Ice T

One of hip hop's angriest and most controversial voices, Ice-T helped pioneer gangsta rap with his visceral tales of street and ghetto life in 1980s Los Angeles. Inspired by the poetry of Iceberg Slim, the rapper (real name Tracy Morrow) spent time in South Central LA's Crips gangs and served in the military before winning an open mic rap contest judged by Kurtis Blow, after which he turned to music full time. His debut album Rhyme Pays (1987) was the first hip hop record ever to carry a Parental Advisory warning and went on to become a huge underground hit. His style became more abrasive and his stories more graphic on the albums Power (1988) and The Iceberg (1989), but it was O.G. Original Gangster (1991) that brought his finest moment, earning a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance and introducing his heavy metal backing band Body Count. His controversial track Cop Killer caused outrage in 1992, but Ice-T has gone on to sell over 3 million albums and collaborate with Black Sabbath, Slayer and Insane Clown Posse. In recent times he has become more recognisable for his acting roles, starring in the TV series New York Undercover and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

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