Gangster rapper Ice T is one of fewest rappers to successfully transition from Hip Hop staple to becoming a popular prime time actor and well recognized Pop culture figure.
With the recent launch of his ‘The Art Of Rap’ documentary on June 15th, the original gangster sat down with Rolling Stone magazine to discuss the release but found himself answering questions on Trini-born rap queen Nicki Minaj.
Not one to shy away from controversy, in his interview Ice gave the YMCMB first lady credit for being herself and charting her own path in hip-hop.
Here’s some excerpts from the interview below:
There’s also been a marked change in the last few years, with artists like Drake and Nicki Minaj singing as much as they are rapping. Do you feel like that dilutes the art of rap or broadens it?
A good emcee will rhyme a lot of different ways. Don’t limit yourself. Maybe on this record, you’re on something a little bit different, a little house-y, and then for this one you go to DJ Premier for some real hardcore beats, or then you have that big, super, grand DJ Khaled production that’s so incredible. You gotta learn how to change your flow so you’re not doing the same thing over and over again.
Just last week, Hot 97′s Peter Rosenberg dissed Nicki Minaj by implying that her song “Starships” isn’t “real hip-hop,” and she responded by pulling out of her headlining slot at Summer Jam. Some have applauded him, while others say his point of view is outdated. What do you think “real hip-hop” is?
I think it’s all “real hip-hop.” You have the core hip-hop, which would just be beats and breaks, more something like what you hear with DJ Premier. Then you get into the more highly produced hip-hop, which is something like what DJ Khaled does. But at some point, it starts to get kind of pop. It goes into this other realm.
Nicki went on tour with Britney Spears, so she’s on another channel. But to me, it all comes from hip-hop; it’s like a growth of hip-hop, whether you agree with that growth or not. Like me, I’m not the biggest Nicki Minaj fan but I think she can rhyme. She does her thing. She has her own way of doing it. She has an ill vocal delivery. She kind of reminds me of a female Busta Rhymes, like how she throws her voice in different directions – but she’s no Lil Kim. I think when people say “real hip-hop,” they want it more buried in the streets. They want it more connected to the streets and the grime and the roughness of the streets. They don’t want the fluff.
How can artists talk or represent the streets when they‘ve physically and financially moved beyond that? Is that real or inauthentic?
It’s fake. Me, I’ve always tried to stay current with my life. As my life grew, my raps grew with it. Rap is like any other art form. There will be critics. For Rosenberg to step out and make that statement, we know people will say, “You out of pocket anyway. You a Jewish kid trying to talk about hip-hop and its realness.” He’s probably taking a shitstorm of hell, like, “What do you know about real hip-hop?” I know Rosenberg and he’s what you call a hip-hop head – he knows hip-hop backwards and forwards. There’s always going to be that dilemma. Me, I think it all comes from the same seed.
Do you agree with Ice T that Nicki Minaj is a female Busta Rhymes?
Read more over at Rolling Stone.