Ice-T reveals the legend who made him “wanna rap better”
(Credit: S. Bollmann)

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Ice-T reveals the legend who made him "wanna rap better"

Ice-T is one of the forefathers of gangsta rap and a pioneer of West Coast hip-hop. His 1987 album Rhyme Pays is a specimen of high-quality early California rap music, and his track ‘6 N The Mornin’ is considered one of the first of its kind.

Although the emcee has transitioned into acting with his role on NBC’s Law & Order, that doesn’t mean the lyricist isn’t making music. He has been very prolific and even released an album in 2020 as part of the heavy metal band Body Count, which he formed in the early 1990s. 

However, he is still in tune with hip-hop and during an appearance on the Drink Champs podcast with Noreaga and DJ EFN, Ice-T (real name Tracy Marrow) reflected on his career and the people who inspired him while he was releasing rap projects during the late 1980s and early 1990s. 

During the conversation, Marrow paid homage to the Paid In Full legend Rakim. Highlighting the impact the New York lyricist had on him, Marrow explained, “Rakim really changed the way we all started rapping.”

He continued, “I didn’t understand the term flow, but when I heard Rakim, KRS had Criminal Minded out. When I was making my first album I had never witnessed a hit [rap] record outside of Run-DMC, and I was in Harlem, and every car was playing ‘Eric B is President’.”

Marrow expressed that Rakim’s 1987 song ‘My Melody’ was playing continuously, unveiling, “Every car was playing, ‘I’ll take 7 MCs put ’em in a line.’ I was like, ‘Who is this motherfucker?’ And early on I thought his name was Eric B. The theory of how Rakim rapped made me wanna rap better, and it was the flow of the rhyme and the confidence.”

Although he cited Rakim as his main influence from the East Coast, he also praised South Bronx icon KRS-One, stating, “Hats off to KRS-One. You don’t wanna go against him live, you’ll get destroyed. KRS is big, like King Sun, and then he’s loud. He commands the stage.”

You can watch Ice-T’s Drink Champs interview in the video below.