As a member of the metal band Body Count, rapper/actor Ice T was asked to share his thoughts on the lack of black artists in rock music during an interview with Vlad TV. He revealed that he’s unsure of the exact reason why there are so few black people who play rock n’roll, but did state that black people are “mind-fucked” and have been pigeonholed into following a certain type of music rather than venturing outside of the box.
The television star preceded his comments on the lack of black people in rock by attributing the creation of the rock n’ roll genre to artists like Little Richard and Chuck Berry.
“Black people invented rock n’ roll,” Ice T said. “When you look at Little Richard and Chuck Berry and people like that that’s just where it all came from. And I tell people Hip Hop is rock. We don’t R&B the mic. We rock the mic. We rock the house. Rock is ours. You dig? But why there’s so many few black people playing it? I really don’t understand cause it’s right up our alley. It’s rage. It’s energy. It’s fun. I think a lot of black people are still mind-fucked. You know? They don’t really understand [and] they pigeonhole themselves into certain types of music. And they just don’t venture out of the box.”
Ice T also recalled the backlash he’s still forced to deal with following the release of the Body Count record, “Cop Killer.” The song was initially intended for placement on Body Count’s debut album, but was taken off the LP after the project was recalled by Ice T himself and then rereleased.
“It hit pretty hard,” he said. “The president came after us. And still today people think it’s a rap record. So, it’s a lot of misinformation and stuff. But we still get it today. Right now I’m on television playing the police. Police don’t necessarily like me. I mean, once you make a record called ‘Cop Killer,’ it’s like if somebody made a record called ‘Black Killer.’ Could they even apologize for that? You see what I’m saying? So, it never really goes away. So, we just gotta live with it. But it was a protest record against police brutality. That’s what it was. It always has been.”
After being inspired to make music again, Ice T recently brought back Body Count and secured a label deal for the group at the Washington D.C. and Los Angeles-based Sumerian Records. With the backing a budget, Ice T says they were able to create a studio album.
Ice T previously addressed race and music in an interview published earlier this month by Vlad TV. In the interview, he came to the defense of fellow rapper and friend Lord Jamar who previously stated that white rappers “are guests in the house of Hip Hop.” And in response to those comments, Ice T stated that Hip Hop is a form of black music.
“Hip Hop is black music,” Ice T said. “It’s not like if I was white I could say ‘I invented reggae.’ We gotta keep it real. Where did it come from? It came from black, ghetto kids. I think probably the second people into Hip Hop would be the Puerto Ricans. B-boys. Rock Steady Crew, people like that. When it hit L.A.—It’s a ghetto music, the eses got a hold of it.”