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Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Birthday For Law & Order SVU’s Ice-T

On February 16, 1958, in Newark, New Jersey, Tracy Lauren Marrow was born.


You know him as Ice-T, who plays Detective Odafin (“Fin”) Tutuola on Law & Order Special Victims Unit.

Both of Ice-T’s parents died when he was young. He moved to Los Angeles to live with his aunt after the death of his father. He eventually became very involved in the street life and became a member of the West Side Rollin 30s Original Harlem Crips.

He spent 4 years in the Army after leaving high school, but left because he didn’t like authority. He’s quoted as saying, "I didn't like total submission to a leader other than myself." After returning to the South Central LA area, he led quite the colorful life, becoming a jewel thief and a pimp, but he really wanted to have a career in music. After a car crash in 1985, he decided to put his focus on music. His rap name, Ice T, is a tribute to the fabled pimp and raconteur Iceberg Slim (Robert Beck).

According to IMDB.com, “As a musician, Ice-T played a major role in the creation of the gangsta incarnation of hip-hop music and was a colossus of the West Coast hip-hop scene, despite his East Coast, greater New York, origins. Though his music displays a political consciousness, like the indictments of racism that were a hallmark of seminal hip-hop group Public Enemy, it also is nihilistic as befits a chronicler of street life. His most infamous song, the heavy metal "Cop Killer," was one of the major battle in the cultural wars of the 1990s, in which cultural conservatives enlisted the Moses of the right wing, Charlton Heston, to get Ice-T dropped from his then-label, Sire/Warner Bros.”

Rather ironic that Ice-T works in a fictional law enforcement role, considering his “Cop Killer” song. I can’t say I’ve even heard this song, and I’m not sure I want to.

Despite his colorful past, Ice-T brings a certain realism to his role on Law & Order SVU. Of course, now this previously hardened street gang member and gangsta rapper is hosting “Tupper-Bowl” Tupperware parties and moving to the sedate Chandler, Arizona. See the link to the story which explains all those "sordid" details, here.

Have a happy birthday, Ice-T!

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