I was like "yo this little n***a had a book bag and was thinking."
I said "man sh*t , I think you just gave me a record." You can make
a dollar, but keeping one, that’s a complicated decision.
So what’s new in your life now?
what I do is Law and Order five days a week, so I left L.A. and I got in a new
relationship. Me and my girl stay out here. I got an apartment on the upper
Westside. We go out. I hit the clubs if I don’t gotta work the next day and
then on the weekends I go in the studio. It’s like the same thing, it’s just
not the 100 motherf*ckers I had in LA.
What’s your opinion on the Hip-Hop scene on the West coast?
The thing of it is the West coast, not the Bay but L.A. hip-hop was only like
four major organisms. It was Rhyme Syndicate, the cats I put out, it was NWA
and who they became, it was a little something from the cats from Delicious
Vinyl and then little stuff from a label called Techno Hop, that’s where I started.
It had Compton’s Most Wanted and King Tee. That’s it . That’s why you don’t
really see L.A. beef, because all of us kind of came from the same crew. Cube
went off on his thing. Cube was only able to really spur Mack 10. That was the
only group he was able to get out that was successful. Dre is like the monster
producer from Mars or some sh*t in anything he touches, but how much can Dre
do? L.A. radio is worst than New
York radio. L.A. radio doesn’t play regional records. If you go down to New
Orleans you gonna hear Master P every other record. L.A. doesn’t play L.A. music.
They don’t cater to the LA artist so they don’t give anybody a chance to grow.
They haven’t broke a group from L.A. since Mack 10. Certain people break. Eminem
don’t count because he from Detroit. They aint doing it. The only time was when
Suge was mashin’ the sh*t and they was playing that Death Row sh*t every 15
What’s your view on the current air of beef in hip-hop and how some of them
appear to be heading off wax?
Ice-T: I think
it’s bullsh*t honestly. I think if you gonna rap on a record about a n***a then
that’s that. The problem is I think Biggie and Pac showed us where that goes.
I really ain’t gonna mention nobody’s names over no record no more because I know
where they live. So if I got the time, why don’t I just go knock on n*ggas door?
Why am I rapping about it? It’s kind of corny.
AllHipHop.com: What about Body Count, your successful rock group?
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***as 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 s**t . When everybody happy and bling blinging and spinning their rims, we sound a little angry.
AllHipHop.com: In Body Count, you spoke a lot about political issues and injustice.
Ice-T: The [Body Count] album is war music. It’s about street s**t , its about b***hes 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.
I remember when you were in the Pee Wee Herman video. When you look back at
those times with all that stuff what do you see?
Ice-T: I look stupid.
That s**t was stupid but at the time it was hip. You know like when people usually
say "I seen you in Breakin’." I’m like yea OK, but before you diss
me, show me a picture of what you wore to the movies to see it. I was still
looking cooler than you then, so at the time it was cool. Honestly I look at
myself as a person who took hip-hop for a hell of a ride. From picking up a
mic and rapping to being able to go around the world 4 or 5 times to speaking
lectures to doing television, movies and rock. I took it for a ride. It’s like
it’s been exciting to me and to still be in and to be respected, that’s the
best thing. Respect is the best thing. Your not gonna be the best rapper to
everybody but the respect goes beyond that. A lot of people may not like Master
P’s music but they respect the fact that he came out of New Orleans and blew
the f*ck up. That’s a good feeling, especially in an enviroment like Hip-Hop
where n*ggas don’t respect s**t . They’ll diss you so quick in this business.