Det. Fin of SVU
“I bring a lot of shit to the show. I’m the only person on the show probably anybody under 20 knows who they are. I bring black people and ethnic people. I bring an edge to the show, because at any moment I might smack the shit out of somebody. When I got on the show, it was in the 40s. Now it’s top 10. So I brought something.” Ice-T on his contribution to the TV series “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”
American rapper, rock musician and actor Ice-T, born Tracy Lauren Marrow and also known as Ice Oscillator, Iceberg, Nestea, is known for his influential role in creating gangsta rap and rapcore. Much of his music contains political awareness. With his heavy metal group, Body Count, he has scored a white male adolescent following.
One of hip-hop’s most expressive and intelligent stars, Ice-T has released numerous albums under both his own name and his hard-core band, Body Count. However, he is probably best associated with the albums The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech...Just Watch What You Say (1989) and O.G.: Original Gangster (1991). The first played an important role in launching him as a hip hop superstar, while the latter became his most successful album to date. As a part of Body Count, he shared a degree of notoriety with the controversial cut “Cop Killer,” taken from the band’s self-titled debut album (1992). On the acting front, two-time Image award-winning performer, Ice-T is famous for portraying Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola on the well-liked NBC series “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2000-?). For his bright effort, he was handed a 2002 Image Award. He received his first Image Award after impressively playing drug lord Danny-Up on several episodes of the TV series “New York Undercover” (1995). In addition, Ice-T also has acted in a number of movies, including New Jack City (1991, nabbed a MTV Movie nomination), Surviving the Game (1994), Tank Girl (1995), 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001), Tracks (2005) and Copy That (2006).
As for his private life, the 5’ 11” tall rapper is the husband of model Nicole Austin, whom he married in 2005. Prior to this marriage, he was linked to several women and had kids with them. With longtime partner Darlene Ortiz, he welcomed a son named Tracy Marrow Jr., also called Little Ice, in 1992, but broke up ten years later in 2002. A year before, in 2001, he became a father to Linda Marie Sanchez’s son, Kevin Ice Marrow. He and Sanchez were together for 5 months, and after their split, she requested 17% of Ice-T’s annual earnings for child support. Ice-T asked for and was granted a DNA test. Later test proved that Kevin is his biological child and he had to pay $4,000 a month for temporary support for the kid. Ice-T also has a daughter, Letesha Marrow (born 1977).
L.A Gang Member
Childhood and Family:
Tracy Lauren Marrow, who would later be famous as Ice-T, an alias he took from the popular former pimp turned author Iceberg Slim, was born on February 16, 1958, in Newark, New Jersey. Following the death of his parents, he relocated to Los Angeles, California, to live with his paternal aunt who resided in the South Los Angeles district of Crenshaw (more often referred to as South Central). He soon became plunged in the street life of the inner-city and later even became involved with the notorious street gang West Side Rollin 30s Original Harlem Crips.
After leaving Crenshaw High School, in which he developed a love for rap music and frequently recited rhymes for classmates, Ice served as a Ranger in the US Army, but dropped out after four years in 1983. With the aim of pursuing a career in rap, he then returned to South Central, but instead of starting his music career, he once again became infatuated in the street life, first as jewel burglar then later as a pimp. A car accident in 1985 served as a turning point for him who subsequently cleaned his life and focused his skills on rapping.
On December 31, 2005, Ice married girlfriend Nicole Austin (a.k.a. Coco), a swimsuit model whom he had dated since August 2002. He has three children, a daughter, Letesha Marrow (born 1977), and two sons, Tracy Marrow Jr. (a.k.a. Little Ice; born 1992) and Kevin Ice Marrow (born 2001), from his previous relationships.
Freedom of Speech...
After leaving the U.S. Army Rangers, Ice-T commenced his enormously long career of recording raps for diverse studios on 12” singles, which were later gathered on The Classic Collection and included on disc 2 of Legends of Hip-Hop. “The Coldest Rap” (1982) marked his first rap and was considered as the first hip hop record to use the words “ho” and “nigga” and as the establishment of gangsta rap. He went on to produce solo singles like “Body Rock” and “Killers” (both 1984) and also appeared in the low-budget hip hop movies Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2 is Electric Boogaloo, that same year.
A former gang member, Ice-T finally decided to abandon the street life and concentrate on his music following a car crash in 1985. His rapping career received break two years later when he signed a record deal with the major studio Sire Records. Shortly thereafter, he released his first record, Rhyme Pays (1987), which went on to reach a gold status and is supported by producer Afrika Islam and DJ Aladdin. The two helped create the rolling, spare beats and samples that gave a milieu for the rapper’s magnetic rhymes, which were largely party-oriented. Still in 1987, he also wrote and performed the theme song for the Dennis Hopper-directed film Colors (1988). The track, also called “Colors,” was stronger on both its lyrics and music.
1988 saw Ice-T found his own rap label, Rhyme Syndicate, and release a sophomore effort, Power. The album earned him strong reviews and his next gold record. With The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech...Just Watch What You Say (1989), he made a name for himself as a true hip-hop luminary thanks largely to his fusion of superb scratchy music with brutal, smart narratives, and political comments, particularly about hip-hop bowdlerization. He furthered this fame by branching out once again into film two years later and starred as a street-wise cop in the crime New Jack City, opposite Wesley Snipes. The role brought him a MTV Movie nomination for Best Breakthrough Performance and gave evidence that he was compelling and convincingly hard-boiled actor. Ice-T also recorded “New Jack Hustler” for the movie, which was included in the album O.G.: Original Gangster. Also released in 1991, the album went on to become his most flourishing album thus far.
“Body Count,” a metal track from O.G., recorded with Ice-T’s band of the same name. When he hit the street for the “Lollapalooza” concert tour during the summer of 1991, he took the band out on tour with him. The tour boosted his popularity among middle-class teens and alternative music admirers. As a result, he released a complete album with the hard-core group in the next year, also called Body Count. The record confirmed to be a significant defining moment in the rapper’s career. On the base of the cut “Cop Killer,” in which he sang in the standpoint of a police assassin, the album stirred up national controversy and received hard protest from the NRA and police activist groups. This led to the end of his affiliation with Time Warner Records that formerly supported him. In 1993, he released his new rap album, Home Invasion, under Priority Records, which received cool respond and sales. Born Dead, a second album with Body Count, followed in the following year, which failed to ignite the same controversy as its predecessor and was regarded as a flop. On the other hand, the band enjoyed success in clubs and Ice-T went on to tour with the band.
Meanwhile, Ice-T still found time building his acting career by collecting a number of film credits. He appeared with Denzel Washington in Ricochet (1991), as Washington’s compassionate gang leader friend, portrayed the calmly authoritative gangster King James on Walter Hill’s wonderful Trespass (1992), along side fellow rapper Ice Cube, as well as starred as a homeless in Surviving the Game (1994), among other performances. In 1995, he continued to have flamboyant supporting roles in the sci-fi films Tank Girl and Johnny Mnemonic, and delivered a notable turn as demented drug kingpin Danny-Up on three episodes of the television crime/drama series “New York Undercover,” that same year. The role won him a 1996 Image for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.
In the summer of 1996, Ice-T returned to his gangsta roots and released his first rap album since 1993, VI - Return of the Real (Priority). Unfortunately for Ice-T, it received negative feedback from both audiences and critics. For the next two years, he could be seen acting again in several films and in the NBC drama series “Players” (1997), where he was cast in the lead of Isaac ‘Ice’ Gregory, before trying to rebuild his musical career by releasing The Seventh Deadly Sin in 1999 on Coroner. After this, he focused more on his acting career.
Ice-T received his big breakthrough as an actor when he landed the regular role of police detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuol on NBC’s drama series “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” in 2000. Now still working on the popular show, he picked up an Image for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 2002, and went on to collect nominations in 2004 and 2006, first in the same category and then for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series. While working on the show, he continued to appear in movies as well. Among his many projects include 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001), Abel Ferrara’s ‘R Xmas (2001), On the Edge (2002) and the indie-drama Tracks (2005). In 2006, he revisited his recording studio to release Gangsta Rap. The same year, he also could be seen in the movie Copy That (2006).
- Image: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” 2002
- Image: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, “New York Undercover,” 1996