Ice-T is sharing why he decided to stop releasing rap albums and according to him, it’s because of Hip-Hop culture’s shift in look and sound by the younger generation. In an interview with Variety, the 65-year-old spoke about becoming disillusioned with the direction that rap music was heading during the 2000s.
“The music got goofy to me,” the artist, born Tracy Marrow, told the publication. “The kids started looking weird. It all turned into something I wasn’t comfortable with.” He also points to a downtick in record sales for himself and other acts from his era as evidence in the changing tide of what was deemed popular in the mainstream and among the youth.
“There was a point where I was selling tons of records, then it cooled off. I felt a certain way. Then I realized Public Enemy, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and Wu-Tang Clan weren’t selling records, either,” he explained. “There was a paradigm shift. These kids got softer, and soft is not something I’m able to give audiences. The first word in hip-hop is ‘hip’ so how something stays hip for over 10 years is difficult.”
While Ice-T recently teamed up with longtime collaborator Afrika Islam for the 2021 project Uncut, the rapper’s last full-length solo album, Gangsta Rap, was released in 2006. In 2008, the West Coast legend became embroiled in a back-and-forth with rapper Soulja Boy after accusing the artist of “killing Hip-Hop” on a mixtape.
Earlier this month, Ice-T received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a moment he also touched on during the interview. “When I started making records, I didn’t come into the music business thinking I would be a star,” he said of the honor. “I was just seeing if I could get a fan base. I didn’t want to be the best rapper. I just wanted to be mentioned among the greats: LL Cool J, Run-DMC.”
Speaking of LL Cool J, Ice-T recently shared that he and LL Cool J have ended the beef that was sparked by their battle in the late ’80s. The hatchet was buried between the two as the pair both performed as part of the Grammy Awards’ Hip-Hop 50 Tribute, which also included an appearance by Run-DMC.