In this intriguing memoir, groundbreaking rapper and actor Ice-T chronicles his rise from nomadic criminal to hip-hop star. After losing both parents by the age of 12, Tracy Marrow was shipped to relatives in Los Angeles where he navigated the growing gang culture of the city and became a father at 18. A four-year tour in the army was followed by a lucrative interlude robbing jewelry and clothing stores. As his fellow thieves began to file off to prison, Ice-T turned to the nascent rap scene and scored immediate success. Continuing to reinvent himself, Ice-T went on to front a rock band and also was one of the first rap figures to work in film and television. There’s little focus on the music itself, but rather on his careers and his observations on the various subcultures he passes through. What lifts the book above the general run of entertainer memoirs is the quality of these observations—Ice-T is a canny businessman, and he charts clearly the decisions that brought him up each step of a very treacherous ladder. (Mar.)
“In his spare, plainspoken autobiography, Ice-T speaks freely and unapologetically. . . . Ice is a good name for this memoir—its writer is a cool cat.”—Los Angeles Times
“Ice-T, in short, is someone hip-hop might have invented if he hadn’t invented himself. . . . Ice showcases an eminently reasonable, positively likeable guy, the gangsta rapper even a parent could love.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A fascinating memoir, the pages of which are jam-packed with tales of a guy who ‘actively did everything I rhymed about.’ ”—Associated Press
“A boldly opinionated, bracingly street-tough memoir.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[An] inspiring story.”—Booklist
Ice-T (born Tracy Marrow) has had a successful career in many fields, including rap, heavy metal, film, and television. Writing with Century (coauthor, Brotherhood of Warriors: Behind Enemy Lines with a Commando in One of the World's Most Elite Counterterrorism Units), he relates his childhood growing up in New Jersey until the age of 12, when his parents died, and his time in Los Angeles, influenced by gangs, before joining the army. Taking his name and writing style from author Iceberg Slim, he became one of the pioneering West Coast rap artists. He then challenged himself to take his music in a new direction, hard rock, and was dropped by his label and scrutinized by the government for Body Count's controversial song "Cop Killer." He went on to a successful movie and television career, including his well-known role on the long-running Law & Order: SVU. VERDICT Ice-T recounts his life and career and shares advice in a straight-talking street style. An enlightening read for fans of his various artistic endeavors and for anyone interested in how street smarts are transferable to the entertainment industry. [Library marketing; see Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/10.]—Lani Smith, Ohlone Coll. Lib., Newark, CA
Once-controversial rapper turned actor's no-nonsense overview of his life.
Although Ice-T (The Ice Opinion, 1994), born Tracy Marrow, spent his early childhood in quaint Summit, N.J., by his early teens both his parents were dead, and he was living with his aunt in the gangbanger-ruled streets of South Central Los Angeles. Attending infamous Crenshaw High School, he flirted with gang affiliation and criminal activities. While still a teen, he had his own house and lived off social security and the occasional illicit street hustle. Then he joined the Army and trained as a paratrooper. It's in his post-Army years that the author's autobiographical confessions start to really heat up. He orchestrated a series of department-store heists around L.A. and beyond, and his adrenaline-rush descriptions of these robberies show what competent criminals could achieve before the advent of sophisticated detection devices. Yet after a few close shaves with the law, he gave up crime to rap about it. Ice asserted himself as the first rapper to talk about street crime using explicit language. By the late '80s, he was signed to Sire Records and selling hundred of thousands of albums despite little radio airplay. Not long after he established himself in the rap game, he landed substantial acting roles in feature films likeColorsandNew Jack City. The latter half of the book covers, among other topics, the controversy surrounding the inflammatory Body Count song, "Cop Killer," his love life, and his thoughts on being an actor (he now stars in Law & Order: SVU). The author is surprisingly self-conscious about criticism directed at him, complaining a lot about "haters," even though he can be a pretty harsh critic himself. Mostly he uses this book as a sounding board for his no-holds-barred opinions of contemporary hip hop (it's weak) and culture in general, the cutthroat Hollywood system (where the real gangsters are), money and fame (overrated) and his role as a parent and husband (he's tough but fair).
A boldly opinionated, bracingly street-tough memoir.