Doomsday.

Ice T. Syndicate Interview.

Ice T. Syndicate Interview.

Part 1 of 3. Ice T interview with Jeff Potocar from the Vans Syndicate news paper ‘These Days’ Issue 02.

 

ICE T: Hello?

JEFF: Ice?!

ICE T: Cool.

JEFF: Can you hear me?

ICE T: Yeah.

JEFF: How you been, man?

ICE T: Just doing everything. My movie’s getting ready to come out, so we’ve been promoting The Art of Rap. It’s starting to blow up, so we’re doing real good with that.

JEFF: That showed at Sundance, right?

ICE T: Showed at Sundance, got picked up, and I got the trailer on the Net right now. If you go to theartofrap.com, you’ll see the trailer and stuff. You’ll get a feel for the movie, and it’s doing really, really good. We’re, like, the number-three trailer on Apple Television on Apple Trailers the first week against the big movies, so we did good.

JEFF: No shit. When’s that set to come out?

ICE T: It comes out June 15. There’ll be a premiere in L.A. I think the 5th and in New York the 12th.

JEFF: Right on. This is gonna be your first movie you’ve directed, right?

ICE T: Yeah.

JEFF: That’s a crazy one. So, kinda wanted to talk to you about – well, the first thing. I didn’t know – I guess most people would kinda be surprised to realize you’re kind of a big video gamer.

ICE T: Yeah. I mean, I’ve been playing games. I think a lotta especially entertainers, athletes, are gamers, and people fail to realize we spend most our lives on tour buses. I mean, I would be out on the road 100, sometimes 150 days out of the year sometimes, so you’re in the back of a tour bus just riding around, there’s nothing there but a videotape back in the day, a CD player or a PlayStation or something, so you just start playing games. Even people would get on the bus and not be gamers and leave and they were good.

JEFF: No shit. You ever play Call of Duty?

ICE T: I play Call of Duty now. I actually got a clan, SMG.

JEFF: You do?

ICE T: Sex, Money, and Guns, yeah.

JEFF: Yes!!

ICE T: I play with Xzibit and I play with Lord Jamar from Brand Nubians and a bunch of other kids from all over. One of our kids is from Liverpool, England, so we go in. We pretty good.

JEFF: What’s your longest kill streak?

ICE T: Come on, man. I do nukes. Back in the day I was dropping nukes on motherfuckers. I can run through it. I mean, the trip of the game is if you playing with a team you got much better action than just running and gunning with a bunch of people. So, it’s a different strategy, so if you really have a good clan, you can kinda assist each other, because if I’m rolling with you and you’re in front of me, if you get shot and know somebody’s around the corner, so the odds are I’ll get him. If I’m by myself I’m just gonna get whacked outta fuckin’ nowhere, so you gotta kinda learn how to posse up in that game.

JEFF: You play domination, the capture-the-flag one?

ICE T: We play domination. Mostly we play hardcore. Now we’re playing confirmed kill and just team deathmatch, shit like that. I was playing just a minute ago.

JEFF: The new one?

ICE T: Yeah, and then also I was a character in Gears of War this year.

JEFF: I read that. You actually did a song for that, right?

ICE T: Body Count did the title song that plays at the end of the game, and then also I play a guy named Griffin that Fenix runs into on the way, and I’m one of the only people that talks shit to Fenix and live.

JEFF: Hell yeah. That was that special-edition Xbox Gears of War thing or something, right?

ICE T: No, it was just Gears of War 3. I became friends Cliffy B, and I think I’ve been in about five video games. I started off I was in a UFC game. I was a hidden character. Then I was in Def Jam: Fight for NY. Then I was a final character, Mad Dog, in San Andreas,Grand Theft Auto.

JEFF: That’s right.

ICE T: And then I was in the video game Scarface, and then I was in Gears of War now.

JEFF: And you did the song for it. That’s amazing.

ICE T: That makes it pretty official, I think.

JEFF: Hell yeah. I tripped out when I read that one. I actually just downloaded that song last night.

ICE T: If you go on the Net and put “ICE T Unboxing” – I think it’s Call of Duty. I have almost half a million views of me unboxing the old Call of Duty. Ice was even doing unboxing videos on motherfuckers.

JEFF: So tight! When did you start Rhyme Syndicate?

ICE T: What happened was when I started rapping and I finally got my first record deal, there were a bunch of people that I was friends with in L.A. that wanted to break in, but they hadn’t really broken, WC, Mad Circle, groups like 783, Muggs from Cypress Hill, who was the DJ, and Everlast and all these people that were in my cypher, but I was the first person to get a record deal. So what I did was I told them. I said, “If I really make it, I’ll come back and try to give y’all a record deal, I’ll try to form related label scenario’s. So Warner Bros. gave me some action and the first thing was a compilation, which is calledRhyme Syndicate Coming Through. And the reason we used the term “syndicate” was a syndicate is a group of groups with a common goal, and I felt that it’s – for me to say I would be in charge of all these groups would be a little arrogant, so I would say, “Look, you guys got groups. You guys have leaders. Let’s just say all the leaders will sit at the table, and before we have beef, we’ll discuss it.” So I just organized all the West Coast groups into an organization.

Now, Syndicate was really a West Coast version of the Zulu nation. Africa Islam was my DJ, who helped produce my first albums, and Bambaataa gave me the knowledge of the Zulu nation, which is we all going in the same direction, so why compete? Why be bitches? Don’t do that. So, I knew L.A. It just wasn’t Afro-centric enough to go with the word “Zulu nation,” so I said, “Let’s call it the Syndicate,” but basically that’s what the Syndicate was was a West Coast Zulu nation. So we were all affiliated, and the Syndicate consists of every group other than NWA, ’cause NWA had their own movement, and the kids that were on Delicious Vinyl, which was Young MC and Tone Loc, but everybody else on the West Coast was part of the Syndicate.

JEFF: So did you have Rhyme Syndicate when you put out when you put out Rhyme Pays?

ICE T: Yeah.

JEFF: And then Rhyme Pays, that was one of the first records to come out that had the “explicit lyrics” label on it, right?

ICE T: Yeah, and the first West Coast rapper signed to a major, and it was a lotta firsts. And that was my step through the door. Now, if that record failed, I don’t know if you all would’ve heard about the Syndicate, ’cause that had to happen so by the second album I was able to get record deals. I was able to get Everlast a record deal on Warner and I did a track with Toddy T. He did something on Warner. We did the compilation on Warner. Then I signed Donald D. to Epic. I signed Divine Styler to Epic, Lord Finesse, so I was trying to put a lot of people in the game. It was just what you did at that time in hip-hop.

JEFF: You had King T. in there, too, right?

ICE T: King T. was part, MC Eiht. Basically it was all friends, so if you had a crew and you weren’t our enemy, you would just become part of the Syndicate, where – and that’s why L.A. never had any rap beef, because L.A. really comes from a small tree. It’s NWA and everyone they became where Cube branched off, and then comes MAC-10, and out of Dre comes Snoop and then Pac, and so that’s the NWA tree. Then you had the Syndicate, which turned in to Cypress Hill, which turned into Everlast, which turned into DJ Aladdin, all the cats from that side. And then you had, like I say, Delicious Vinyl.

That’s why L.A., you can squash any beef by calling me, Cube or Dre, and now Snoop’s a boss. You call Snoop, so that’s pretty much it. One of us four could really dead any situation, so that’s why you never seen it. The only time you ever seen a hip-hop beef in L.A. was really a family feud. That’s when Eazy and them went at it, but everybody stepped out of it, ’cause that was a family feud. It wasn’t for anybody to take sides. I think Cube and Cypress got into it for a minute, but that was lightweight.

JEFF: They did. Forgot about that. So, then you started Body Count.

ICE T: Body Count happened during the O.G. album, and if you listen to Rhyme Paysclose, you’ll hear a live drummer on Rhyme Pays, which is a War Pig sample, so the title cut of my first album, I’m using Black Sabbath, so that should let people know that I knew my rock. Rock was something that I always was fond of. I got my rock influence because when I was a kid, when I was in high school, I moved to L.A., and my cousin, he kept the radio station on the rock channel. He thought he was Jimi Hendrix, and I couldn’t fuck with his radio. So, I was listening to KMET and KLOS, so I ended up learning all the rock records. I knew everybody from Edgar Winter to Pink Floyd to Deep Purple to Mott the Hoople to Devo. I knew every rock record. I could do rock trivia with the best of them, because I would just listen and I picked up the track the groups I liked the most.

I like Blue Oyster Cult. I like Sabbath. I like the heavier shit, so my guys, Ernie C, he’s a virtuoso. He’s a ill guitar player and he was playing all through school and Moose and all these guys could play. So me being the kid from the hood who had a record deal, they would show up at my rap sessions trying to play. So only thing I could use would be Master V. I would let him play drums over my first record, but I was like, “Look, man. Hip-hop is done with samples and beats and shit,” so by the third album or really the fourth album, I was just looking at him one day, and by now I had toured all over the world, and when you go to Europe and you put on “Colors,” they mosh.

JEFF: Hell yeah. I can imagine.

ICE T: So, I was like, “Wow. These kids are banging off Public Enemy just like it’s a thrash-metal band.” So I was like – made me wanna do it, really. So I told my guys. I said, “You know what? Why don’t we just make a band and just fuck around?” So Body Count was really put together just to play around in the L.A. club scene and have fun, and it wouldn’t never been anything, but Perry Farrell did the first Lollapalooza, and Ernie met Perry Farrell, and Perry Farrell wanted me to sing “Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey,” for his _____ video, and I did it and then he said, “I want you to come on this tour. It’s gonna be the greatest tour ever. It’s gonna have all these different music” – Butthole Surfers, things like that and the other, Henry Rollins. I knew him from Black Flag, so I was like, “Cool,” so they just gave me an hour. Body Count had no album. They gave me an hour and I decided to split my set and I did 30 minutes of ICE T and 30 minutes of this new band, and it just blew up from there.

JEFF: And then you guys put the album out.

ICE T: Then we put the album out and the album contained the songs that we’d been playing on Lollapalooza and stuff we had road-tested.

JEFF: Were you guys playing “Cop Killer” on Lollapalooza?

ICE T: Yeah. We played “Cop Killer” for about a year and a half before the shit hit the fan, and for those people that know, I mean, that was a very – it was a political thing. See, right now you’re in an election year. Anything could be a flashpoint. Right now they’re all upset about some Secret Service guy fucking a prostitute like, did they just start fucking prostitutes, really? Washington, D.C., is the deepest track in the pimp game. All the motherfuckin’ politicians is fuckin’ hoes, so now they mad, and it’s like they mad at Obama, so they trying to find anything. So what happened was Body Count was out and some cats, some cops in Texas found it and said, “Oh, my God. This record promotes killing the cops,” and they got press behind it and they started a shit-storm. And so it kinda took the heat off the real cops that were out there fuckin’ up, and I was in the middle of it. I was like, “Wow.” They said that the record was a call to arms to tell people to go out and murder cops, which anybody listens to it knows it’s not. But that was what they said I was doing.

JEFF: And the next thing you know you got Dan Quayle on TV talking about “Cop Killer.”

ICT T: Dan Quayle, George Bush, Charlton Heston, Ollie North, a bunch of clowns. They be just jumping on the bandwagon, never heard the record, just – and they attacked Warner Bros. They didn’t really attack me; they attacked Warner Bros. and they said, “We understand ICE T might wanna sing this shit, but why would y’all wanna give him the vehicle to say it?” So they got really pissed at Warner Bros., and they attacked Warner Bros., ’cause Warner Bros. is the only American-owned record label. So it was a bunch of bullshit. That was an ill time in my life, but in a way it was a good thing, because you got to see your friends. A lot of people ran in here, and I was blackballed and there was no New Jack City 2 and all kinds of shit happened to me and I was kinda alienated from the game for a while. And now I just had to regroup and get my shit back together. I’m still here. Fuck ’em, but you find out that you seem like you got a lotta people with you, but when the shit hits the fan, you’re on your own.

JEFF: Mostly, for sure, especially at that level. That was a big fuckin’ deal.

ICE T: Well, when the president says your name in anger, you’re fucked. People don’t know that when the president says your name and he yells it, the minute he says it, they do the deepest background check in history on your ass, ’cause his next question could be, “What do you know about JEFF?” They can’t say, “Well, I think he works with Vans.” They gotta say, “His mother’s name is this. His blood type is this,” so they go in your ass with a microscope, so when I was in the crosshairs – and I was in the crosshairs for about six months, so it was heavy. But Chuck D. said it best. He said, “People that ain’t in the war shouldn’t comment on the battles,” so at that time, Source magazine came off on me: “ICE T, you giving in.” I’m like, “Motherfucker, do you even understand the magnitude of this shit? This ain’t rap. This is national security. They’re not fucking around.” So that’s when I dissed the Source. I’m like, fuck y’all. It was real shit going down.

JEFF: Hell yeah.

ICE T: But at the end of the day, it was a record, man. I really wanted to tell motherfuckers to go out and kill cops, I woulda said it just like that. It was a record. It was about a guy who lost his mind behind police brutality. It was a character I created, a protest record. It was just a guy that somehow people liked. The cop-killer, people liked him. Now, if I did a record called Kid Killer, I’d’ve been an asshole. People wouldn’t have liked me, so this said something that – I mean, I went to Brazil. I could’ve ran for president over there. They loved it, because the cops are killing the kids over there, but then I go to make it out of Brazil, so that’s why now you listen to music now, motherfuckers ain’t rattling no shit. They’re not saying much of nothing. They’re playing it safe as a motherfucker.

JEFF: I’d definitely agree with that.

ICE T: But then that’s why I really don’t look at these cats as my peers, ’cause I’m like, “You ain’t really doing nothing, so I’m not really impressed.” Cube was taking risks. Chuck was taking risks. Even Luke Skywalker was taking risks. Scarface, Ghetto Boy, they took risk. You guys ain’t taking no risks.

JEFF: Well, I mean, you guys all paved the way. How can new rappers out do what’s already been done?

ICE T: Come on. There’s a lot of risks to take. The motherfuckers just won’t sing about it. I mean, come on. We just had a war. I mean, we’re at war. Are you serious? Motherfuckers don’t wanna talk about that. We got black president. Motherfuckers don’t wanna talk about that.

JEFF: I guess that is true.

ICE T: There’s a lotta shit. Look at the subprime shit. Look at Wall Street. Look at the world. The world is fucked up right now, but motherfuckers – the music does not relate that. It relates that everybody’s riding around in a Rolls popping bottles, which is a fucking lie. The music is delusional right now, homie. It’s not real. It doesn’t reflect anything that’s real. And now it was a time where whatever you said, you had to validate that. If you said you was a drug dealer, it had to be the truth. You was a gangster, you better be able to let off a shot. That’s why people were getting shot. Now if you wanna be it, just put it in your bio. Motherfuckers just believe it. It’s crazy.

JEFF: Studio gangster shit.

ICE T: The shit is all like Lady Gaga, man. Rappers like Lady Gaga. They all the same. I’m like, get the fuck outta here. Put on the costume. You wanna be a cowboy, put on a cowboy costume and rap. Fuck it. Nobody cares who you really are.

JEFF: Do you guys still play shows as Body Count?

ICE T: Yeah. Last show Body Count really played was the Warped Tour anniversary and then we did – no, really our last show was the Gears of War video release they did in L.A. at the big video convention. We played for Microsoft and the whole Gears of War – it was a dope show, too. We rocked it. But unfortunately there’s only two living members of the original Body Count band. Beat Master V died of leukemia. Moose Man was shot in his own neighborhood in a drive-by, real shit, and D-Rock passed from cancer, so we have new bandmates and stuff, but we kinda – Body Count’s like in a cryogenic chamber and it’s like it could come out for the right events. Day and a half of rehearsals, we’re ready to go.

JEFF: So it’s just you and Ernie C. left?

ICE T: Well, no. We got me, Ernie C. Then we got Bendrix, who was a guitar tech. He’s playing. Then we got a dude named Vince, who we call him Vincent Price. And then we’ve had random drummers come in and play with us. We had Castle Suicidal play with us, so it’s just complicated now because me doing Law & Order it’s really difficult to tour.

JEFF: I bet. I mean, you’re filming almost every day, right?

ICE T: Yeah. And then when I have a break, I have other things to do, like this time I have a break I might do a movie, so, I mean, music is cool if you got time to ride around on tour buses and do all that shit. I’ve done it so much I kinda busted my nut, so I’m kinda like really digging this movie shit now, and it’s just more rewarding at the end of the day, right? What I wanna do is direct films, produce films, put music to the films. I think that’s how I’ll continue my art.

JEFF: I mean, this sounds like natural progression.

ICE T: Because with a film you got it all. It’s like you make a record, then you do a video. Well, how about do a movie? Then you got the story. You got the visual, and then you lay the music and soundtrack to it so it’s a full experience.

JEFF: You’re in control of the whole thing.

ICE T: It’s a bigger project but it’s really dope. When you see the trailer for The Art of Rap, you’ll see what I’m talking about.

JEFF: I’m gonna check that out. You were the guy that made O.G. a household term. That’s a big one.

ICE T: Well, I mean, the thing of it is is O.G. comes from the gang, so O.G. meant the first-generation gang member from a particular set, so if you went to, say, Hoover Crips, the O.G.s were the guys that created the set. Now, it also meant original, so you got the O.G. Vans. You got the O.G. 501 Levis. You got the O.G. Dickies, O.G. White K-Swiss. It’s the original ones, not the ones that came after that, so original just means they were the first to do it. Suicidal is O.G. Venice gangster punk. They were the first, and that makes them O.G. So when I did the album, what happened was – well, my first album, if you listen to Rhyme Pays, I don’t – cause I don’t call myself a gangster.

I’m the L.A. player, right, but there was a lotta – we used to say I turned the P into a G real quick, homie, so there’s a lotta gunplay in stuff like “Pain” and “Squeeze the Trigger.” So then NWA came out, and Cube said, “We’re from the gang called Niggas with Attitude,” so instead of calling themself a rap group, he said, “We’re the gang,” so the press said, “This is gangsta rap.” The press made the term “gangsta rap.” Then I came back and I said, “Well, if it’s gangsta rap, then I’m the original gangster.” So that was the progression of the word, and I did the album cover with one picture of me in shackles and another picture of me in a tux next to the Ferrari, which basically really was saying regardless to which one you’re looking at, I’m the other one, too, so if you see me in shackles, hey, next week I might be in a tux, and you see me in a tux, next week I might be in the shackles. So I’m the same guy, and that was one of my best albums. That album was intended to be a double album, but they wouldn’t do it, ’cause they said they couldn’t make a cassette long enough back in those days.

JEFF: So you pretty much pioneered gangsta rap.

ICE T: Well, I was the first person to add guns to the game. The first person I was inspired by, Schoolly D., and Schoolly D. made a record called PSK, and in PSK he talked about Park Side Killers, which is a gang from Philly, but it was a very vague record: “PSK, we making that green. People always say, ‘What the hell does that mean?’ P is for the people that can’t understand how one homebody became a man. S is for the way you scream and shout. One by one, I’m knockin’ you out.” That’s really as violent as it got, so I took it to “6 in the Mornin’” with hand grenades and Uzis and going to the county and stabbing niggas in the eye and beating bitches down and shooting dice and just that whole gangster element was done in “6 in the Mornin’” that had never been done before.

So, you can say Schoolly D. was the seed to gangsta rap and Ice did the first tree, and then Dre and them came after “6 in the Mornin’” with Boyz ’n the Hood, which is basically “6 in the Mornin’.” Dre even says it in the movie: “Boyz ’n the hoodare always hard. Six in the mornin’ police at my doors.” Same song, but we were all friends so it was all good. It was just a movement from L.A., so it was like one inspired the next.

JEFF: That’s crazy. That’s some L.A. history right there. You were the only rapper to do a song with Slayer, right?

ICE T: Yeah. Slayer doesn’t do duets, but it was for a movie, Judgment Night, and they picked the rock bands first and they asked the rock bands who would they like to perform with, and they already knew I had done Body Count and they knew I was a fan, and Rick Rubin and me have been friends for years, so it was a no-brainer. Next thing you know, I’m in the studio with Slayer and they had just got this new drummer from Forbidden and we were in the studio just getting it in, and me and Tommy just laid the vocals out. That was a song by Exploited, and they took three songs and made them into one, and it’s a badass track, but it was “L.A., ’92”. It was “Disorder,” but we’d flip some lyrics and change them around.

JEFF: That was the song, “Disorder,” right?

ICE T: Well, the song was called “Disorder,” but it has a song inside of it we call “L.A. ’92,” and it starts out with war. It’s war: “I don’t want your war. We don’t need your war.” That’s one song. Then it comes in [mimics guitar riffing] like, “L.A. ’92, bad shit, mad shit. It should make you cry. The answer to the question is I ain’t gonna die.” And then it goes into “Disorder”: “Billy got a fuckin’ gun. He’s gonna start a war with the sticks and stones, just bullet holes and broken bones,” so it’s like, chaos, chaos, don’t give a fuck. It was some hard shit. If you wanna hear some other hard shit, check out my rendition of Black Flag “Police Story.”

JEFF: You covered “Police Story”?!

ICE T: I did “Police Story” from Black Flag on a tribute album they did for the Seven. Just “ICE T, Police Story, Black Flag.” All that shit’s on YouTube.

JEFF: Holy shit. I did not know that.

ICE T: I mean, I’ve been very fortunate, man. I’ve toured with all these groups and been out, opened for Sepultura, Ministry, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Metallica. We were welcome into the rock community very warmly, because we wasn’t fuckin’ around and they knew that, and they knew that all my guys could play. So, that’s all that mattered. It’s like going into rap. As soon as we know you ain’t posing, rap. But don’t come in here and try to make a mockery of this shit, so they knew I was dead serious. And, I mean, it’s all from the heart. What’s in the heart should be all right, so I had some fun times. I recorded with Chris Barnes, Six Feet Under.

JEFF: You did…..

ICE T: From Cannibal Corpse. I did a record called One Bullet Left. That shit’s wild. You can’t even understand the fuck he’s singing. That’s death metal. That motherfucker [imitates Chris Barnes singing]. You could hear my verse, though. I’m screaming shit, talking about taking a little bitch hostage and throwing her on the lawn and then calling the police on myself, and it’s crazy shit. But you know me. I like hardcore shit. I like edgy shit. I’m not really with this happy shit. It’s not what I do. I can produce it; I just can’t do it.

JEFF: Damn, I gotta find your Police Story cover right now

ICE T: You on your computer?

JEFF: Yeah. I just looked it up. I’m gonna watch it after this phone call.

ICE T: Is it Googling up? Is it pulling up?

JEFF: Yeah. I just hooked up the Chris Barnes song, too, Six Feet Under.

ICE T: “One Bullet Left,” one left to die for. That shit is badass. I mean, and I met all those cats out on the road and stuff and they were all like, “Yo, Ice, let’s work.” I met Napalm Death too. They was like, “Let’s fuck around.”

JEFF: That’s so sick. That’s amazing.

ICE T: I was fucking around with Danzig back in the days. It’s like musicians all listen to other people’s music. You’d be surprised, so just because you do it metal doesn’t mean you won’t go on a Garth Brooks tour bus and see a Jay-Z album. It’s what it is.

JEFF: Wow. This is all amazing. All right. I think I just got one last question and then I’m gonna let you go. So, from O.G. gangsta rapper, then you did the Colors theme song. Then you did New Jack City theme song (new jack hustler). You were an actor in New Jack City (playing a cop). Then you did “Cop Killer” with Body Count and you were the singer. Then you were on Players Ball. You hosted a lot of those.. Did a song with Slayer, now you play a cop on Law & Order and you have a reality show Ice Loves Coco. My question to you is, from all the way back then to now, how in the fuck does Ice-t keep it so real?

ICE T: Because I’m just honest. I’m honest about shit. It’s not an act. See, if it was an image or a gimmick, then I would be concerned with how people perceive me. I’m not concerned with how you perceive me, because I know no matter what I do, I’m still me. You follow me? So, the gangsta ICE T isn’t an image. That’s just how gangsta I am, you dig? If you watch me on Ice Loves Coco, that’s just how funny I am. If you watch me on Law & Order, that’s how good an actor I am. I ain’t no cop, but I had to act like a cop in New Jack City. Tupac played a cop. It’s like when you act, you give up your own personality and you play the part.

Now, you either wanna be an actor or you don’t. You can’t be an actor and say, “All I wanna do is play characters that’re very similar to my personality.” That’s not really acting, and if you think about it, if you take a street cat and cast him as a street cat, he’s not really acting, but if you cast a street cap as a cop, you get a cop with an interesting dynamic, and that’s what works on television. That’s why when you see me on Law & Order you swear to God I’m gonna smack the shit out of a motherfucker. You like, “Well, don’t lie to that cop.” And anybody that’s really been in crime like to the level I have, the cops you deal with are more thug than half these niggas on the streets. They talk it. They act like it. They in the gym. They _____. They dangerous-looking motherfuckers.

JEFF: It’s the biggest gang in the world. Fuck the police.

ICE T: They are! And when that task force roll on you, it ain’t like they punks. They coming through. These niggas is like big 250-pound big thugged-out, bald-headed niggas like with patches on they eyes. That’s the police. So, my thing is like this, man. ICE T came from nothing. I was in the streets hustling. All I did is take advantage of opportunity. If my opportunity was trying to pimp on a ho, well, I’m gonna try to pimp on a ho, but that isn’t necessarily what I wanna do. I wanted to live like white people. I wanna have a good life. I wanna have nice Things, so that opportunity started to open up with rap. And when rap opened up, I said, “Well, damn, I can get out of this hood by telling stories about my life.” Then somebody said, “Hey, you wanna be in a movie?” I’m like, “You motherfuckin’ right. You crazy? A movie? You mean like Tom Cruise and them dudes? Oh, hell, yeah. Let me try that.”

And I applied myself to do that, so all I’ve been, all ICE T has been doing is just a brother that’s taking advantage of the opportunities presented to him, and you could look at me now and say, “You was a cop-killer then. Now you on Ice Loves Coco laughing and shit,” but run up on me. I’m the same nigga that’ll shoot you in the motherfucking head. It’s like it’s not no different. It’s just your perception of what you’re seeing, you dig? It’s the same person, but if I was a fake person, I would be uncomfortable doing these things because I would be worried about dismantling an image. You understand?

JEFF: I do.

ICE T: I am no image. It’s just me. I’ll go surfing and kick it; I don’t give a fuck. And the truth of the matter is, you could take the hardest cat out of the toughest penitentiary, get him out and say, “Hey, we’ll give you this money that Ice is making to play a cop,” that motherfucker’ll play a cop better than me. That’s the truth, but, see, what it is is you got a lotta fake people that’re so image-conscious that they don’t really know how to act, so they – you watch the interview, it’s all “yo, son, you know,” they’re so posing like, “I’m so thug. I’m so thorough. I’m so this. I’m so that.” I’m like, really? I mean, that might fool some people; it doesn’t fool me. It has nothing to do with how you talk. It has nothing to do with how you dress. It has nothing to do with anything.

All your gangsta is, is what we will do under pressure. That’s really all it is. You could be the squarest-looking white kid hanging around with me riding skateboard, but when the shit hit the fan, you get down. That’s gangsta. All that other shit is bullshit. That’s like foreplay. That’s bullshit. When the shit gets down, let’s see who the fuck gets down. One of my best friends is Trech, right? He’s not a game. I know certain some of these cats that are real thorough, that Freddie Fox. I know some of these cats that is dead serious about they shit, and you never hear them talking shit. It’s always just the little corny kids that can’t figure it out. It’s kinda like did you see The Godfather?

JEFF: I did.

ICE T: Well, how did the Godfather end up dying?

JEFF: Fuck. I forget. But I wanna blame Fredo.

ICE T: No. He was in the backyard playing with his little grandkid. He was cutting flowers.

JEFF: Oh yeah, heart attack.

ICE T: His little grandson was playing in the garden with him, spraying insecticide and shit. That’s where gangsters end up, man. They end up growing flowers, man, chilling. It’s like all the shit you’re doing is to get you to a place where you don’t have to do that no more. It’s where you can chill out with me and have my badass wife walk around and I’m playing Xbox not giving a fuck about these niggas, man. That’s gangsta. I mean, if I’m still fucking 54 years old standing on the corner, I’m stupid, really. But you know what it is, player? It’s like you gotta have somebody who can show you the destination, like as the game progresses you gotta say, well, if I don’t progress, I’m no longer showing people there’s a progression. They get stuck at my third album and that’s where they stuck. You gotta continue to see me progress. You watch Jay-Z progress. You watch Dr. Dre progress, Cube progress. All we wanted to do was get a chance, and we got a chance and we took it. That’s what the fuck we was yelling about on the early records.

JEFF: Well, I mean, I gotta say your progression from, what, ’87 to now is pretty fucking incredible.

ICE T: And you know the thing of it is if you sit up and you watch Ice Loves Coco, all my tough guys that know me, they like, “Yo, that’s you, dude. They got you. That’s you. That’s my dude,” so that’s all that matters. I’m a sane cat. It’s just a lot more – I’m not in the field like it was back in the day. I’m busting my ass so I don’t have to be there.

JEFF: Wow. Well, you know what? I think that –

ICE T: You got a book!

JEFF: Ahahahaaaa… I got a book right here! I got 43 minutes. Holy shit. This is incredible. Honestly, I cannot thank you enough for everything. I’m really grateful to have been able to do this with you. Its been an honor and a privilege. You’re truly a G.

ICE T: My man. It’s all good, you’re welcome. Talk to you later.

JEFF: Ice, thank you, man.

ICE T: Peace.

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