Ice T is back with a goddamned vengeance.

Gangsta Rap is the real thing. It’s just that simple. Ice is the man that literally created “gangsta rap” with his 1986 release “6 in the Mornin’.” So when he calls his album Gangsta Rap—he’s really the only one qualified to do so without fronting some kind of lie. Ice isn’t here to smile, reassure you that black people aren’t dangerous and angry, and that with a little R&B we can all be friends—just the opposite. Ice is here to tell it true, whether you like it or not, and he points out very deliberately—he is not a role model. Ice is more like a walking, talking, warning label.

In his own words from his title song “Gangsta Rap”: “It’s about guns and drugs and hoes and clubs.”

Don’t like it?

Ice says: “Eliminate the poverty, disease, and we’ll start rappin about birds and trees.”

As a kid I grew up on the northeast side of Los Angeles in a primarily Latino environment, except back then we called it a “Chicano” environment. Gangs walked the streets openly. Lowriders floated down the boulevards at night pumping out beats by Earth, Wind, & Fire, Sly & the Family Stone, Santana, Eric Burdon & War, anything with heart. From this Los Angeles ghetto life I also embraced the California sounds of bands like Dick Dale and his Del-Tones and the Beach Boys, but by high school punk rock took me to the parties I liked. Loud, crazy, fun, and yes, the music still had heart.

Ice T for me embraces all the above. He is soulful, mostly because he is truthful, so his lyrics speak to the soul, but he backs his game with good beats, too. Ice might have been born in New Jersey but it was living in Los Angeles that gave Ice his street chops, and no song from the 80s spoke more clearly about my type of neighborhood than the song “Colors.” I appreciated that, like hearing home explode across the movie screen. And punk rock? All of that. Ice is in your face, and if you’ve ever heard Body Count—you know Ice can rock as hard as he raps.

Back to this latest LP. Gangsta Rap is 16 tracks of the good stuff. Hell, just go get it. Any track off of Gangsta is automatically going to be better than the crap you’re listening to on the mind control radio. Ice gives me hope. He really does. If Ice T can play a cop on TV, after writing, performing, and recording the great iconoclastic tune "Cop Killer," then anything in life is possible. The global elitist in this world may think they own everything, but they don’t. They don’t own your spirit until you give it to them freely. You wanna piece of truth, justice, and the American way? You ain’t gonna get it from the White House, so you might as well get it from the street.

“This ain’t r&b, this is gangsta rap. Bitches get slapped, buses get jacked. Front if you want, you’ll get laid on your back. It’s about guns and drugs and hoes and clubs.”

Mystery Island Publications rates this album: A+.

Bradley Mason Hamlin, September 13, 2007.

ICE T interview about "Cop Killer" in Australia. Enjoy.

"Gangsta Rap Review" by Bradley Mason Hamlin. Copyright © 2007 by Mystery Island Publications.
Published: 09.13.07 by Mystery Island. All rights reserved.