Soundtrack Of My Life: Ice-T

Rapper. Actor. Legend

The first song I fell in love with

James Brown – ‘The Payback’

“I was in junior high, so I was maybe 13. I heard it on the radio – it was just James Brown, it was the coolest thing ever. That’s when cats were just starting to dance – it was important. It was one of my favourite songs.”

The first concert I went to

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Parliament, Funkadelic, Bootsy Collins – LA Coliseum

“They landed a mothership on-stage. They had a big prop spaceship. They had a little one a way off on the right side and they hit it with a spotlight and let it ride over to the stage – when it got to the stage they dropped this big-ass ship on stage. I went with my boy Sean E Sean.”

The song that changed my life

Public Enemy – ‘Rebel Without A Pause’

“Hip-hop became something different to me when I heard that. The way Chuck D approached the music was so aggressive. Also, the first song on the first Black Sabbath album [‘Black Sabbath’]. I played it 10,000 times – that song was my bridge into metal.”

The song I wish I’d written

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The Delfonics – ‘Hey Love’

“I wish I could sing like the Delfonics, but I can’t. They were part of the old 1970s Black R&B groups, like the Dramatics, The Chi-Lites and The Whispers. Quentin Tarantino uses them a lot in his movies. They’re just three brothers who could harmonise and sing. It’s cool player music, love music.”

The first album I bought

Parliament – ‘The Clones Of Dr Funkenstein’

“It had a song on it that everyone was banging and I was like: ‘I want to hear the whole damn thing.’ So I bought it. When you spin vinyl it’s a commitment – you put it on and it plays over and over again. You don’t jump songs – you ride it out. That’s how albums used to be. You burn out one side. Then you flip it over and play the other side. You don’t just play one song on a vinyl record – it’s too much work.”

The artist I can’t get out of my head

Drake

Drake and The Weeknd are on the radio every second. When I’ve heard Drake’s record five times I try to go to the next station and then it’s The Weeknd, then I go to another station and it’s Drake. All their music is trapped in my head! I don’t have a problem with any of them, but radio mashes that shit through your brain.”

The first song I remember hearing

‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’

“Oh holy shit, hang on a second… I think it was probably ‘Itsy bitsy spider / Went up the water spout’. Other than that it was probably Christmas carols, something like ‘Silent Night’.”

The song that makes me want to dance

Eric B. & Rakim – ’Eric B. Is President’

“Any Eric B. & Rakim song; ‘Eric B. Is President’ or ‘I Know You Got Soul’ – any of those records plays and I’m grabbing [my wife] Coco’s hand. ‘Ante Up’ by MOP gets me standing up in the crowd. I’m a dancer, so I can do everything.

This interview originally appeared in a March 2017 issue of NME

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