Growing up as an orphan in south central Los Angeles, Ice-T saw rap and his lyrical gifts as a ‘vehicle for getting out of trouble’.
The rapper turned actor has become the longest running black actor in television history with his ongoing role in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but it was through hip-hop that he first made a name for himself.
In a wide-ranging lecture at the Red Bull Music Academy Festival in LA, he admitted: “Rap was just a stepping stone man. I just wanted out. I wanted the big house, I wanted the fly s***. Rap was just a way out.
“It was like low-hanging fruit. One day I got this epiphany. I’m like, ‘Iceberg Slim isn’t just a pimp and a player, he’s a writer.’ There’s so many hustlers and players in the world, but who knows their name.
“I was like, if I’m going to be known, if I want to go down in the books, I can’t just live the game, I have to document the game.
“And that’s how I’m going to be known about the average cat on the street. When you listen to my music, don’t listen to it like a rap record. Listen to it like me telling you stories over music.”
The 59-year-old has been something of a groundbreaker in his career, going from the rap game to the silver screen after New Jack City actor and director Mario van Peebles overheard him talking in the bathroom, of a night club, and offered him a big acting break.
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