O.G. - Ol' (Sarah Michelle) Gellar
*special introductory paragraph!
*Rhyme Pays
*The Iceberg/Freedom Of Speech...Just Watch What You Say
*O.G. Original Gangster
*Home Invasion
*VI: Return Of The Real
*Below Utopia: The Lost Score
*7th Deadly Sin
*Gangsta Rap

Ice-T (real name: Tracey Morrow or somesuch) is credited by many as being the founding father of gangsta rap, a form of hip-hop that takes a violent, gritty look at urban ghetto life. He apparently used to be a pimp and/or drug dealer and/or thief, and was guided to the straight and narrow by the words of his mentor, writer Iceberg Slim. He's been making records for a decade and a half now, with unexpected forays into such zany non-urban genres as heavy metal (through his band Body Count, whose records you can find reviewed elsewhere on the site), spoken word (the interesting 3-disc audiobook The Ice Opinion, which should be reviewed here but I stupidly sold my copy for like $6) and orchestral scores (a movie soundtrack reviewed right here!!!!!!!!!!), so don't be counting on him to quit any time soon. You can rip out his tongue, burn his voicebox to a crisp, hack off his hands and feet and weld his mouth shut - but you'll never stop Charles Schulz from drawing Peanuts.

Rhyme Pays - Sire 1987.
Rating = 7

Old school! Full of those old tinny eighties beats, light samples, little thubby fake bass and lots o' boastful lyrics about sex, money and being the king of all rap MCs. If you're a big fan of early Run-DMC and the first Beastie Boys album and the Fat Boys and stuff like that, you'll totally dig the funkywacass dope phat def muthafucka douche charles manson beats, but to most other casual rap listeners, it may sound somewhat dated and empty. Though Ice is great rhythmically, he has a pretty normal, highish-pitched rap voice and relies on the same sorts of sing-songy vocal patterns in most of the tunes (think "Parents Just Don't Understand"). Likewise, the DJ Evil E keeps the backgrounds relatively minimal most of the time, with just some pattern "SCREECH!" noises like in Yes' classic rap anthem "Owner Of A Lonely Heart." However, when the Ice Guy addresses real-life issues based on his experiences with violence and betrayal as a member of an L.A. street gang ("6 `N The Morning," "Pain" and "Squeeze The Trigger"), the stories are as gripping as a policeman's gloved hand twisting the life out of your body. The pinnacle is the final track, "Squeeze The Trigger," which features a surprisingly aggressive, pissed off vocal delivery backed with a foreboding fuzzy keyboard and gunshot-style beats driving the heart of ghetto madness into the minds of Tipper Gore everywhere.

That's my opinion on the first LP by Mr. Ice-T. And before you send me angry emails accusing me of not having any clue what I'm talking about and having sex with your 11-year-old daughter, I hope that you will take into consideration that I grew up on the mean streets of Norcross, GA and moved as high as I could in the "gangsta" ranks there before moving up to NYC - MANHATTAN IS IN THE HOUSE! - and forming my own gang, "The A-OK Gang," which currently runs the numbers racket, the drugs racket and the tennis racket. Thus, you'd best watch your ass, homepage.

Reader Comments (tha gangsta)
hey yo whats up i am giving a shout of for my bro he is a rapper out of regina saskatchewan , he cant go any where cause our province sucks for record companys, but the ice t rhyme pays is awsome , from the intro/rhyme pays, which goes from a talking intro talking about him and how good he is suspossed to be, then it hits into a disco rap song called rhyme pays, then 6 n the morning is suspossed to be the orginal gangsta rap song, ex from the song "looked in the mirror what did i see fucking blue lights lapd, pigs searched my car their day was made found a uzi, 44, and a hand gernade" but the best song on this album has to be squeeze the trigger, cause it is emotional about sterotypical info like how cops hate the kids adn the kids hate the cops, but it is a very good and well written song this is one of my favourite cds still now a days and it is 2001 and this cd was made in 88, u cant forget the song, pimpin aint easy but somebody gotta do it, "my lifestyles crazy im lucruis lazy too much gold my jewerly dont faze me........too much clothes got a rag top rolls, 1000 watt system and and my speakers are bose i kick it like a champ i thought u knew it pimpin aint easy but somebody gotta do it" (Roland Fratzl)
Am I the only one who's sick to death of this clown's frowning gangsta posing?? Somebody do us a favour and go poke this joke in the ribs.
in 1988, GANGSTA RAP WAS EVERYWHERE! still it was a bit for gangsta rap to come out until '92. ice was pretty cool i may say so but deadly! all you pussy white people with your john mayer crap! fuck off!

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Power - Sire 1988.
Rating = 6

How the hell did only ONE YEAR pass between the last album and this one??? Ice looks and sounds ten years older! He raps in a much lower, steady voice, the beats and samples are more modern-sounding - the only thing that hasn't progressed is his lyricism, which is still stuck in the same old "I rule" vein. In fact, most of the songs seem to be about how radio stations and parents don't like his music because it talks about the realities of the gangster life - but only THREE of the 11 songs on here talk about the realities of the gangster life!!!!! (including his tribute to Iceberg Slim, the jive street narrative "Soul On Ice"). It's all just boasts about rapping really well. Not interesting to me at all. Especially since his new vocal approach makes him sound WAY too educated to be a "gangsta rapper." Hard to explain - maybe he just enunciates everything too well?

Sad fact (opinion): one of the most interesting songs on here is called "Girls, Let's Get Butt Naked And Fuck." Actually, the title as written is "Girls L.G.B.N.A.F.," but much to my chagrin, it doesn't stand for "Girls Like Gay Benchwarmers, Nerps And Farting." I still stand by my initial assessment that that would have made for a much more interesting tale.

Reader Comments (Jennifer Campbell)
I don't see how you only gave this a 6. Power is the best album that Ice-T, maybe rap has ever made, even better than O.G. and Iceberg. You said his lyricism hasn't advanced since Rhyme Pays?? did you even listen to the lyrics. Pretty much every song, whether they "talk about the realities of the gangster life" has a deeper meaning, except for maybe a couple. Rhyme Pays was just a party album with a few hardcore tracks, this one is much more mature. Maybe if you listened to it a few more times you might agree that this deserves a definite 10 outta 10!

P.S. The only possible track in the "I rule vein" is Personal, maybe also the Syndicate, so I don't know what you're talking about.

say that sarah michelle gellar remark is so tasty! girls like farting! ew! nasty! look at the cover! a tasty slut with a thong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I liked buffy the vampire slayer! sexy woman! fuck reality shit! xander is cool! spike is cute! cordelia sucks! willow ooooohhhh she is so cute! anyway this and friends are the best! now who say ja rule is a cocksucker say I!

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The Iceberg/Freedom Of Speech...Just Watch What You Say - Sire 1989.
Rating = 8

HOLY CRIPES! This is his best one yet! The mixes are even denser than on the last record, with lots of rock samples, cool bass lines and noise. And Ice has become a HELL of a high-speed rapper! On the slower ones, he still seems a little awkward, but boy can he tear it up during the uptempo ones. And two of the songs feature Jello Biafra of Dead Kennedys fame! Do you like apples? I got her number! How do you like them apples?

That was my Matt Damon impression. Did I look at least a little bit like him?

But as for Ice-T - he made a good move not including a lyrics sheet this time `round, as it takes a lot more concentration to tell whether the rhymes are generic or not. But listen close and you'll hear some hilarious sex tales, some anti-censorship stuff and a few more scary atmospheric street crime tunes.

Listen even closer and you'll hear my puppy playing with his new flashy noise ball! It weighs about 40 pounds and he throws it across the room over and over again at 4 in the morning!

Reader Comments (Raffaele Cinquegrana)
Yo man, I wanna give my 2 cents to your reviewof this album. I't great, I like when he pulls out slow rhymes like YOU'VE PLAYED YOURSELF, it is awesome! Great album indeed, it' one of my favourite! But don't like the fact that from this album the lyrics disappeared: I'm Italian and it's difficult to hear all words of his rap!

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O.G. Original Gangster - Sire 1991.
Rating = 8

Homie Toledo, this is a scorcher! What the Icester does on this one is stick in lots of short, fast raps, skits and mood pieces between all the normal-length raps, and it helps the CD move along at a speedy, never boring pace that belies the fact that the disc is longer than your whole entire lifetime. There also seem to be more violent reality-based tales this time round, though certainly he does his fair share of bragging about what a clever rap writer he is. The background is similar to on the last album - very rich with sound and textured with noise, with hard beats smackin' your ass in the cock every step of the way.

But am I a crazy schizophrenic man here, or does Ice seem to be stealing stylistically from The Public Enemies? The wailing si-renes, the cut-up ascending noises - hells to you, there's even Public Enemy SAMPLES strewn throughout! Maybe he was just being supportive, what with the whole "Professor Griff stating his disdain for Jewish people" controversy still brewing up the airwaves. One thing I gotta give Professor Griff: He may be an anti-semitic asshole, but you gotta admit that he was right about Jewish people running all of the top newspapers and all three major networks, making up the entire holocaust and secretly plotting the genocide of the African-American race.

There are lots of amazing tunes on this album, driven by funky guitar and horn samples, catchy as hell bass lines, speedy beats and even speedier rapping (check out the accappella "Prepared To Die" - YIKES! If I'd never heard D.R.I.'s "No Sense," I'd be amazed at how quickly the T is able to force words out of his mouthpiece!). And he stays completely away from songs about fucking (with his Big Black dick), going so far as to make fun of them in a short piece wherein his DJ begs him to do a sex rap and he responds by saying something like, "Well shit man, I was at this club, right? And there was this FINE ho, right? With big ol' titties and an ass............ aw man! Right? And you know what?...... I FUCKED HER." HA!!!!!! Ice-T with an American sense of ironingness!!!!

But Ice-T isn't all about the humor, get that smile off your face right now. He also addresses child abuse, begs blacks to get the hell out of the ghetto before they die there, encourages people to use their minds instead of guns and, in one of the eeriest tunes he's ever done, sets a tale of prison life to a backdrop of the Halloween movie theme and samples from actual cons talking about life in the Big House. The chorus of the song: "And I ask myself again, who has the power - the whites? The blacks? Or just the gun tower!!!!" BEEYOTCH!

Of course he also does stupid crap like recording a really bland, fakey sequel to "Six In The Morning" set to the tune of "Black Sabbath" - a tune he already USED in the title track of the previous album (jeez, at least pick a different Black Sabbath song!) and namechecking all his favorite rappers in one of the least interesting 4 minutes ever laid to vinyl. Plus not all the music is as good as the rapping. But I guess that's to be expected when you put 24 tracks on a CD. I give it an 8 and so does my friend Johnny Carson!

Oh hell, did I say "Johnny Carson?" I of course meant "One Of The Little Men That Lives In My Ball Hair."

Reader Comments (Cormac Flood)
Yes. (Mike Harras)
You overlooked the gem at the end of "one of the least interesting 4 minutes ever laid to vinyl" which makes the whole track so worthwhile, where out of the Blue Ice goes "I special shout out to the one and only MC Hammer. A lotta people be dissin you man, they just jealous...FUCK EM!" Comedy genius on a par with Phil Anselmo on the live pantera album when he says "The last song of the night is called 'I'm Broken' I'M HAVIN A GOOD TIME!" Ah how we laughed.

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Home Invasion - Rhyme Syndicate 1993.
Rating = 8

The controversy surrounding Ice-T at this point in his young life was extreme, to the max. If you're hep to my `90s lingo, bitchass. His Body Count band got in big ol' ass trouble, booyaa, for recording a song called "Cop Killer," which was supposedly about killing cops but if you read the lyrics closely, it's obvious that it's an ANTI-not-killing-cops song. Then he lost his major record label contract partly because they found the cover of this album so offensive (it's a cartoon showing a white youth listening to rap music on his Walkman as thugs bust in, rape his mother and kill his father. I think it may have been pulled from a Hi And Lois strip). So was he angry?

FUCKIN RIGHT HE WAS ANGRY!!!!! The result was a lyrically angry little record entitled Home Invasion. The music is less high-speed rocky and more midtempo 60s r'n'b-y (not that awful smooth soul r'n'b that you're used to - I mean it all kinda sounds like James Brown, Booker T & The MGs, that kind of thing) and Ice alternates between an almost screaming pissed off yell and a forboding low speak-rap that makes him sound honestly threatening which, quite frankly, is a little unexpected. Ice has a very recognizable, intelligent-sounding, FRIENDLY-sounding voice, so the fact that he is able to overcome it to blast off about growing up in the inner city (the amazing autobiography "That's How I'm Livin'), dealing with white racism (the astonishing "Race War") and the censorship-crazy cops that keep coming after him (the really, really good "Message To The Soldier," among others) is quite impressive indeed, dear sir. Would you like more tea and crumpets?

What the hell are crumpets anyway? Just like balled up pieces of paper dipped in glue? Because that's what it sounds like.

Not all of the songs hit the mark (prindle), some of them being your basic bragging and sex shit backed by hardly (davidson) interesting beats, but the Icer wows on so many tracks that it's easy to forget stuff like "Hit The Fan" and "Depths Of Hell." That latter track incidentally is one of THREE SONGS IN A ROW that feature guest rappers. Was Ice in the bathroom taking a big ol' black urban poop?

It's difficult to surmise why so many of my music reviews end with me suggesting that somebody has left the studio to take a poop. According to USA Today, I'm an asshole.

Oh hell, did I say USA Today? I of course meant USA Today.

Reader Comments (Raffaele Cinquegrana)
This is the 1st ICE T's Album I've ever heard, and after that I was completely mad about it! It's my personal favourite album, with lot of angry lyrics and I'm sad Ice have never reached the high quality of Home Invasion since this... Anyway, beginning fro IT'S ON to Message to the Soldier, this is pure reality, don't need to say more. I'm deep with him, and I like the low tone voice he has in the most part of the album! Great album, it's the best album I have in my collection (and I have lot!). WORD!

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VI: Return Of The Real - Virgin 1996.
Rating = 6

For some reason (probably not a GOOD reason), the Ice Guy tries to do smooth modern r'n'b style rap music on a lot of this one, even scraping so low as to do a couple of sleazy, ATROCIOUS romantic love/sex songs. Maybe trying to regain some of the black audience that he lost while he was getting all those white guys to like him? Luckily for us white guys, there are also a trundleload of hilariously bloody gangsta tales with titles like "Bouncin' Down The Strezeet" and "Where The Shit Goes Down." As always, some of the backup music stuff is really awesome, danceable and hummable, but with this new attempt to appeal to modern urban folk with lousy musical taste, it's not as consistent as before. Several of the songs ("Inside Of A Gangsta," "How Does It Feel" and "Pimp Anthem," for example) are in fact so unbelievably horrid and misguided that you can actually see your stereo cringing as it pumps the garbage out at you.

Reader Comments (Ant Durnford)
I see what you mean with songs like "How Does It Feel" on the album. But I must say that overall I think it's good. Ice really says whats on his mind in this one, and songs like "I must sand" show how great he is as an artist and not just a straight thug like we see rappers nowadays. "Pimp Anthem" was just a very cool track. Then there were more hardcore songs about drug syndicates and pimpin' like "Syndicate 4 Ever" and "The 5th"(In my opinion the best song on the album) and the skits worked well. "Rap Games Hijacked" was weak and too jazzy for me, and the last track, "Dear Homie", was very slow and incredibly boring. all the other songs worked for me. so theres my thoughts on return of ythe real. obviously not as hot as 7th deadly sin or home invasion (the other two I own). But I'm gonna buy O.G Original Gangster soon and I think I'll Enjoy it more.

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Below Utopia: The Lost Score - Noo Trybe 1998.
Rating = 3

Ice's attempt to create "music" - a score for a motion picture that nobody, including Ice-T probably, has ever heard of. As I understand it, his score was rejected, which is unfortunate for us because nearly all of it is just incidental background piano plinking and synth drones. It might work as backup for a suspense-filled action dramedy in which Jennifer Lopez gives an on-screen hummer for 45 minutes, but on its own, it just sounds like King Crimson.

Which reminds me - and be honest here - why are there so many fellatio scenes in adult films? Am I the only heterosexual man alive who doesn't derive any pleasure from staring at some guy's penis for 10 minutes?

Reader Comments (Eric D.)
I'm a heterosexual man and I don't at all like looking at a girl sucking some guy off. Dont worry Mark, you are not alone. I am surprised that Ice-T did a film score though.
The reason there's so much fellatio in porn is obvious -- other sex acts, particularly anything involving coitus, is always gonna be partially obscured from the viewer. You can see most of what's going on with a filmed blow-job. It all goes to show the limitations of "adult cinema." There's only so much that can actually be conveyed to a viewer. I think that's one reason for the increased violence, real and feigned, in porn in recent years. (a really sinister trend) You can show bondage, slapping and choking better than an orgasm on film.

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7th Deadly Sin - Atomic Pop 2000.
Rating = 5

Hair waste! Is this even an Ice-T album? Every goddamned song has like five billion special guests rapping on it, when all I wanna do is hear the T!

And another thing! The lyrics are really bad - he's degenerated to the level of just making up predictable Miami Vice street gang scenarios. No realism, just stupid violence.

And another thing! He's also changed his rap style (during the two or three times on the CD when he actually bothers showing up), trying to sound more urban, ghetto and DUMB to fit in with all the other dumb rappers that have earned the ear of America's youth.

And another thing! The music is mostly awful "Gangsta's Paradise" type shit with lots of stupid gunshot noises tossed in to give you a headache.

And another thing! Not once on the entire CD does Ice address the topic of the online insurance marketplace. In the killing fields of today's ghetto prisons, Ice should have addressed the movement into offering services and access to the individual agent. That's a major trend what with the muthafuckin bottom falling out of the direct-to-insured market. The agent and broker channel is now pimpin' and col' recognized as an integral part of the whole distribution process. But what insurance hustlas today have to realize is that offline support and advice must be considered an imperative supplement to online technology and sales. A lot of these firms that first thought they could do everything online are now realizing that a real-world presence is undeniably a necessity, ho.

I realize that I'm being really hard on the Ice considering that the CD itself is, in my opinion, still above average and perfectly enjoyable in several places. It's just that I always thought him above this kind of audience pandering. Since when did he throw the moronic Af-Am phrase "Know w'hum sayin'?" into his vocabulary? He sounds like a fucking idiot. This is definitely the worst hip-hop CD of his career so far, but it still has some great stuff: neat message tracks like "Don't Hate The Playa" and "Valuable Game," as well as the weird anti-pimp song "Always Wanted To Be A Hoe." But jeez louise, Ice. Why are you trying so hard to fit in with today's gangsta rap scene? Be yourself - that's what made you so great to begin with!

Reader Comments (tha gangsta)
i dotn know what some of u people think but i think that this cd the seventh deadly sin is one of his best works beyond home invasion and og original gangster, and even power, half his songs may have guest artists , but welcome to the 2000's it is the era of group rap , like run dmc, outkast, ruff riders, def jam recordings, same as death row recordings, u see if u even listened to it half the songs may have a guest but if u listen to it the frist 20 seconds of the song only have teh guest in it the raps are all ices with a few excepts, my favourite, is check your heart, always wanna be a hoe, and dont hate the playa hate the game feat too short is such a wicked song, the presentation of the lyrics may of been missleading to change the track but the words are more then the title why if u listen to his words he dont talk about drugs, big screen tvs and pimpin he talks about street life like in 6 in the morning , or even check yoru heart

peace i am out dangerous c baby (Benjamin Doleac)
Wow Mr. Dangerous C, you're a smart cookie, eh? Maybe you should learn how to spell. As for being "dangerous," don't kid yourself.
Oh, come ON, you dicks, lighten up. Every time this dude sends a comment he gets a nasty response. Do you think everyone who writes that way must be a poser????

Obviously, you do. God help us all.

(I was going to write "come ON, y'all," as is my habit, living in Houston, but then I would have come off as a gangster poser, and. . . fuck it. You guys are mean.)
I thought it was just my imagination. I thought I was getting too critical in my old age, but no. He does dummy down his sound to fit the puffyotic punk shit of to-day. He's not being himself and he proves this by experimenting with several different rap styles all throughout the album. Also, what's up with the 7,000,000,000 guest appearances. I hate that shit. People can't sell their own records any more. They gotta millions of other fakatracious perpin janks on that bitch to seem real.
Straight up...Ice-T and his gangsta rap did so much for me as a white fan back in the day.Especially after my father died in 1989.His art form kept me alive,graduated high school,and some college.I may never have ran with a gang in my life or lived on the streets,but my life felt empty as such. I marveled at his straight up attitude and started to refuse to give up.Every song meant something to me. I wsh i could chill with Ice-T someday just to say thanks.No fear hear but alot of love

Iceberg(not the rapper..the fan)
Yo I've been rockin ice since i was 8 and that foll can still dog a mic son so don't hate the playa hate the game

seventh is the illest shit he came out with

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Gangsta Rap - Melee 2006
Rating = 6

I've always felt that 48-year-old men make the most relevant and enthralling rappers, so it was a real gas of a treat when Ice-T had somebody take a naked photo of his flabby wrinkled pud screwballing Coco the bleached plastic wife and threw together an album to go with it. Sadly, the disc starts off absolutely excellent with three dark weird Gravediggaz-style backdrops and Mr. T "dropping" confident, pissed-off boasts like "This ain't r'n'b - this is gangsta rap/Bitches get smacked, busses get jacked" and "Eliminate the poverty disease/And we'll start rappin' 'bout birds and trees" and "Your new album's garbage - full of love songs for pussies and ho's" and "The rap game is in the ER, laying on its fuckin' back." And I say 'sadly' because this is the only point on ths 16-song disc where you will experience three good songs in a row. :7(

On the up side, Ice-T sounds a lot tougher than he did on his last record, several of his rhymes are completely bad-ass (mean and hilarious), and nearly half of the riffs are as fuckin' strange as any rap music I've ever heard. Unfortunately, he can't maintain this level of intensity and creativity over the full 67 minutes. As such, you're hardly halfway through the album before you realize he's talking about the same two or three things in every song: he invented gangsta rap, he really lived the pimpin' and violence lifestyle, and today's urban music is just weak r'n'b. And that's it! This thematic drought would be easier to ignore if all of the music were as screwy and off-the-toot as the best songs (the first few, "Pray," "Twice The Game," a couple others), but unfortunately a good 8 or 9 tracks are composed of hardly-there three-note keyboard lines repeated over and over and over again - this dance is gonna be a drag! I said over and over and over again - this dance is gonna be a drag!

Yes, we can learn a lot about the violent hip-hop lifestyle from the Dave Clark Five, but our topic tonight is Ice-T's new CD The Name Of The Place Is I Like It Like That. Yes, it may make you glad all over, but anyway you wan

A few other points:

- "Walking In The Rain" is NOTHING if not "r'n'b" and a "love song for pussies and ho's"

- "My Baby" may be the grossest love song ever penned. (though it is nice to finally put an end to all that speculation about the taste of Coco's pussy lips)

- "Real Talk" is a boast song recited in third person. He's singing about HIMSELF!!! And how GREAT he is!!! And he's pretending to BE A FAN!!! Which begs the question -- what kind of person would consider it a matter of pride that 'he's so sick that he jacks off on money'?

There's also about 40 billion guest rappers again. But at least the overall work is a lot more aggressive than his silky-smooth last couple of albums. I'd love to give it a higher grade, but it's impossible to ignore songs as witless, grotesque and anti-catchy as "Please Believe Me," "The Game's Real" and those three I just called out in bullet-point. So a high 6 it is, along with a wish that his next CD be a solid 40 minutes please.

Say! Did you hear they hanged James Brown? And Gerald Ford died of pneumonia on Christmas? It was so sad!

And Saddam Hussein was our 38th president? It was so sad!

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Don't be a big ol' mean angry white guy. Click here to purchase Ice-T CDs. In fact, click on the album covers once you get there, and MAGICAL cheap used CD prices will appear! Just like magical!

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