For me, filming a Freestyle 101 with the mighty Ice-T was like jamming with Miles Davis, riffing with Jimi Hendrix or crooning with Frank Sinatra. The man is a master of his craft, one of the most influential MCs in the game, fronted one of the best (and first) rap-metal bands ever, is a terrific actor, and is a true original.
Yes, Ice-T is a legend, straight up. He also happens to be one of the reasons I got into rap music. The day I heard the gangland murder-spree of “Colors” I was hooked. By the time I got to classic albums like Power, Iceberg/Freedom of Speech and O.G. Original Gangster, I had been sworn in for life.
Yet it’s too easy to classify Ice-T as simply a great gangsta rapper. Sure, he practically invented the style with early cuts like “6 ‘N Da Mornin’” and the aforementioned “Colors,” but along with Public Enemy he also ushered in politics in rap, infusing a strong political and social consciousness into hip hop. His book, The Ice Opinion, is a must read if you want to hear about how politics and rap bang heads, and his speeches as a TV correspondent and on the lecture circuit are educated, thought provoking and inspirational. That he took his career as America’s favorite “Cop Killer” and turned it into a respectable career playing a police detective in everything from New Jack City to TV’s Law & Order Special Victims Unit is downright astounding.
But it’s not just his world view and strong opinion that makes him so deadly. The dude can rap his ass off. I mean, what other MC from his generation could keep up with tongue-twisting sci-fi rappers like Kool Keith and Marc Live on a project like The Analog Brothers (check their Pimp To Eat album)? What other MC could team with underground vets like Smooth da Hustler and Trigger da Gambler (also coming up on FS101) in a group like SMG and not only hold his own, but shine like a fresh, young up and comer (check their Sex, Money and Gunz album)? And what other rapper could front a metal band like Body Count and issue a death metal opus like 2006’s Murder For Hire? No one. No other rapper touches him, plain and simple.
So when Ice-T arrived at New York’s Play Studios with wife Coco by his side (she is even hotter is real life, fyi) and entered the booth, we at Freestyle 101 were beyond honored. I gave him my usual speech about how we’d love it if he could throw in some videogame references and he responded, “I don’t know videogames, man. I just know guns.” Well, okay then. Rap about guns. You are Ice-T after all, you invented rapping about guns. So do your thing.
Boy, did he ever. Ice stepped up on the mic over a Messiaz beat and gave us the sonic equivalent to tossing a grenade into the booth. BOOM! There was blood, gore and shrapnel everywhere! Seriously, this was one of the deadliest raps I have ever heard. Does Ice still got it? Man, he’s got skills to spare. WARNING: THIS RAP CONTAINS MUCH PROFANITY AND IS NOT FOR THE WEAK AT HEART. SERIOUSLY.
So enjoy this one-of-a-kind Freestyle 101 and make sure to check out Ice-T’s new online single “U Ain’t No Gangsta” on MySpace and look for his upcoming collaboration album with rapper Black Silver, Black Ice.
Webby nominated Freestyle 101 goes up at 9 a.m. PST (that’s noon over on the east) every Tuesday. Next week we bring you a highly entertaining 420 webisode with B-Real of Cypress Hill. Plus, stay tuned for Buckshot of Black Moon, The Alkaholiks, Ali Vegas, Big Noyd, Smooth da Hustler, Kool Keith, and many more. Make sure to dig our behind the scenes photos, visit us on MySpace and rant in our Forums. And if you dig this watch more Freestyle 101s from West Coast rappers such as Glasses Malone, Ras Kass, Tash, RBX, Del and Insane Poetry.