One of the old schoolest rappers out there today still on top of his game would have to be Ice T. He was there right at the beginning of west coast hip hop before "gangsta" rap even started. He appeared in the classic documentary 'Breakin' N' Enterin' in 1983 where he used to be in the Radio Crew and rap at the 'RadioTron' where he was performing old classics like 'Body Rock' and F.Y.I. he used to get down on the floor with some nice commando style break moves. Without going into all the bullshit of how he got his break that you can find printed in the paper work of 'The Classic Collection' he got his little part in the more known 'Breakin' and released some 12's like 'The Coldest Rap', 'Cold Wind Madness', 'Reckless' and 'Killers' on various labels like 'Techno Hop' and 'Saturn' in the very early 80's.
In about 85' or 86' Philadelphian, Schoolly D dropped 'P.S.K.', Ice heard it, loved it and recorded '6 In The Mornin' as his west coast version. Hip hop has never been the same since because these tracks made a young Eric Wright decide to use his crack cash to start 'Ruthless' and N.W.A. which is why gangsta rap is what it is today.With Ice dropping gold record after gold record with all his classic early releases with production by Islam, Ice has always stayed ahead of the game by becoming pretty much the first rap artist to become an actor, the first rapper to write a book,as far as I know the first rapper to start a metal group. When it comes down to soundtracks, he has the main theme song from movies like New Jack City, SuperFly, Colors, Ricochet, Dick Tracy, Tresspass and has featured on plenty of others.Up until now Ice T has released 8 solo albums, his Body Count albums and the group album with Smoothe Da Hustla and Trigga Da Gambla 'S.M.G.' and is soon to drop another solo when 'Gangsta Rap' comes out later in the year.
Ice T has also been responsible for countless other artists careers when he started the west coast version of the Zulu Nation with his 'Rhyme Syndicate' posse. People have dissed Ice T in recent years saying he's a sell out because of his acting career and especially for playing a cop in 'Law & Order S.V.U'. Up until recently I always argued the point that he was acting since '84, and the S.V.U. shit was just a role, which is what I still think, however this new 'Rap School' thing he's got going now is gonna be pretty hard for his biggest fan to stick up for. Having said that though I won't be dissing him any time soon because all his music he's dropped until now as well as the few tracks I've heard off his upcoming 'Gangsta Rap' album are underground dope gangsta rhymes. So, until his music changes, which I can't see happening, I'll be buying anything he drops.
Here are a few artists giving some respect to Ice in some homage tracks. The first is by Mitchy Slick from Strong Arm Steady from his 'Mitchy Duz It' dedication album, which features his '6 In The Morning' track, the next one is by Memphis Oscar winners Three 6 Mafia with their '3-6 In The Morning' and lastly a 'Colors' dedication by Lil' C Style, Legacy, Tray-D, RBX and Daz from the '19th St LBC Compilation'. I have also chucked on a couple of Ice T tracks, one from the oldschool days and a dope track from his 96' 'Return Of The Real' album. I'll always give respect to Ice because all his fans know what they're getting from an Ice T track and if you ever see him on a documentary talking, he's not rambling on about shit, just says it the way it is in his mind. This wasn't even close to a biography of Tracy 'Ice T' Marrow, if it was it would be about twenty times longer.
Ice T - Reckless
Lil' C Style, Legacy, Tray-D, RBX ft Daz - Bustaz
Three 6 Mafia - 3-6 In The Morning
Mitchy Slick - 6 In The Morning
Ice T - The Lane
HHC Feb '93