Real Name: Tracey Marrow
D.O.B.: February 16, 1958 Newark, New Jersey
Ice-T has shown to be through all definitions, the sole embodiment of west coast rap. A founding O.G. of the West's movement, Ice-T's career continues to be one of the most successful in hip-hop. His work has ran a continual momentum of success parallel to the contemporary styles of the times, without almost any media support, his music has remained on the underground and yet his longevity in the game has left an impression as one of the most established artists in West coast hip-hop. Ice-T is a monster in LA's gangsta rap scene, his early movements in the underground LA rap scene set the trend for the most powerful force in the global music industry. Ice-T is also instrumental in fathering the crossover of gangsta rap and heavy rock, known as Urban-Rock or Rapcore. As well he paved the way for rap artists to establish careers as actors, marketed through mainstream TV as personalities and movie roles based on the hardcore character their music provides them with. Ice-T is one of those community elders who has been there, and done everything that today's artists boast of. He is still today one of the most recognizable players in US hip-hop, the Original Gangster, MC Ice-T.
Ice-T started his rap career becoming well-versed in the overall west coast scene of the hip-hop movement as it rolled right through California in the early 1980s. At a time when NWA was being credited with the birth of gangsta rap, Ice-T wrote a track called "6 'n The Morning" that is now regarded as a seminal influence on the west coast's upbringing of hip-hop. He became the first west coast artist to be accepted and adopted by the forefathers of hip-hop in the east coast. Before Eazy created NWA's stringent gangsterism, Ice-T carried the reality and personification of the LA gang culture breathing heavily from within his early hardcore raps, Ice-T's music was always respected by the neighbourhood inner-city market who had the power to shut down imitators of the game. A former Crip gangster, pimp, hustler and LA County ex-con there wasn't a struggle he couldn't speak on. His recordings were unmistakably direct on Public Enemy-style political awareness, KRS One's social righteousness with overtones of NWA's brutal hedonism. He even grew too bad for gangsta rap by bridging over to pander to the animosity of head-banging white audiences with his hardcore urban rock outfit Body Count. However, Ice-T never did and never will lose what he was sent here to provide us with, HARDCORE and he is synonymous with this through any media medium he uses.
BEFORE THE ICE BROKE
Young Tracey was born on the east coast, Newark New Jersey to be exact. When he was around the age of 12 he lost his parents in a car accident and spent his adolescent years on the west coast being cared for by relatives in South Central LA. He attended Crenshaw High School a heavily Hoover Crip gang populated school. He began dancing with the West Coast Locksmiths. Locking was a break dance-influenced dance created in the neighbouring Watts district in the early '70s. He later danced with the Radio Crew seen in the 1983 documentary 'Breakin and Enterin'. However at this stage as an impressionable teenager he was recruited in the street life and gang culture that plagued the inner cities of LA. Naturally as a student at Crenshaw High he ran with the notorious Hoovers and began reading ghetto-pulp literature on Donald Goines and Iceberg Slim the pimp-turned writer. Later this would be the main influence for his stage name as a recording artist. While at Crenshaw High he campaigned for the Crips by writing slogans "Crips don't die, they multiply." Using the poetry of Iceberg Slim and his player toastin' format he would recite long rhymes, before thinking to put them to a beat. Like this one of Ice's verses popular with his set (gang):
"Strollin' through the city in the middle of the night
Niggas on my left and niggas on my right
Yo I Cr-cr-cr-cripped every nigga I see
If you bad enough come fuck with me."
While living in South Central he impregnated his high school girlfriend, fellow Hoover Criplette, Darlene whom he would later marry and stay with for over fifteen years. (Darlene posed for Ice-T's two first album covers. On 'O.G' she stood in a skimpy white thong beside Ice hiding a 12gauge shotgun behind her.) After high school, Ice joined the Army and served as a ranger in the 25th Infantry. He did not enjoy the experience explaining "I didn't like total submission to a leader other than myself."
After four years, (1981) he returned to his streets in LA with intentions of being a dance promoter. He said, "I thought it would be an easy way to make money, but after I carted all that equipment to a couple of jams I said fuck this! I found out I could walk in there with a mic, get some money and walk out, and I didn't have to carry no shit. So I started pushing toward being an MC versus a DJ."
In the early '80s he was discovered at a hair salon rhyming to impress the ladies and was convinced to immortalize his skills on wax. Ice was running with the pioneers of electronic-funk The Unknown DJ, Egyptian Lover and DJ Flash. His first recordings in '82 were the club-circuit favourite electro-funk classics "The Coldest Rap" and "Cold Wind Madness" released on Saturn Records. The recordings started a trend of long listed gold records despite receiving little to no air play due to the explicit nature of his lyrics by the rapper who was known becoming known as Ice-T. This controversy was never tamed in fact it became his major marketing tool in the future. Ice teamed up with a Mexican rapper, Arturo 'Kid Frost' Molina Jr. and together they performed raps at backyard parties and lowrider car shows throughout LA.