Ice T

Tracy "Ice-T" Marrow (born February 16, 1958)[1] is an American rapper, rock musician, author, and actor. He was instrumental in creating gangsta rap and rapcore. His music is both politically aware, like that of Public Enemy, and nihilistic like that of N.W.A.. In recent years, he has played the role of Detective Fin Tutuola on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Marrow currently resides in North Bergen, NJ.



Although one of West Coast rap's leading figures, Tracy Marrow was actually born in Newark, New Jersey. His mother died of a myocardial infarction when he was in the third grade and his father died when he was in sixth grade[2]. After his father died, he went to live with his paternal aunt in South Los Angeles' (more often referred to as South Central) Crenshaw district, he quickly became infatuated with the ways of "ghetto street life" and eventually even joined in with one of the many sets of the infamous street gang, the Crips, as an affiliate of the West Side Rollin 30s Original Harlem Crips.

Marrow attended Crenshaw High School, where he would become obsessed with rap, often reciting rhymes for classmates. After leaving high school, he joined the U.S. Army. He has stated he did not enjoy the experience, explaining, "I didn't like total submission to a leader other than myself."

He was previously in a relationship with Darlene Ortiz who was featured on the covers of his early albums. During that relationship, which broke up in 2002, they had one child together who goes by the name of Tracy Marrow, Jr. In 2004, he married model Nicole 'Coco' Austin.


Stage name

Marrow's stage name Ice-T was originally his street moniker, styled after the famous ex-pimp turned author Iceberg Slim.

All of Ice-T's records on Warner Brothers spell his name Ice-T, while the spelling without the hyphen is more often used on more recent records. His earliest 12" shows the spelling Ice "T", other 12"s use Ice-T ("Reckless") and Ice T ("Ya Don't Quit"). It was said on an August 3, 2006 episode of Late Night With Conan O'Brien that the T stands for Tupperware. This was a joke, referencing Ice-T's earlier admission that he had been to a Tupperware party. Most recently, with his 2006 release of his latest album "Gangsta Rap", he routinely refers to himself as "Iceberg" throughout rather than his historical "Ice T".

Music career

ICE-T During the Bocy Count Tour

After leaving the Army, Ice T began his extremely long career of recording raps for various studios on 12". These tracks were later compiled on "The Classic Collection" and also featured on disc 2 of "Legends of Hip-Hop". His first rap was "The Coldest Rap" in 1982; this was also the first hip hop record to use the words "nigga" and "ho," and could be seen as the beginning of gangsta rap.

He finally landed a deal with a major label, Sire Records, and shortly after releasing his debut album Rhyme Pays in 1987, he did the vocal arrangements for Mr. T's motivational children's video "Be Somebody or Be Somebody's Fool." On Rhyme Pays, he is supported by DJ Aladdin and producer Afrika Islam, who helped create the rolling, spare beats and samples that provided a backdrop for the rapper's charismatic rhymes, which were mainly party-oriented; the record wound up going gold. That same year, he recorded the theme song for Dennis Hopper's Colors, a film about inner-city life in Los Angeles. The song — also called "Colors" — was stronger, both lyrically and musically, with more incisive lyrics, than anything he had previously released. Ice T formed his own record label, Rhyme Syndicate (which was distributed through Sire/Warner) in 1988, and released Power. It was a more assured and impressive record, earning him strong reviews and his second gold record. Released in 1989, The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech…Just Watch What You Say established him as a true hip-hop superstar by matching excellent abrasive music with fierce, intelligent narratives, and political commentaries, especially about hip-hop censorship.

Ice T is believed to be the first rapper to have ever performed the notorious Crip Walk (or C-Walk) up on stage, in front of cameras sometime in the '80s. This added to his already controversial fame and gave rise to the C-Walks mainstream in other videos via WC, Snoop Dogg, Warren G, and other Crip-turned-rapper artists.

In 1991 he released his classic album O.G. (Original Gangster) which is regarded as one of Gangsta Rap's defining albums. It was also on this album in which he introduced us to his heavy metal band Body Count. He has released 3 other rap albums since then. His first rap album since 1999, Gangsta Rap, lands in stores on October 31 2006.

Besides fronting his own band, Ice T has also collaborated with other Hard Rock/Metal bands, such as Slayer, Motörhead, Six Feet Under. He has also covered songs by Hardcore Punk bands, The Exploited and Black Flag.

Political views

"Killers" in 1984 is one of the first explicitly political singles to be released in hiphop; it includes comments on the death penalty, on nuclear war and on gang warfare. In 1986, "Squeeze the Trigger" was a seven-minute long political release by Ice-T, which later appeared on "Rhyme Pays". Ice-T's career saw comments on racism, police brutality, domestic violence, drug abuse, alcoholism, prison conditions, war and censorship. He was one of the very few rappers to condemn homophobia on tracks like "Straight Up Nigga" and "The Tower". He also condemned anti-White bigotry amongst Blacks on "Momma's Gotta Die Tonight", and he condemned the anti-Korean racism of the 1992 riots on "Race War".

He has voiced conspiracy theories regarding the involvement of the CIA in drug trafficking on tracks such as "This One's for Me" and "Message to the Soldier", and in sections of his book.

While usually on the political left, he was criticised for misogyny in his lyrics, and this deterred some liberals from supporting him. The track "I always wanted to be a ho" has sometimes been interpreted as a break with this failure to oppose sexism; it begins by encouraging women to follow their dreams. In The Ice Opinion, he claimed that he was a feminist in so far as he believed in equal pay for women and equal rights generally. He argued against the position that a stripper or a model is demeaning women by an analogy with a man who considers a gay man to be demeaning all men by his actions. If the latter feeling is unjust, then so is the former.

The track "Escape from the Killing Fields" made explicit a difference in views from rappers like Chuck D and Ice Cube in that Ice-T did not see any virtue in staying in the ghetto, but rather encouraged Black people to leave the ghetto. The last track on O.G. Original Gangster is a spoken-word opposition to the Gulf War and to poor conditions in prisons.

After Born Dead in 1994, Ice-T's music has contained much less political commentary than before. He has even abandoned his long-term opposition to drug use and adopted the gangsta rap clichés of hustling drugs.

The Ice Opinion

In 1994, Ice-T wrote a book entitled The Ice Opinion. The purpose of this was to provide clear answers to questions that he was constantly asked in interviews about his political beliefs, his life and the controversy surrounding his music. Having often voiced controversial statements about corruption, he goes into detail about his suspicions of police/CIA involvement in drug trafficking and of how certain businesses profit from prison-building. It lasted 196 pages, and had an extra 3 pages as a "Pimptionary" of pimp slang. There were ten chapters:

  • The Jungle Creed
  • The Killing Fields
  • Crime and Punishment
  • Men, Women and Sex
  • Rap: the art of Shit Talkin'
  • Religion: One Percent Nation
  • Racism
  • Riots and Revolution
  • The Controversy
  • The Future/No Fear

Acting Career

He debuted as a rapper in the films Breakin' and Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo in 1984, only two years after his first 12" ("The Coldest Rap," 1982) appeared. In 1991, he embarked onto a serious acting career, playing a police detective in Mario Van Peebles' feature film New Jack City, gang leader King James in Trespass (1992), followed by a notable lead role performance in Surviving the Game in addition to his many supporting roles, such as J-Bone in (Johnny Mnemonic, 1995) and as one of the mutants in Tank Girl, 1995. Ice-T was also interviewed in the Brent Owens documentary Pimps Up, Ho's Down.

In more current and recent acting engagements, Ice-T plays Detective Odafin "Fin" Tutuola on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. This can perhaps be considered an ironic role, considering the early controversy surrounding his group Body Count with their song Cop Killer. Another TV series that featured Ice-T was Players. Ice-T also appears in the movie Leprechaun in the Hood.

Ice-T also voiced Madd Dogg in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and appears as himself in Def Jam: Fight for NY.

Ice-T has also made an appearance on Chappelle's Show as himself presenting the award for "Player Hater of the Year." He was dubbed the "Original Player Hater."

At WrestleMania 2000, Ice-T performed Charles Wright, also known as The Godfather, and D'Lo Brown to the Ring with his song "Pimpin Ain't Easy."



  • T's Rap School
  • Ice T's Pimping 101 (2003)
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit TV Series …. Detective Odafin "Fin" Tutuola (2000—)
  • 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001) …. Hamilton
  • Leprechaun in the Hood (2000) …. Mack Daddy
  • The Heist (1999) …. C-Note
  • Judgment Day (1999) …. Matthew Reese
  • MTV Sports & Music Festival 2 (1998) …. Host
  • Below Utopia (1997) …. Jim
  • Players (1997) TV Series …. Isaac "Ice" Gregory
  • MadTV (1996) …. Guest Host
  • New York Undercover (1995) TV Series …. Danny Cort (recurring character)
  • Johnny Mnemonic (1995) …. J-Bone
  • Tank Girl (1995) …. T-Saint
  • Surviving the Game (1994) …. Jack Mason
  • Who's the Man? (1993) …. Chauncey "Nighttrain" Jackson
  • Trespass (1992) …. King James
  • Why Colors? (1992)
  • Ricochet (1991) …. Odessa
  • New Jack City (1991) …. Scotty Appleton
  • Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo (1984) …. Rapper
  • Breakin' (1984) …. Hip-hop MC
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under GNU Free Documentation License.