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Monday, June 20, 2011

Bio Hazard: Ice Tease

Posted by D.K. Holm on Mon, Jun 20, 2011 at 10:44 AM

ice2.jpg
We domesticate our bad boys. Like moony schoolgirls crushing on the class rebel, we are drawn to rambunctious evil, like Stefano DiMera on Days of Our Lives or Tony Soprano, because we think we can tame them.

Indeed, in his new memoir, Ice-T comments on the "attracted-to-bad-boys" phenomenon: "I'm going to tell it to you straight—I don’t give a fuck. Little white girls are intrigued by little black boys. You ain't never going to shake that."

In Ice: A Memory of Gangster Life and Redemption — From South Central to Hollywood (One World/Ballantine), Ice T—born Tracy Marrow—recounts his life from comfortable New Jersey suburb to comfortable showbiz life via South Central, an army tour, and hiphop. Since the mid-'70s, Ice-T had been making poems called "Crip Rhymes," and he traces hiphop back to Iceberg Slim, pimp culture, Muhammad Ali, James Brown, and the blues. "To me it was street-level journalism, real-life observations told in poetry."

Meanwhile, Ice-T was leading an "international crime spree" of jewelry stores, using planning skills learned in the army—but hiphop soon supplanted robbery, which led to record deals, which in turn led to a part in New Jack City, and then a 10-year run on Law and Order: SVU and a reality TV show, Ice Loves Coco ("He's a doctor!"), with a side foray into rock controversy with 1992's track "Cop Killer," which, like so much at the time did, infuriated Tipper Gore.

Much of Ice-T's crime are long past their drive-by date, making his book a mini-guide to robbery:

• "Rule one of any lick [heist]: You never rob in your own car."

• "The getaway is actually more important than anything that happens during the robbery itself."

• "You never carry any kind of identification so you can always give the cops an alias."

• As a crook, Ice-T had a sense of consumer brand names worthy of John O'Hara: "We only stole top-line jewelry, we drank Dom Pérignon, wore Louis Vuitton long before any cats in the hood had even heard of it. We knew about brands like Gucci and Fendi and stores like Neiman Marcus."

• Though there are few intimate confessions in the book, Ice does offer some insight into sex: "I always felt girls liked to flirt with you in order not to give you the pussy; they just liked to see men get weak. It wasn't sexual attraction; it was a mind-control thing."

• In 1976, Ice-T impregnated his first girlfriend. "I was so inexperienced with sex, I was literally ignorant. I didn't understand birth control. To be honest, this wasn't my thousandth nut—I was still green, and hadn't had a lot of sex. Nobody I knew had condoms; we thought you had to go to a doctor's office to get condoms." Later while in the army, "We found out really quick that you couldn't get any pussy if you were in the military. When you go off post, most of the girls in Hawaii, and especially the tourists, were warned not to fuck with the GIs." Now, Ice concludes, "Monogamy is the bomb. Having one steady relationship—yes, being in love—that’s what turns me on."

• Of his early rapping career, Ice-T admits, "My style was still really raw. But since everybody else was terrible, I was considered all right." He concludes that a "rapper is nothing more than a glorified cheerleader. You’re always reppin’ something."

Never a drug user, and a thief who hated stealing, Ice-T was ripe for domestication, which happened when he met his wife/manager. To paraphrase Mark Twain, "Politicians, ugly buildings, and rappers all get respectable if they last long enough."

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