Ice-T hasn’t released a proper solo album since 2006 when he dropped the aptly titled Gangsta Rap. But that doesn’t mean Hip Hop’s Original Gangster has been resting on his laurels.
Between his recurring role as Detective NYPD Detective/Sergeant Odafin Tutuola on NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and making Grammy Award-winning albums with his heavy metal band Body Count, the 63-year-old rap legend has been tirelessly at work on television commercials, hosting shows such as Oxygen’s In Cold Blood and being a father to his 5-year-old daughter Chanel Nicole who bares a striking resemblance to her famous father.
But at his core, Ice-T will always be an MC. During an interview with HipHopDX, the “6 In The Morning” mastermind spoke on the possibility of another solo rap record and credited the Geto Boys’ Scarface for inspiring him to rap again.
“You never say never,” he said. “It’s just a matter of the right things happening because I want to do one with Scarface. Scarface did Deeply Rooted and I love Deeply Rooted. I said, Scarface, ‘I need you to produce me an album.’ And he’s like, ‘Oh, I’ll make the whole album.’ So that’s the kind of situation that needs to happen and the timing needs to be right.
“And I’ll go in-studio with somebody I respect and knock out an album. But like I was saying with Body Count, the shit is all vibes and timing. And it’s like I’ll hear somebody else’s record and be like I’m ready to fucking rap.”
Deeply Rooted — Scarface’s 11th studio album — arrived in 2015 and boasted features from Akon, Nas, Rick Ross, John Legend and CeeLo Green, among others. The project initially debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200 chart and No. 3 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop chart, selling over 22,000 copies in its opening week.
As far as the content, the project found Scarface looking back on his Houston upbringing and the hard-won wisdom he learned throughout his music industry tenure, something Ice-T found inspiring.
“Scarface’s last album got me motivated because we’re from the same era,” he explained. “We got a similar style and he’s a G. And he’s showing me what mature rap sounds like — grown man rap. And then also working with Chuck D on the last thing. When they dropped the new album and we did ‘Smash The Crowd,’ and the next thing you know, it’s in a movie with Eddie Murphy. And I’m like, ‘Yo, this shit is dope.’ It’s just about finding that right situation and moment because I can make an album in a month, easy.”
He added, “I could do it in maybe two weeks if all the tracks is together. But finding that right time is the thing. But yeah, I’ll do another rap album. I’m not signed to no label. Ain’t nobody walking up and say, ‘Hey Ice, I got a million dollars. Do an album.’ I would have had an album out in two hours [laughs]. I was doing one before the pandemic. We already had a title for it — The Last OG. I even had an album cover and everything. But it just hasn’t lined up yet. Maybe this year, who knows?”
For now, Ice-T is just beginning production on Season 23 of Law & Order, now the longest running show in television history. He’s also in the lab working on a follow-up to Body Count’s 2019 album Bloodlust called Merciless.
“I came up with the title during the year because I was like, this has been a merciless year in terms of the coronavirus,” he said. “No one is safe — the rich, the poor, the healthy. Everybody can get it. So God is being merciless. So I came up with the title. Technically, I haven’t written for this album yet. Because at one time, I was just going to drop a single, and then I said, ‘Nah.’ So we got this artistic thing going.
“But with albums, the way we do Body Count albums is, we start with the music first. We try to make 15 slamming ass instrumentals that are hot without words.”