Ice-T gets Walk of Fame star
Saying “I never thought I would get a star,” rap icon and actor Ice-T nonetheless got one Friday on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, becoming the 2,747th celebrity so honored along Hollywood Boulevard.
“The way my life was going, it was like, what can we come up in Hollywood and steal?” Ice-T told the crowd gathered in front of 7065 Hollywood Blvd., recalling his early days in Los Angeles — before hip-hop, the idiom he helped shape, changed his life and altered the musical landscape.
“We were really out here causing real problems,” Ice-T said. “And this was just out of the question — show business was out of the question. And then hip-hop came, and I found something that I could do. What I did was, I told the stories of the life I was living, and we invented a genre.”
Ice-T — who is also in his 25th year of co-starring in “Law and Order: SVU” — was joined at Friday’s ceremony by “SVU” co-star Mariska Hargitay, series creator Dick Wolf and fellow rap legend Chuck D. Ice-T’s wife, Coco Austin, sat in the audience with Ice-T’s son and a daughter, while Ice-T’s and Austin’s young daughter, Chanel, stood on stage at her dad’s side.
Friday’s unveiling came one day after Ice-T — born Tracy Lance Marrow in Newark, New Jersey — celebrated his 65th birthday.
For the occasion, the rapper donned a black fedora and black jacket with sparkling swirl patterns — along with a pair of sunglasses that he said were “not for fashion.”
“I’d like to thank everybody that came up and said all that stuff about me,” he said, referring to the Hargitay, Wolf and Chuck D. “I wore these sunglasses not for fashion, but I knew they (the speakers) might make me cry.”
Hargitay had earlier said, “I am just so beyond, beyond, beyond thrilled to be here for my friend. I want to tell you that it is so profoundly right that your name is now here forever, commemorated in this place, because there’s something else that I hold sacred, and that is friendship.
“Your achievements and your artistry and your whole verbal judo — your whole story runs so deep. It runs deep particularly here in L.A., and it runs deep around the world. You’re a rapper and an actor and an artist, and at a time when people over-use words without thinking and wearing out the meanings, you are indeed the real OG (original gangster).”
Hargitay added, “You have lived a story that has shaped the way you look at the world, a story that would have hardened many people beyond recognition; instead, it filled you with humanity, with humility, with grace and with oh-so-much wisdom.”
For his part, Wolf remarked about Ice-T’s wide appeal — recalling an instance while “SUV” was shooting on 57th Street in Manhattan and a “redneck” truck driver poked his head out his rig’s window and shouted, “Yo, Ice, my man!”
“As far as shoutouts, let me just first shout out the Rhyme Syndicate, all my guys from hip-hop,” Ice-T said. “Secondly, let me should out my family — my son, my daughter, Coco my wife, Cha-nay-nay (daughter Chanel), who obviously is in the position to stand behind one of these podiums one day — she has no fear of the stage.”
He also thanked “My close friends, my inner circle, that have my phone number — that’s how you know if you’re in my inner circle. Ice Cube, Russell Simmons … Ernie C, Body Count.”
And he jokingly told Hargitay, “In my life I have three women. I have Chanel, I have my daughter Tesha (Letesha) and I have Coco. But Mariska — I’ve made more money with you, so you know where you rank.”
Lastly, Ice-T said, “I want to thank the (expletive) haters, ’cause you really make me get up in the morning and be the best I can be.”
“All the naysayers, all the people that wanted to end my career — now I’m on the Walk of Fame, you (expletives). … If it wasn’t for the haters, I definitely wouldn’t have pulled this off, I swear to God. Thank you so much — I’m going to give you so much more to hate in the future, trust me.”
His L.A. story began in the early 1970s and took wing in the 1980s.
By the time he was 13, both his parents had died and he was sent to live with his an aunt and her husband in who lived in the Windsor Hills section of Los Angeles.
He got his stage name by reciting portions of novels by Iceberg Slim, with friends telling him, “Yo, kick some more of that by Ice, T.”
Ice-T became interested in hip-hop music during his two years in the U.S. Army. Following his discharge in 1979, he initially sought to be a DJ, adopting the stage name Ice-T as a tribute to Iceberg Slim. However, he received more attention for his rapping, which led him to pursue a career as a rapper.
Ice-T began recording singles in 1983 and released his first album in 1987, “Rhyme Pays,” which was certified as gold by the music industry trade group, the Recording Industry Association of America.
Ice-T formed Rhyme Syndicate Records in 1987, which released a string of groundbreaking West Coast rap records.
His 1991 album, “O.G. Original Gangster” is regarded as one of the albums that defined gangsta rap. It also introduced his heavy metal band Body Count, whom he toured with on the inaugural Lollapalooza concert tour in 1991, gaining him new fans.
Body Count’s self-titled 1992 debut album included the single “Cop Killer,” which drew criticism from elected officials, the National Rifle Association and various police advocacy groups.
Ice-T is a four-time Grammy nominee and two-time Grammy winner. He won a Grammy for best rap performance by a duo or group in 1991 on his first nomination for “Back On The Block.” His other Grammy came in 2021 as part of Body Count for best metal performance for “Bum-Rush.”
Ice-T’s other Grammy nominations were in 1991 for best rap solo performance for “New Jack Hustler” and 2018 for best metal performance for Body Count’s “Black Hoodie.”
Ice-T’s first acting credit came in 1984, when the producers of “Breakin”‘ asked him to rap in the movie.
Ice-T began his long relationship with Wolf in a 1995 episode of the Fox police drama “New York Undercover.”
“I was very impressed by his authenticity as an actor,” said Wolf, who then cast him as one of the leads in the 1997-98 NBC crime drama, “Players,” and “thought of him immediately when I was casting a new detective for season two of `SVU.’
“Ice is the consummate professional, his work ethic is unimpeachable and he has grown exponentially as an actor. Casting Ice as Fin was one of my best moves as a producer.”
Ice-T also starred in Wolf’s made-for-television movie, “Exiled: A Law & Order Movie.” He also portrayed his “SVU” character, Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola, on three other Wolf-produced series, “Law & Order,” “Chicago P.D.” and “Law & Order: Organized Crime.”
Ice-T’s other film and television credits include “New Jack City,” “Ricochet,” “Trespass,” “Johnny Mnemonic,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Younger,” “30 Rock” and “Saturday Night Live.”
Ice-T and his wife starred in the 2011-13 E! Entertainment Television alternative series, “Ice Loves Coco.”