Who says, rhyme doesn't pay? It certainly wouldn't be one Tracey Marrow who almost 30 years ago, switched to the legendary stage name of Ice-T and proceeded to ship millions of records worldwide and court controversy in almost equal amounts. Let's just say he probably didn't love a man or woman in uniform at the time he got into rapping. After a younger life of petty crime and a spell in the US army, the wordsmith's interest in his cousin's rock and metal music and rappers such as Schooly-D and Beastie Boys inspired him to buy cheap DJing equipment and drum-machines and go it alone. The rest, as they say, is history and a very interesting one at that.
His debut album 'Rhyme Pays' remains something of a landmark release - issued in 1987, the album was the first hip-hop release to carry a Parental Advisory sticker. Listening now to tracks like '6 'n the Mornin'', 'Squeeze the Trigger' and 'Somebody's Gotta Do It (Pimpin' Ain't Easy)', it might seem a little tame compared to the likes of Odd Future or early grime, but it formed the benchmark nonetheless. But the antics of Ice-T, the 'Cop Killer' track, the explosive Body Count metal albums, the hit albums during the '80s and '90s and the very long line of successful films, is only part of hip-hop's fabric. Everybody needs a storyteller - cue Ice-T with the mic.
His latest project is an explorative documentary entitled 'Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap', a film which soft-premiered at the 2012 Sundance Festival and is now ready for a major launch in the UK. Drawn from interviews and performances from over 40 of hip-hop's most-revered big names, 'Something From Nothing' follows on from the likes of Beats, Rhymes & Life (A Tribe Called Quest), Scratch and Style Wars and covers the old and the new playas in a genre that has grabbed generations since the '70s.
On 19th July at Hammersmith Apollo, you can attend the European Premiere of 'Something From Nothing', meet the man behind the movie AND catch him, Chuck D, Raekwon and Melle Mel perform a live show straight afterwards. Tickets are £50 for this show which begins at 7pm. On the following day (20th), the film is officially released to selected cinemas, including the BFI Southbank where you can see a screening of the film AND engage in a Q&A with Ice-T (£13.80 - tickets available now). Ice-T will also be appearing at the Apple Store in Regent Street on the Friday.
Check out the teaser trailer (above) for what promises to be another key moment in hip-hop's history.