North Bergen N.J. resident Ice-T, the original gangster, master of hip-hop, actor, reality star and now director, laid it all out to rappers, moguls, execs and fans on Tuesday, June 12, at the Lincoln Center in New York City. Ice once taught us that "Pimpin' ain't so easy," but his most recent message in his new documentary is, "Rappin' ain't easy either."
Ice-T's wife, the beautiful and always sweet, Coco, shot me a last-minute text invite on Sunday to seal my name on the guest list for their already sold out Something From Nothing: 'Art of Rap' NYC premiere. I was attending an earlier gala down the road that same night honoring another N.J. treasure,Jon Bon Jovi, but when he was running late I had to make the call (clearly no one was honoring his punctuality). I would have waited a bit longer, but Coco was blowing up my phone with "you better get here by six, or else..." and there is no way I wanted to find out what "or else..."meant.
So I booked it over to the Alice Tully Hall, where I spotted late theater goers (who missed that 6 p.m. cutoff) standing in the rain in a massive line waiting for their tickets while barking their names to the table of PR girls, who were probably wishing they were somewhere else.
Ice-T and Coco showed up and hit the red carpet, showing the love, pumped and ready to fist pound and shoulder bump with the best hip-hoppers in the industry. Ne-Yo, Fabulous, Busta Rhymes (this guy eats P90X for breakfast), Boardwalk Empire's Michael K. Williams, Ice's Law And Order co-star Mariska Hargitay and my main man Treach (who's down with the O-P-P?, yeah he knows me!) were all in attendance. Chuck D, Salt (from Salt N Pepa) and Lauryn Hill skipped the carpet and B-lined it straight to their seats -- because walking the carpet can be pretty taxing sometimes.
You couldn't help but notice the familiar scent of Eau de Mary Jane was the plus-one of a few guests, and when she's walking the red carpet, you know it's going to be a good night. Everyone was hanging loose, celebrating the release of an industry changing film. Significant public figures, together, celebrating a message that they are all passionate about. For me this was an incredibly refreshing and a completely different atmosphere compared to other events I attend (people at galas can be pretty uptight). And in true gangsta style, guests were required to empty their pockets and walk through metal detectors before entering the theater.
Ice-T briefly addressed the audience before rolling his docu-film, where he interviews Eminem, Kanye West, Dr. Dre, Common and many other game-changing artists. One quote that stood out was Eminem's explanation of the importance of hip-hop in his life, saying, "It gave me a voice, gave me an outlet, gave me strength... If it wasn't for rap I wouldn't be able to bounce back. This is the one thing I have that I think I can do well."
The film itself was very entertaining, unique, and real. The theater, had a body count packed to the 22'' rims who were clearly enjoying the film, with lots of loud commentary, laughter and cheering to the end.
Just like Jam Master Jay, king of the crossfader, it seems that everything Ice touches turns to gold.