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An Open Forum Interview From '94
Photo Credit: Rolling Stone Magazine
Interview Audio Version
ICE-T TOWN HALL INTERVIEW - MIDNIGHT SPECIAL BOOKSTORE
(Q: BUt the word bitch is used systemwide now, and it degrades women...)
No, I'm not degrading you. I'm degrading someone being a bitch. You aint figured it out yet. I'm going to call you a bitch in a minute! (Takes another question). Allright, let me get homie in the back right there.
(Q: Do you have a beef with Ice Cube, what do you think will come of that?)
Naw. Where'd you hear that? The Source? You can't believe The Source. The Source is at war with me, man. Naw. Me and... Yeah, Reginald Dennis he's in trouble now, read the new issue. He got Eric B and Hammer on it, eh? But look... And if you read the end of his new article, he sounds like a snitch, doesn't he? He's like, 'I'm getting ready to tell.' See, thing about it is, when stuff happens, me being Ice-T, I'm like in front of it. I seen it coming. And I said, 'this dude, you're not being down with hip hop. man.'
You can't kiss-kick hiphop. You're either down or you're not. They say, in The Source, they say, 'Well, we're not down with certain people.' But that's what they mixed up. The code of the street is, you are down with somebody. If you're down with me, you're down with me. And they're getting twisted. But me and Ice Cube are friends, one of my best friends. And when he was younger, before he got his name, he had decided to name himself Ice-Cube. And that was the coolest shit in the world. That's my mutherfuckin man, no beef. No beef, c'mon. Serious? You're being cute? (Takes next question:) Ok, my man right here.
(Question: Another question about bitch, crowd is somewhat displeased.)
Don't do it! Don't do it. C'mon, cmon. Don't do it. You gonna go out like a b... Don't do it. Please. Jesus christ!
(Q: man discusses trends in society that disrespect women including aid cuts to single mothers etc, but notes that men are also facing these threats so everyone should expect equal treatment).
Oh I know, it's cool. it's cool. Don't worry about it. I'll take the sweat. I mean, it's cool because I understand it. I understand where it is, I understand it. But the thing of it is, I'm a little bigger than that, and words don't really get into me. I went up to Perry Farrell. He's got a song that says nigga, right? (Sings snatch of "1%") "On the street with the spics and the niggas," right? It's my best friend, you know. Yo, fuck it, he just said somethin? it's a word. What's up? New question.
(Q: a lot of people talk about different record labels, what about artistic control today?)
Um, I have total control at Warner Brothers. Reason being, because when I signed with them I demanded it.
The only reason that I had control was because...they didn't understand. And I was so early in rap. I mean, I don't know if all you all know, but when I came out it was only Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, Public Enemy and LLcool J. There was no rappers. Well, it was really... who else? KRS-One had just came out. But there was no one on a major label.
And uh, they got, Warner just got this attitude of, 'well, if it aint broke don't fix it.' Now, the scary thing now about hip hop is they think they know. They think they know how to make rap records. So they'll come in and they'll jump on it like a fad. They're like, 'can't you dance?' Or, 'can we do this to you?' Or, whatever.
And I got a song on my new album which is called the Rap Game Hi-Jack. Can I say a rhyme? Check out the rhyme. I go, uh...
"Everybody talk about how hip hop aint the same,
suckers kidnapped the game,
I know the biggest in the business
and no joke
half of em broke,
and none of them smoke
but the facts: note.
I got into the hip hop game
just to try and get a girl
and get some lightweight fame.
There'd never been no cash made in it.
So who thought you'd get paid with it?
Just crash the club with my crew in,
and then I'm outta there.
Hit some skins, act fucked-
it was a rap career.
Then Run DMC jumped the fuck off,
got mad paid, word kicked the bucks off.
It wasn't any rappers out rockin the street,
hip hop was just cuts and beats,
I think wild child does the scene,
I want to be an MC,
rock rock on, know what I mean?
I started crashing rap contests,
shooting hardcore rhymes
to whack MC's chests.
I signed on the lines of a whack contract,
didn't even read that crap.
They gonna put my record out,
gonna be large, know what I'm talkin about?
In the first two years I made about three hundred bucks.
This business sucks.
But I got another chance and I came correct.
got a lawyer and an accountant and now my shit's legit.
But many won't get no second chance
without a kiss or a dance.
The game is to exploit them ghetto kids,
straight pimp game and there aint no shame.
Shit's popped far,
the hip hop labels all white A & R.
the game's hijacked. "
That's just part of it, it gets worse.
But, uh, yeah, it's gone, man. And it's really hard. And, I mean, I'm just trying to let people know now that the rap business is not set up --and the music business, basically-- is not set up for the artist. It's a pimp game and if it works the record label makes almost eight bucks to your 30 cents, 70 or 80 cents. I mean, it's real hard to get paid and the only reason I ended up with anything is because I done it for a long time and been around for ten years. It's really rough. And I seen too many so called stars end up broke. (Takes next question). Lady right there.
(Q: A Latino lady says don't mind the haters, she thinks Ice is good for speaking out about black problems realistically from the black POV, without caring what white people or the latino community think about it).
You know what? I'd like to really commend the lady on what she's sayin because this is a real serious problem with being black. W just refuse to give props to what we've done. Until it's almost embraced by the white community. And she's like, bam, she blows up. And and then we're like, 'oh, that's our sister!' Or, if you go to a reggae club, it's like all white people. Go to one of them Sunslpashes. And that's a problem we have. I mean, people will tell me 'black movies!' Right?
To me, 'Leathal Weapon' was a black movie. You know? Danny Glover was in it, with the whole family. So we kinda so twisted that we can't give ourselves props. And as far as the Latino community, I'm hopin that a lot of the moves that the black people done in America are mirrored. You can step right in with us and do the same thing because a day is gonna come where everybody is gonna get their fair shake. And it's gonna be a time where you see everything correct. Hopefully, if our kids handle the business. So I'm with that. I'm not with all that negative stuff.
You know, I'm like, there's so much positive. But that's what the media will do, they'll find one little thing negative with somebody. And say, "let's revolve Ice around a word called bitch." And let's make him the enemy.
And it's like, it's not... (frustrated) Why don't we go after Stephen King? Allright? What are the movies he makes about? But he's 'artistic.' He's a 'literary genius.' Doesn't he degrade his community talking about killing and murders? No, it's cool, because it's art.
So what I'm doing aint art? Right? I have no artistic merit? I am off-limits around you because of it. You know, so. I mean there's times I will make just a negative record just to flex my wings. If I want to make a negative record with a bad guy, I will do that. Because I'm an artist. And I have that right.
So I'm not gonna let them pigeonhole me into this thing where if it's not 'police positive' then it's not good. What kinda shit is that? That's another trickbag. You know? So I'm just going to do what I want to do and if I want to do a horror movie, I'm going to do it. Everybody else can do it. See? So I'm not going to get caught in that bag.