Tracy Marrow ( born February 16, 1958 ), better known by his stage name Ice-T, is a Grammy Award and NAACP Image Award winning rapper, actor, and author. He is credited with helping to pioneer gangsta rap, a sub-genre of hip hop music, in the late 1980s. As an actor, he is perhaps best known for his portrayal of NYPD Detective Odafin "Fin" Tutuola on the NBC police drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Although one of West Coast hip hop's leading figures, Marrow, son of Solomon and Alice, was actually born in urban Newark, New Jersey, and christened Tracy by his father. When he was a child, he moved from his native Newark to the upscale community of Summit, New Jersey. His mother died of a heart attack when he was in third grade and his father died of a heart attack four years later. After his father died, he went to live with his paternal aunt in California and later attended Crenshaw High School in the district of the same name in South Central Los Angeles. After high school, he entered the 25th Infantry Division in the United States Army, an experience he has said he did not enjoy.
He was previously in a relationship with Darlene Ortiz, who was featured on the covers of his 1987 album Rhyme Pays and his 1988 album Power. Ice-T is married to swimsuit model Nicole "Coco Marie" Austin.
After leaving the Army, Ice-T began his long career of recording raps for various studios on 12-inch singles. These tracks were later compiled on The Classic Collection and also featured on disc 2 of Legends of Hip-Hop. His first song was "The Coldest Rap" in 1982. His first official rap record was "6 in the Mornin'".
He finally landed a deal with a major label Sire Records. When label founder and president Seymour Stein heard his demo, he said, “He sounds like Bob Dylan.”Shortly after, he released his debut album Rhyme Pays in 1987 supported by DJ Evil E, DJ Aladdin and producer Afrika Islam, who helped create the mainly party-oriented sound; the record wound up being certified gold by the RIAA. That same year, he recorded the title theme song for Dennis Hopper's Colors, a film about inner-city life in Los Angeles. His next album Power was released in 1988, under his own label Rhyme Syndicate, and it was a more assured and impressive record, earning him strong reviews and his second gold record. Released in 1989, The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech... Just Watch What You Say established his popularity by matching excellent abrasive music with narrative and commentative lyrics.
In 1991 he released his album OG: Original Gangster, which is regarded as one of the albums that defined gangsta rap. On OG, he introduced his band Body Count in a track of the same name; Ice-T toured with Body Count on the first annual Lollapalooza concert tour in 1991, gaining him appeal among middle-class teenagers and fans of alternative music genres. The self-titled debut album by Body Count followed. For his appearance on the heavily collaborative track "Back on the Block", a composition by jazz musician Quincy Jones that "attempt[ed] to bring together black musical styles from jazz to soul to funk to rap", Ice-T won a Grammy Award for the Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, an award shared by others who worked on the track including Jones and fellow jazz musician Ray Charles. Controversy later surrounded Body Count over its song "Cop Killer", a song intended as a narrative from the view of a criminal killing a police officer, from the National Rifle Association and various police advocacy groups. Consequently, Time Warner Music refused to release Ice-T's upcoming album Home Invasion simply because of the controversy surrounding "Cop Killer". When Ice split amicably with Sire/Warner Bros. Records after a dispute over the artwork of the album Home Invasion, he reactivated Rhyme Syndicate and formed a deal with Priority Records for distribution; Priority released Invasion in the spring of 1993. The album peaked at #9 on Billboard magazine's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and at #14 on the Billboard 200,  spawning several singles including "Gotta Lotta Love", "I Ain't New To This" and "99 Problems" - which would later be covered by Jay Z in 2007. Ice-T had also collaborated with certain other heavy metal bands during this time period. For the film Judgment Night, he did a duet with band Slayer on the track "Disorder". In 1995, Ice-T made a guest performance on Forbidden by the heavy metal band Black Sabbath. Another album of his, VI - Return of the Real came out in 1996, followed by The Seventh Deadly Sin in 1999.
His first rap album since 1999, Gangsta Rap, was released on October 31, 2006. The album's cover, which "shows [Ice T] lying on his back in bed with his ravishing wife's ample posterior in full view and one of her legs coyly draped over his private parts," was considered to be too suggestive for most retailers, many of which were reluctant to stock the album. Some reviews of the album were unenthusiastic, as many had hoped for a return to the political raps of Ice-T's most successful albums.
One of the last scenes in Gift includes Ice-T and Body Count playing with Jane's Addiction in a version of the Sly and the Family Stone song "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey."
Besides fronting his own band, Ice-T has also collaborated with other hard rock and metal bands, such as Icepick, Motörhead, Pro-Pain, and Six Feet Under. He has also covered songs by hardcore punk bands such as The Exploited, Jello Biafra, and Black Flag. Ice-T made his first appearance at Insane Clown Posse's Gathering Of The Juggalos (2008 edition)..
Rhyme Pays is the debut album of Ice T, released in 1987.
The album, especially tracks like "6 'N the Mornin'," is considered to have defined the gangsta genre, and was the first hip-hop album to carry a Parental Advisory warning label, although it was years before the industry-standard explicit-lyrics sticker was developed. The album was not released on CD until 1988; four bonus tracks were added to the release on that format.
Rhyme Pays peaked at #93 on the Billboard 200 music chart and #26 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums. Rolling Stone gave the album three stars. It was also the first hip-hop artist album released on the Sire and Warner Bros. labels.
1. "Intro/Rhyme Pays" (Ice T/Storrs) – 6:29 ( samples Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" )
2. "6 'N the Mornin'" (Ice T) – 7:11
3. "Make It Funky" (Ice T/Islam) – 5:09 ( samples James Brown's "Make It Funky" )
4. "Somebody Gotta Do It (Pimpin' Ain't Easy!)" (Ice T/Islam) – 3:03
5. "409" (Ice T/Islam) – 5:20
6. "I Love Ladies" (Ice T/Islam) – 4:44
7. "Sex" (Ice T/Islam) – 2:57
8. "Pain" (Ice T/Islam) – 3:36
9. "Squeeze the Trigger" (Ice T/Islam) – 6:12
10. "Make It Funky" [12" Mix] (Ice T/Islam) – 5:58
11. "Sex (Instrumental)" – 3:52
12. "Somebody Gotta Do It (Pimpin' Ain't Easy!)" [12" Mix] (Ice T/Islam) – 3:27
13. "Our Most Requested Record" [Long Version] (Ice T/Islam) – 6:45