Last updated: 03/27/2012 11:00:00 AM
BORN: February 14, 1959
Ice T not only invented gangster rap, he has lived it. His is the face of LA Hip-Hop. Through his music, his book (The Ice Opinion; St. Martin's Press), and his lecture tours of America's prisons, high schools, and colleges (including Harvard, Berkeley, and Stanford), Ice T has become an influential spokesman for America's youth, regardless of color. Born in New Jersey, Ice learned the art of survival pretty fast. An only child whose parents died when he was very young, Ice became involved in Los Angeles gangs before spending 4 years in the army. His first break came when the producers of the film Breakin' asked him to rap in the movie. He went on to become rap music's original gangster, writing songs like "Six in the MorninÕ" and "New Jack Hustler".
Ice T formed Rhyme Syndicate Records in 1989 and released a string of groundbreaking West Coast rap records. He subsequently formed the thrash metal band Body Count with close high school friend and guitarist Ernie C. Body Count's 1991 self-titled debut contained the controversial single "Cop Killer." Body Count was the most critically acclaimed act on the highly successful 1991 Lollapalooza tour, and continued to tour worldwide during 1992. Ice T has received a Grammy Award and was also voted Best Male Rapper in Rolling Stone's 1992 Reader's Poll.
Ice T is also an accomplished movie actor. He has starred opposite Wesley Snipes in New Jack City, Denzel Washington in Ricochet, and was featured in cult director Walter Hill's Trespass. Ice also appeared in Tank Girl and starred opposite Keanu Reeves in the sci-fi action thriller Johnny Mnemonic. He has numerous independent and documentary film rolls to his credit as well.
Ice is a worldwide celebrity, particularly in the UK, where not only his music is successful, but where he has had a multi-season series on Channel 4 as the presenter of Ice T's Baadasss TV. The show is Ice T's personal guide to Blaxploitation movies and to black culture in general.
In the Fall of 1997, Ice starred in a one hour weekly drama series on NBC entitled, Players, which was based on his own concept. The show was developed with and produced by Dick Wolf ( Law & Order, NY Undercover ). Ice T has published one book, The Ice Opinion, (St. Martin's Press, 1994); it has been translated into Japanese, German, French, and Italian. Ice T has also recently written the introduction to re-issues of the classic novels "Pimp" and "Trick Baby" by Iceberg Slim, from whom Ice T took his name.