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Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption-from South Central to Hollywood Hardcover – April 19, 2011

108 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this intriguing memoir, groundbreaking rapper and actor Ice-T chronicles his rise from nomadic criminal to hip-hop star. After losing both parents by the age of 12, Tracy Marrow was shipped to relatives in Los Angeles where he navigated the growing gang culture of the city and became a father at 18. A four-year tour in the army was followed by a lucrative interlude robbing jewelry and clothing stores. As his fellow thieves began to file off to prison, Ice-T turned to the nascent rap scene and scored immediate success. Continuing to reinvent himself, Ice-T went on to front a rock band and also was one of the first rap figures to work in film and television. There™s little focus on the music itself, but rather on his careers and his observations on the various subcultures he passes through. What lifts the book above the general run of entertainer memoirs is the quality of these observations—Ice-T is a canny businessman, and he charts clearly the decisions that brought him up each step of a very treacherous ladder. (Mar.)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Famous first as a rapper, and then as an actor in numerous movies and as a regular on Law & Order: SVU, Ice-T was born Tracy Marrow in New Jersey, then moved to Los Angeles when both of his parents died prematurely of heart attacks. Raised by inattentive relatives, he became embroiled in gang life. After four years in the army, he found himself on the street and back in the criminal world. He had been writing his own rhymes since high school, then released several groundbreaking West Coast rap recordings and became lead vocalist for the influential thrash-metal band Body Count, which, in 1992, released its notorious single, Cop Killer. The subsequent controversy led to Ice-T�s first experience with censorship and even a dressing-down from the Bush-Quayle administration. In this no-holds-barred memoir, Ice-T writes with refreshing, if profane, down-to-earth candor, recalling his first memories of racism, his increasingly dangerous street life, and his experiences on tour, including a funny and wild anecdote about a show in Milan. A fascinating and inspiring story about an African American orphan who beat the odds to become successful, this memoir will appeal to fans of hip-hop and popular culture. --June Sawyers

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: One World/Ballantine (April 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345523288
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345523280
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Steffan Piper VINE VOICE on January 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm probably one of the few people that have read and reviewed Ice's other book The Ice Opinion as well as this new book, which is equally informing and true as the previous. Being honest, after having read that book a few years back, the thought occurred to me to ask: "what more could this man say that he hasn't already spoke about?" Let me just clear the table and confirm that nothing in these two books is material that's been repeated or regurgitated. Without doubt, this is a solid and eye-opening read.

First, you might not know that Ice was an Army Ranger and an incredibly solid and dedicated soilder while he was doing his time in service. Yes, he did end up having to stand up in front of the C.O., but who hasn't? Legendary Marine, Chesty Puller once said that "the best soliders are often found in the brig." In Ice's case, he wasn't kidding. Ice never got involved in drugs or alcohol and never squealed on anyone either. In historical and mythical terms, he's a pretty honorable character, but the reality that you come away with from reading this book, is that Ice is anything but a character, he's a real person with his survival instincts ratcheted up on high. Ice, born Tracy Marrow, is probably the best example of social darwainism that I've ever heard about. Working your way up from the bottom, parentless, financially 'out', being bussed from one social tier to another for school, trapped in a warring culture on the brink of a social apocalypse -- you name it. "Just hold your ground and be true to yourself." That's his message and he has the life behind him to prove it. Hmm. Who also said that, about 400 years ago? I wonder. "To thine own self ...
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ladybug TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm writing this review as a casual fan of Ice-T. I was 12 years old when O.G. came out, and I had to sneak a copy of a friend's cassette tape home and listen to it when my parents weren't around so they wouldn't take it away. Around the same time, New Jack City came out and, again, I had to sneak into a theater with a friend to watch it. I was enthralled with Ice-T, though I had no real knowledge of him other than this limited exposure. Since that time, Ice-T has become a widely recognizable media figure and, in many ways, a father figure to a lot of contemporary rap.

What I truly enjoy about Ice-T now, though, is his personality. No doubt in part due to his rap career, he has a very clever yet direct way of putting things, whether he's talking about women's hair (see Good Hair) or lamenting the state of the music industry (see his YouTube criticism of Soulja Boy). It's really this aspect of Ice-T that made me interested in reading his autobiography.

I really appreciate how Ice-T's personality comes through in this book. I was concerned that it could be ghostwritten into banality, but that is definitely not the case. There's a ton of great stuff here for anyone else who appreciates Ice-T's humor and wit.

This book is also very honest--Ice-T goes into a lot of detail about his childhood and how his family and surroundings affected him growing up. As a child, he found that he and his mother could both pass as white, which allowed him to outwardly fit in in his suburban neighborhood even though he was obviously very cognizant of the differences between him and the other kids. Once his parents both died while he was young, he was transplanted to Los Angeles, where it's also clear that he was a bit of an outsider, even if he superficially fit in.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Beverly L. Archer VINE VOICE on May 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book was an impulse check out at the library. I was standing in line waiting to checkout and it was on the new non-fiction display. I enjoy watching Ice-T on Law and Order SVU. I like to read the occasional biography. So I decided to give it a try.

For the most part, I enjoyed reading this biography. I felt as though I was getting an inside glimpse into what makes Ice-T, Ice T. I realized that Ice-T is a lot different than my perception of Finn on Law & Order SVU. I found it to be well written and interesting.

However, if you are looking for a biography that will provide a moral lesson for today's youth, this is not it. He does discuss his transition from crime to legitimate work, but he doesn't take a strong stand about the wrongness of his time as a criminal. He's very true to his beliefs, which makes for an honest read.
Also, if you have a problem with foul language, particularly the F-word, then you might want to skip this book. If you want to learn about the man behind the image, then you should read this book, but if you have an "agenda", if you are looking for a motivational "don't do crime - take the straight and narrow path" story, you might want to search for another book.
If you are looking for an honest account of this man's life then this is a good read for you. He's very true to himself and he doesn't pull any punches. He doesn't smooth over his mistakes. And while he might not provide a strong warning against a life of crime, I really didn't find that he was glamorizing it. He does point out that there are risks and the price you pay if you get caught is high.
Overall, it was an impulse check out that turned out to be a rather good read.
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