Ice-T: Hip-Hop Honor Roll

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?

Ice-T: Basically

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. 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. 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.