We chat to Ice-T about Law & Order:SVU, controversy and Body Count

We chat to Ice-T about Law & Order:SVU, controversy and Body Count

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The world too, was quick to pay attention to Ice-T’s flow. “Before I knew it, I had my own style, my own edge, and I got a record deal.” His first album, Rhyme Pays, dropped in 1987 and was one of the first LPs to ever carry an explicit content warning sticker. “I never really had a problem with the warning sticker,” Ice-T explains. “I think you should know that if you’re going into a haunted house, that it’s a haunted house. You know, let me make a choice, before I go through the door.”

In addition to rapping, Ice-T also began another creative endeavour ­– acting. His first slice of the film industry was in Breakin’ (1984). “I was an extra called Rap Talker,” he laughs. “Then I got offered to be in New Jack City (1991), because they were gonna make an urban movie but they didn’t have enough young actors. And that was my first shot.”

For many millennials, it’s arguably Ice-T’s character Odafin ‘Fin’ Tutuola on Law & Order: SVU for which he is most recognised. “All of this stuff is really disturbing,” Ice-T says of the show. “We did one recently, where the guy thought the girl was gay, so he decided to rape the gay out of her. Like, what the fuck? It’s all based on real stuff. It blows my mind.

“It’s let me know there’s some really, really, warped individuals out there. And you’ve gotta be careful. They don’t look like bad guys, they don’t look like creeps, but they are.”

For an actor that’s been a huge part of a show dealing with society at its darkest, it not surprising that Ice-T isn’t afraid to use his platform to speak out about a variety of social injustices. One track he has since become infamous for was Cop Killer in 1992, for which he received death threats and much criticism for in the conservative media. “Controversy is really just whoever has the balls to tell the truth at any particular time,” says Ice-T in hindsight. “If you’re gonna tell the truth, they’re gonna call you controversial because they’re too scared to say anything. But some people have to say something. You gotta stand up.”

Proving he’s still not averse to making a statement in 2017, Ice-T used the recent Body Count release, Bloodlust, to tackle further topical content. “People were so confused with the Black Lives Matter movement,” he says. “You know, a lot of white people were like, ‘Well, all lives matter,’ and I’m like – you’re not getting it. Black Lives Matter isn’t a statement of power; it’s a statement of despair.”

Given his hip hop background, it may seem an odd contrast for Ice-T to be involved with a band known for heavy riffs. Though it’s something he has always had an appreciation for, and one needs to look no further than his debut album. Listen closer, and the opening track includes the hook of Black Sabbath’s heavy-hitting War Pigs. “I was trying to mash things up,” says Ice-T of its inclusion. “I’ve always been a rock fan. When I was growing up my cousin started me on Jimi Hendrix. I knew a lot about rock’n’roll, all the different rock groups. Blue Oyster Cult to Def Leppard.”

However it was a tour to Europe that first formed the idea for doing it himself, after seeing the crowd moshing at a hip hop show. “I had a friend who played guitar, and I was just like, ‘Let’s make a band.’ And we’ll make it fast and aggressive, sort of like Suicidal (Tendencies). Little bit like Black Sabbath, little bit like Slayer. That was the birth of Body Count. A fast, aggressive band, singing about gang shit, you know, street shit.”