GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion is mostly celebrated for his rap songs concerning street life & violence. He has been an influential figure for the gangster rap genre. Highly controversial songs such as Cop Killer brought much fame to him. He also pursued a career in acting, his most noteworthy character being that of a police officer on the show, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.Today in our History – February 16, 1958 – Tracy Marrow (AKA) Ice T was born.Tracy Marrow was born on February 16, 1958 in Newark, New Jersey. He spent his early years in Summit, New Jersey living with his parents. His father was a quiet blue collar working man. Although Ice remembers his mother to be a strong & supportive woman in his autobiography, he does not have many memories of her because she passed away following a heart attack when Ice was in third grade. Four years later his father too died of a heart attack leaving Ice alone. He was an only child who lost both his parents very early on in life. Following the death of his father, Ice had to move in with his aunt in South Central Los Angeles. By this time, he was in sixth grade. It was in LA that Ice got his first taste of inner city life.These everyday experiences would later lead to his career as a rapper and give him the integrity and authority to speak up against gang violence. None of his friends took interest in studies, but Ice was different, he secretly ditched his friends to attend school and graduated from high school with good grades.Before becoming a rapping icon, Ice T was enrolled in the United States Army for four years. However, he later returned to Los Angeles where he lived as a self-styled hustler. Crime kept his pockets warm for a while but then he got fed up and when a friend suggested he give rap a chance, Ice abandoned hustling completely. Tracy Marrow became Ice T with the help of Robert Maupin Beck III. Robert’s pen name Iceberg Slim became the inspiration for Marrow’s own name. In 1987, Ice signed with Sire Records and released his debut album, Rhyme Pays a year later. The album went gold. Ice gained more popularity when his theme song featured in the movie Colors. He released two more albums in the 80s becoming the most promising star of the West Coast rap. His 1991 album O.G. Original Gangster played a key role in developing the gangster rap genre.In 1992, Ice released Cop Killer which became the most controversial and talked about song of his career. Ice received plenty of criticism due the provocative lyrics towards police officers. During the course of the next several years, Ice produced a number of groundbreaking Billboard hits.Side by side to his rapping career, Ice was also proving his acting skills on screen. He acted in several films including Trespass, New Jack City, Ricochet and Johnny Mnemonic. Parallel to Hollywood, Ice T also made guest appearances on television and even had his very own reality show on VH1 called Ice T’s Rap School. However, his most memorable performance was that of playing Detective Odafin Tutuola in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.Ice-T was interviewed for the Cannibal Corpse retrospective documentary Centuries of Torment, as well as appearing in Chris Rock’s 2009 documentary Good Hair, in which he reminisced about going to school in hair curlers.A 2016 advertisement for GEICO features Ice-T behind a lemonade stand run by children. When people ask if it’s Ice-T, the actor yells back, “No, it’s lemonade!”In 2020, Ice-T competed on The Masked Singer spin-off The Masked Dancer where he portrayed “Disco Ball” and was the first to be eliminated.On June 12, 2011, E! reality show Ice Loves Coco debuted. The show is mostly about his relationship with his wife, Nicole “Coco” Austin.• In the Rick and Morty episode “Get Schwifty”, “Ice-T” (voiced by show creator Dan Harmon) is portrayed as secretly being alien royalty exiled to Earth, whose natural shape is revealed to be a letter T made of water. Ice-T reacted on Twitter by saying “This happens with cartoonists after lots of drugs…. Fn Crazy!!”• Stand-up comedian John Mulaney dedicates a long segment on his comedy special New in Town to the humorous expositional nature of Ice-T’s role on Special Victims Unit, saying that his function on the show is to be perpetually amazed by bad things, despite being in a sex crimes unit.Ice cites writer Iceberg Slim and rapper Schoolly D as influences, with Iceberg Slim’s novels guiding his skills as a lyricist. His favorite heavy rock acts are Edgar Winter, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.His hip hop albums helped shape gangsta rap, with music journalists tracing works of artists such as Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G., Eminem and N.W.A to “6 in the Mornin'”.A love of rock led Ice to use guitar in his albums, to provide his songs with edge and power, and to make his raps harder. He drew on the fusion of rock and hip hop by Rick Rubin-produced acts such as Beastie Boys, Run-DMC and LL Cool J, who featured rock samples in their songs.Body Count – whose 1992 debut album Ice described as a “rock album with a rap mentality” – is described as paving the way for the success of rap rock fusions by acts like Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit. However, Ice-T states that the band’s style does not fuse the two genres, and that Body Count is solely a rock band.In Hip Hop Connection, Ice listed his favourite rap albums: 10. Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill 9. Eric B. & Rakim, Paid in Full 8. N.W.A, Straight Outta Compton 7. Wu-Tang Clan, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) 6. The Notorious B.I.G., Ready to Die 5. Dr. Dre, The Chronic 4. Boogie Down Productions, Criminal Minded 3. Ultramagnetic MCs, Critical Beatdown 2. Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back 1. Run-DMC, Run-DMC.On March 20, 1976, Marrow’s high school girlfriend Adrienne gave birth to their daughter LeTesha Marrow, and they continued attending high school while raising her. While filming Breakin’ in 1984, he met his second girlfriend Darlene Ortiz, who was at the club where the film was shot.They began a relationship and Ortiz was featured on the covers of Rhyme Pays and Power. Ice-T and Ortiz had son Ice Tracy Marrow, Jr. on Nov. 23, 1991.Ice-T married swimsuit model Nicole “Coco Marie” Austin in January 2002. In celebration of their impending 9th wedding anniversary, the couple renewed their wedding vows on June 4, 2011. As of 2006, they owned a penthouse apartment in North Bergen, New Jersey. In 2012, they were building a five-bedroom house in Edgewater, New Jersey, that was expected to be completed by the end of the year. In 2015, the couple had their first child together, daughter Chanel.During the popularity of Public Enemy, Ice-T was closely associated with the band and his recordings of the time showed a similar political viewpoint. He was referred to as “The Soldier of the Highest Degree” in the booklet for Fear of a Black Planet and mentioned on the track “Leave This Off Your Fuckin’ Charts”. He also collaborated with fellow anti-censorship campaigner Jello Biafra on his album The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech… Just Watch What You Say!.On June 5, 2008, Ice-T joked that he would be voting for John McCain in the 2008 American elections, speculating that his past affiliation with Body Count could hurt Barack Obama’s chances if he endorsed him, so he would choose instead to ruin John McCain’s campaign by saying he supported him. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!