Rapper/actor Ice-T sat down with TIME Magazine recently to discuss various matters including the debut of his documentary Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap. The film examines the history of hip-hop and rap music, and features interviews with wrists such as Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Eminem, and many others.
Ice-T told TIME that he hopes anyone who has ever had any interest in hip-hop will go see the film.
Ice, who stars as Detective Fin Tutuola on Law And Order: Special Victims Unit, and as himself on the reality show Ice Loves Coco, is celebrating a couple big anniversaries this year. First, it has been 25 years since his album Rhyme Pays became the first hip-hop record to bear an "explicit content" sticker, and second, it has been 20 years since his controversial song Cop Killer put him in the headlines.
During his interview with TIME, he was also asked about the Nicki Minaj/Hot 97 Summer Jam controversy. Hot 97 argued that Minaj's single Starships is too "pop." Hours before the show on June 3, Hot 97 personality Peter Rosenberg argued that Starships was "bullis**t." In response, Lil Wayne decided to yank Nicki as the concert's headliner.
TIME asked Ice-T if he thought rap and pop needed to stay separate from one another. "Rap will always be critical of itself. That's just part of it. The Nicki Minaj situation, I think that was not a good call," he said.
"If they don't want to respect her, I don't think they should have invited her. In the movie, Mos Def quotes Q-Tip 'Rap is not pop. If you call it that then stop.' The true origin of rap is counter-culture. The true origin of rap is say something that they're not saying on the radio. So when you kind of blend into what popular culture is doing, you're losing the power of hip-hop," Ice-T explained.
"We've got to keep rocking the boat. We've got a black President, we've got the election year. We've got Occupy Wall Street. If you're just going to rap about 'I got money and we balling,' and all that, you're not doing with it what it was meant to do. It's meant to rock a party, but it was meant to change the world."
- By Layne Weiss