Ice-T is the godfather of gangsta rap, and his 1987 album Rhyme Pays is a specimen of high-quality early West Coast hip-hop. His track ‘6 N The Mornin’ is considered one of the first of its kind, and even Dr Dre has thanked him for creating a lane for Californians in rap.
Although Ice-T is a legend who has seen the culture grow and evolve, akin to so many iconic artists, he isn’t happy with the current state of hip-hop. The Los Angeles lyricist (real name Tracy Marrow) hasn’t released a solo album since his 2006 project Gangsta Rap. Still, he has unveiled it’s unlikely he will be releasing music as the culture has no space for OGs like him anymore.
Speaking to Variety, Marrow explained why he chose not to release an album in the 2010s, exclaiming, “Hip-hop changed! The music got goofy to me. The kids started looking weird. It all turned into something I wasn’t comfortable with. There was a point where I was selling tons of records, then it cooled off.”
He continued, “I felt a certain way. Then I realized Public Enemy, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, and Wu-Tang Clan weren’t selling records, either. There was a paradigm shift. These kids got softer, and soft is not something I’m able to give audiences. The first word in hip-hop is ‘hip’, so how something stays hip for over ten years is difficult.”
Ice-T, who finally received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame earlier this year, has continued to make music with his rock band, Body Count. However, since 2006, he has focused on acting, specifically, as Detective Odafin Tutuola on the TV series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Concerning television, in 2012, Ice-T also gave fans Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap, a Netflix series that saw him travel from coast to coast interviewing rappers, including the likes of Eminem, Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg and Kanye West.
Although the state of the culture may not be perfect, Marrow is still proud that what was a small underground scene has become one of the world’s most influential genres of music. You can listen to Ice-T’s hit ‘I’m Your Pusher’ in the video below.