Ice-T not only invented gangster rap, he has lived it. Ice-T is the original embodiment of LA hip-hop. Through his music, his book, The Ice Opinion, and his lecture tours of America’s prisons, high schools, and colleges (including Harvard, Berkeley, and Stanford), Ice-T has become an influential spokesman for America’s youth, regardless of color. He has been the keynote speaker at a number of Internet conventions including the 1999 College Music Journal Conference in New York, New York Music & Internet Expo in 2000, Rotterdam Film Festival in 2000, and Canadian Music Week in 2000.
Born in New Jersey, Ice-T learned the art of survival quickly. An only child whose parents died when he was very young, he became involved in Los Angeles gangs before spending four years in the army. His first break came when the producers of the film Breakin’ asked him to rap in the movie. He went on to become rap music’s original gangster, writing songs “Six in the Mornin” and “New Jack Hustler.”
Ice-T formed Rhyme Syndicate Records in 1989 and released a string of groundbreaking West Coast rap records. He subsequently formed the thrash metal band Body Count with close high school friend and guitarist Ernie C. Body Count’s 1991 self-titled debut contained the controversial single “Cop Killer.” Body Count was the most critically acclaimed act on the highly successful 1991 Lollapalooza tour, and continued to tour worldwide. Ice-T has received a Grammy Award and was also voted Best Male Rapper in Rolling Stone‘s 1992 Readers’ Poll.
As his politics were grabbing headlines, Ice-T’s film and television career was taking off. The controversial personality secured roles in New Jack City, Ricochet, Trespass, and Johnny Mnemonic, all while building a flourishing television career. He has numerous independent and documentary film roles to his credit as well.
Ice-T currently stars in NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as “Detective Finn.” This is his fourth project with executive producer Dick Wolf after the 1997-98 series Player, NBC’s Exiled: A Law & Order Movie, and several memorable guest-starring appearances on Wolf’s gritty cop series New York Undercover. On VH1’s Rap School, Ice-T taught prep school kids how to be rappers.
As an artist, his reach has crossed from music into film and television, and interactive media. He is the voice of “Madd Dogg” on one of the hottest selling games, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Ice-T also plays a character in the new video game Scarface which came out the fall of 2006. As an author, his book, The Ice Opinion, was published in 1994 and has been translated into Japanese, German, French, and Italian.
Race in America: Two Sides of a Coin
Overcoming the Impossible
The Cultural Relevance of Rap Music & How It Shaped My Life