Ice-T Talks The Body Count, No Lives Mattering & The Trump Era
by Tim Sanchez (@TimSanchez818)
We all know how crazy the entire election cycle turned out to be and how wild it remains post-election as controversial executive orders, lawsuits, weird press conferences, and Twitter wars ensue. Ice T has never been one to hold his tongue when it comes to sharing an opinion whether it be politics or music so it was only right that we have another conversation with the OG about the state of affairs in our country. Ice just doesn’t hold back in this interview as the new album Bloodlust (release date March 31, 2017) from his metal band Body Count is politically charged and filled with social themes over insanely fast tempo metal tracks. It was, after all, Body Count who lit up the music and political spectrum with the highly controversial 1992 “Cop Killer” song that stirred up debates and protests from lawmakers and executives. So put on your reading glasses as we chop it up again with the OG to get his thoughts on everything from politics to his new album in this new AllHipHop.com exclusive interview.
AllHipHop: The last time we spoke you mentioned to me that 2016 was going to be “interesting” year as far as the election was concerned. Was it as wild as you thought it would be?
Ice-T: I don’t think anybody could have predicted it being as wild as it was. These past few years including the one we’re living in right now have put reality shows out of business. Right now I could tell you that Trump punched a lady in the face and you would actually go check it instead of dismissing it. Anything can f***ing happen at this moment. I’ve lived through quite a few presidents but this has to be the wildest presidency I’ve ever witnessed. Wouldn’t you agree?
AllHipHop: Yes! I can log on to Twitter everyday and see some outrageous post from Trump.
Ice-T: Coming from the rap community we’re used to seeing beef but these motherf**ers have outdone us! Soulja Boy can’t even keep up with this bullsht. It’s out of control! I just read the other day that Trump had TMZ up on his office. What’s the angle in having TMZ come to the White House? All of this has gone past my wildest imagination.
AllHipHop: You made a joke about the inauguration and I found it hilarious that some people actually thought you were considering a performance.
Ice-T: That’s because we’re in the world of lunacy now. This is Looney Tunes world. One thing about the new album is that I never mentioned his name on the record. The reason I didn’t was because anybody with a brain didn’t think he was going to become president. My attitude was if I mention him and I have a record coming out in March of 2017 and he’s not president, then I’ll sound stupid – or at least that’s what I thought. Now who would have thought this could happen?
I have reasons for why he won. Hillary didn’t really give us the best option. Bernie Sanders had the young vote but he couldn’t win the nomination and his supporters refused to vote for Hillary. Black Lives Matter came out and scared the hell out of people and then black people – we didn’t vote. It was like Black Lives Matter scared people and drove them to the ballot boxes. I guess we kind of played ourselves in this position because you can never underestimate your opponent and that’s what I think we did.
AllHipHop: This was like the perfect storm.
Ice-T: It was the perfect storm but we’re at a point in our history where nobody in their right mind who has the qualifications wants to be the president. You can’t win with that job. You have half of the country that hates you, people who want to kill you, and you’re not really being financially rewarded for it. The only reason to be president is because it’s something that you really want. I can’t even control my own household – like paying my cable bill and sht (laughs). Why would I want the problems of the world? Although I’m aware that people might listen to me, I’m just on my soapbox running my sht. I’m not willing in any way to take over that job. F*** that!
AllHipHop: Now that you bring that up, I recall someone on Twitter recently asking you if you had any political aspirations.
Ice-T: I’m a soapbox politician. I stand on the sidelines making my political surveys for what it’s worth. One of my comments about being in politics was that I got out of crime. I don’t have people in my life lobbying me and getting me to say what they want me to say. I say what I want and I like that. Once you take that job, you are under severe pressure and I think Obama found that out. I think Obama went in with all good intentions but the second you become the president, you get your hands dirty and you’re responsible for death. They are responsible for it and they have to write all of those letters to the families of soldiers that died. It’s not a simple walk in the park.
AllHipHop: So let me ask you this, will Trump eventually be impeached?
Ice-T: I think Trump is going to be turned on by his own people. I don’t know if it will be impeachment but most of his pain is not going to come from the Democrats or liberals – by the way this year was the first time I’ve ever been called a liberal. The people who voted for him will turn on him because I don’t think he’s going to be able to bring them the jobs and we’ve already seen the healthcare replacement plan. In the gang world if you want to run things, the other gangsters will only give you like six months and if it doesn’t pay out, they’re turning on you. I don’t think his promises will be met in orderly fashion like the wall and jobs. I just don’t think he’s going to pull it off. More and more people will become upset and he’ll have to deal with the fall out – and he can’t even deal with a tweet! Just recently he had a million women out in the streets marching against him. I have some women that don’t like me but not a million, god-damn! My dad used to tell me sometimes you just step in some sh*t that you can’t get off your shoe.
I watch CNN every night and they are on him for that Russian sh*t and then to top it off, he wakes up one morning and tweets at 6 a.m. accusing Obama of wiretapping him. I was like, “Are you on acid or something? Obama can’t just do that. There would have to be a governmental move to do that.
AllHipHop: Yeah, you would need a Federal judge to sign off on that and only with probable cause.
Ice-T: That can be easily checked and it’s not like he said, “I think he did it.” He said, “I know he did it.” Dude is going to self destruct.
AllHipHop: You and I can use Twitter and say whatever we want but it’s crazy that our top government official is using it without responsibility. He could get us all killed with some reckless tweets (laughs).
Ice-T: Wait a minute, stop it Tim – the most powerful person in the world! You can’t just talk sh*t. I was watching the news about China saying that we’re about to have a head on collision. You and I know that someone with power can’t just talk reckless – and we’re not the president. Certain people are supposed to be held to a higher standard We can talk about this dude forever. I mean, security briefings out in the open at his Mar-a-Lago club? It’s all out of control. He might be one of the coldest con-man players to have ever walked the earth.
AllHipHop: Legit news outlets are labeled “fake news” and he’s using known shady ones as his resources.
Ice-T: Fake news is just something to label as when he doesn’t agree with them. When it’s positive, then he’s good with it. Then there are people with blogs who can just say whatever they want with no standards. I’ve read some blogs about myself there were outrageous. I had to sue Mediatakeout for running a full f**ing story about me saying that I only like white women and not black ones. It was originally said by a guy named Official Ice – one of Joe Budden’s friends but it was attributed to me and it went viral. I had women dissing me and leaving me mad messages so I had to sue like five different websites. Slander is when it causes you harm. My thing is, I’ve said enough wild sht, so I don’t need lies to be made up. And while I’ve said crazy sht, I’ve never said stupid sht. .
AllHipHop: Let’s talk about the Bloodlust album now. On “Raining Blood” you explain that you started this band so your high school friend, Ernie C, can have a chance to play his guitar.
Ice-T: Ernie and I went to Crenshaw high school together and he’d always walk around with his guitar and play Peter Frampton in front of hundreds of Crips. They were like, “What the f*** is this dude doing?” but they knew he had skills. He leaned towards rock because that’s where all of the guitar solos are. He thought he was Ernie Isley, who is also another great guitar player, and had role models like Jimi Hendrix. When I left the streets and became Ice T, these cats would be in the studio like, “Where do I play?” I had to explain that I was making hip-hop records over samples. On my Rhyme Pays album, I used live drums and sample from Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” song just to show my connection to rock. That was cool but it wasn’t really possible to connect hip-hop and rock at that point still as it was mostly sample-driven. It took a minute for hip-hop to accept live instruments – you know, the replaying of tracks which Dr. Dre made popular.
I’d go to Europe with Public Enemy and these kids would mosh when Chuck would play “Bring Tha Noize.” Once you see a mosh pit, there is nothing like performing in front of one. I came home with the idea of making a band. Beatmaster V, who passed away from leukemia, he was selling weed and playing drums. Mooseman was selling weed and playing bass and D-Roc was Ernie’s student. I told them that I had an idea to get them away from dope dealing and play some music. They went with it and we started writing songs and performing around L.A. in pizza joints. We got the chance to play at Lollapalooza and I split the set with half Ice T songs and half Body Count ones. This was before the album.
AllHipHop: It’s interesting how Rock and Hip-Hop sometimes have a hard time accepting one another considering that Rock N Roll was originally black music and they are both children of the blues.
Ice-T: Quincy Jones once told me that pop music is easy because it’s just singing what everybody wants to hear. Rock is rebellious and has a “f*** you” attitude. Now rappers, we don’t R&B the mic – we “rock” the mic. We know we are rock without the guitars. But when you think about it, rock started with the pianos. It’s all attitude and if you ask any rock star from Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, or The Beatles, they’d tell you that they were just doing their version of black music. Led Zeppelin is like a soul band if you listen to the way they sing. There is no validity in the divide of genres.
The reason why some blacks can’t get into metal is because of the topic. In heavy metal they use what’s called raw or dirty lyrics where you can’t even hear what they are saying. What I’ve done is taken the music and given you lyrics that you can understand. All of my hip-hop people that have listened to this album are like, “Yo! This sh*t is dope!” Treach from Naughty By Nature called it “Gangster Metal.” I like doing what people say can’t be done.
AllHipHop: You talk about the meaning of bloodlust on the title track and state that we are the only things on earth that kill for sport.
Ice-T: The album is all different angles of blood lust whether it’s the robbers in “The Ski Mask Way” or the serial killer in “Here I Go Again.” In the record what I’m saying is that us human beings are our own virus. We have a bloodlust – all of us do. Even if you’re only into drama, rumors and gossip – that’s a blood lust. We all love to point fingers but you first have to address the issues inside of yourself and how f***ed up you are before you can start worrying about other people. The message of the album is that we humans are our own problem.