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Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption-from South Central to Hollywood

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  971 Ratings  ·  163 Reviews
He’s a hip-hop icon credited with single-handedly creating gangsta rap. Television viewers know him as Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola on the top-rated drama Law & Order: SVU. But where the hype and the headlines end, the real story of Ice-T—the one few of his millions of fans have ever heard—truly begins. Ice is Ice-T in his own words—raw, uncensored, and unafraid to s ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published April 19th 2011 by One World/Ballantine (first published January 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,974)
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Kimberly Hicks
I knew I was going to love this book. Ice-T keeps it real always, and who couldn't like that. I love how he came out of the ghetto, but still keeps in contact with those from the ghetto, and lives a wealthy-celebrity lifestyle. His children have their own crosses to bear and he lets them make their mistakes so they can learn. I was never a fan of his rap music, but I respected what he did. He came out during the time when rap was at its best. I still like rap, but some of this gangsta stuff isn' ...more
Jan 07, 2011 Steffan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm probably one of the few people that have read and reviewed Ice's other book The Ice Opinion and this book was as 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.

Mar 09, 2015 Melissa rated it really liked it
In Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption-from South Central to Hollywood by Ice-T, readers learn how he became an early rap icon, originator of gangsta rap and now a television star.

After reading this memoir, I have a whole new respect for the man. Although he knew the crimes he committed in his younger years, were wrong he proved he could rise above his upbringing and make a better life for himself. I wish I could have listened to it in audio format because I think it would have been e
Jul 13, 2012 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Comes across as a sincere and insightful account of the most real 'OG'.

"Darlene was up front in my career; she did all my album covers. She wasn’t just my girl in real life; she was essential to my image. But understand: I was very much about not having anything fake. If it ain’t your girl, don’t put her in the video. She’s wearing my chain with the gun pendant on the album cover. That’s my car. Maybe I was naïve about this shit, but I didn’t know you could lie. I didn’t know you could fake. I
Aug 16, 2011 Jean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Ok! Can I just say that I loved this book?!?!

This book really surprised me. I checked out the audiobook thinking this would be a quick, entertaining, mindless read/listen. I was wrong, it was quick, entertaining, but so compelling and informative. Obviously I know nothing about growing up on the streets, but really felt like Ice-T gave a very detailed, clear explanation of how growing up on the streets was for him. This book was written in a vernacular tone and it was so appropriate. I loved th
Jul 02, 2011 Nicole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in rap, hustling, and peacemaking
Recommended to Nicole by: The Daniel Boone Regional Library, God love 'em
Whether you love or hate Ice T, I recommend his memoir to you. His word on redemption and peacemaking is so unique, hopeful and philosophical. At times ICE may read as a little unintentionally humorous, as the amateur critics on Goodreads have pointed out. It doesn't matter. Ice T's experience and what he's able accomplish in the day-to-day do. Personally, the Ice T/Wife Coco show is off-putting, but he is also the executive producer of the A&E reality show about conflict resolution between ...more
Rebecca McNutt
How did Ice-T go from a rough childhood on the streets and gang involvment, to becoming a hip-hop icon and the actor who played Det.John Munch's partner, Fin, on the hugely popular television program Law & Order: SVU? This often emotional and insightful memoir explains it all, written with honesty, wit and a great sense of character.
Allison Hiltz
Filled with nuggets of wisdom ranging from gang life to the secret of a happy marriage (it’s all about admiration), this astute memoir is marked by breathtaking honesty. "Clean readers" who avoid tough topics and salty language will probably disagree, but any reader with a curious mind will enjoy the ride. As for me, I’m dying to chat with him about some of the social issues affecting our youth because, well, I’m a policy person and I think he’d have great insight.

For the full review, visit The
Jun 02, 2014 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ice-T wrote about his early life, and losing both of his parents when he was a young child. He was sent to live in California, with an aunt and uncle he didn't know. Their children were grown up, and they didn't seem too interested in starting over to raise another child. They didn't show Ice any affection, and they didn't guide and teach him.

Ice-T grew up in an area of L. A. that was full of gangs. He managed to stay out of the major gangs. He and two friends formed their own gang of three. Wh
Feb 24, 2014 Kascha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been a really big Ice-T fan since his first album, so I'm not the hardest sell when it comes to hearing about his life in his own words. He's always come off as intellectual, straightforward, unflinching, and hard hitting but also has a very well developed sense of humor that never fails to come out in interviews and in person.

So I was very unsurprised by the frankness of this book. I knew most of the more publicized things but there was so much that I didn't know, but remembered when promp
Aug 10, 2011 AvidReader47 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have loved Ice-T on Law and Order SVU, and most recently his reality show "Ice Loves Coco." When I saw that he had a biography, I immediately wanted to read it. I was pleasantly surprised that it was filled with Ice's wit and humor as he has on his reality show. He seems so down to earth and after reading his book, I can see why. Ice grew up as Tracey Morrow in New Jersey. Unfortunately, his parents both passed away from heart attacks within a short time of each other. He was sent to live with ...more
Apr 12, 2013 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Long before he was Detective Tutuola on Law and Order SVU Ice-T was an orphan, a West Coast transplant, an army soldier, a criminal and the godfather of West Coast gangsta rap.

This is a very interesting, very easy to read, very thoughtful look back on his life. Ice-T keeps it real. He discusses all of his life, mistakes included. Orphaned at a young age and sent to live with relatives in Los Angeles, Ice has been on the streets, in the army and on the red carpet. He talks about his celebrity lif
Sep 30, 2011 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Ice-T has led an intriguing life. He was an orphan by age 11, and, though born in New Jersey, was sent to live in South Central. After a stint in the military, he was a gang member and hustler who, after a near-fatal auto accident, decided to change course. He became a hip-hop star who fought the federal government over his lyrics. He went on to become a movie and television star (has SVU really been on 12 seasons?!?!). Now as a faithful husband and father, he confronts his earlier life and trie ...more
Liam Shibata
Mar 08, 2014 Liam Shibata rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-12
This autobiography written by Ice-T himself enlightens us to view him in a different life other than his thug appearance that he is known world wide for. Ice T is the definition of started from the bottom made it to the top. While his route to get there may not have always followed the law his journey of determination and survival is electrically documented through different tales in this book. This book gives us an in depth look into the minds of one of the most successful gangsters of his gene ...more
Jun 26, 2011 Bridget rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I completely and totally enjoyed this book. I think the only times I put this book down was because I knew I had other things to do, had to take care of my little men, or I was really tired. It was a hard book to put down and when I was doing other things, this book was always creeping up telling me to read you like Ice T or not, it's very much worth reading...Especially the men...of every age...But it seems to be more directed at teens and young adults.
Ray Campbell
Aug 03, 2016 Ray Campbell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
Like many autobiographies, Ice-T begins with sentimental details about his childhood. However, little Tracy, Ice's birth name, is orphaned and moved from New Jersey to L.A. to grow up in the loveless home an aunt and uncle. The story of his teenage years is really a history of the early years of the gangs of L.A. which is fascinating. The book then moves through his years of military service and later crime.

About half way through, we get to Ice-T the rapper and his rise to fame, fortune and a su
Deborah Cottrell

This was a awesome raw, honest and for real as you can get story by Ice. Yes a gangster from the hood with a inspiring story especially for are youth of today, yesterday, and the future. After reading this book you will feel,like I did, I hope, about how one man who came from nothing and his struggling journey to a successful life without forgetting were he came from as well as giving back to the trouble youth of today. As a huge fan, this is a unforgettable story. There's know
Mar 03, 2015 Crystal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it !

I give it 5 stars because it truly was not what I was expecting and I still loved it. It was very insightful into the legends of rap and to this man's life. I felt very inspired by his words and now very connected to the person. - not just to some of the characters i assumed he just 'played'. I wish there was more about Coco and him of course because I am also a big fan of her as well ,and I love his Mrs.Osbourne story . I think i'll carry that around on my heart forever! Thanks Mr.Tra
I was raised as an affluent half-white person who has been consuming popular culture produced by Ice-T since I was a kid. I also work in corrections, interact with convicted felons of all races daily, and have taken training on gang culture. Therefore, knowing what I know now I'm pretty conflicted about this book. On one hand, it's full of occasionally wise advice that Ice-T picked up through decades of life experience, and it fleshes out some of his earlier autobiographical work, such as the so ...more
Nov 20, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like to read about groundbreaking memoirs and this one wasn't the exception. I'm unaware if there are any other rap artists who wrote about their lives.
Many have criticized Ice for being self-aggrandizing but l like to think of that as merely subjective: people generally don’t like to hear others tell on how they reached success but we have to acknowledge the fact that we’re talking about a public figure, a TV personality or even celebrity to a lot of people, not our douchebag next door neighb
Apr 21, 2014 Byron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ice-T has probably now been on bulk rate network cop shows for twice as long as he was a rapper (that anyone listens to), and so his rap career is given relatively short shrift. You get a lot at the beginning about his career as a downtown car thief, as immortalized on that song from Mama Said Knock You Out, and a lot at the end about his career in movies, TV, Coco's ass, reality shows and what have, and just a little bit about the time he was a rapper, right there in the middle. The stuff on hi ...more
Robb Bridson
Feb 20, 2014 Robb Bridson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good autobiography is an attempt to make a story and tell something about the world from a distinct point of view out of the chaotic events of a life. It's like dream analysis.

Ice T has a lot of stories to tell and the guy is a great storyteller with a distinct point of view. His story is also about the gangsta life, business, Hollywood, and the similarities between them all. It's not a scholarly work; it's biased opinion, but it comes from more firsthand insight than most of us will have.
I am a fan of Ice-T from his New Jack City movie days and really enjoy him as Fin on Law & Order: SVU. I picked the book up because I like his Hollywood roles, I was interested in learning more about him, and I wanted to be able to booktalk it to the teens who are undoubtedly going to be interested in it.

So for teens: yup, they will love it! The length of the book is perfect; longer tomes would seem preachy and would scare off readers he will reach with these 240ish pages. He talks frankly a
Jul 02, 2011 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The audio version of this book is just great. The narrator chose forcefulness in many chapters to realistically get Ice’s message across in the tone, pitch, and rhythm that mirrors Ice’s spoken word. Ice-T’s music was around when I was in college and I didn’t pay too much attention to it. I do remember the controversy over the song, “Cop Killer” and the feelings I had as a Caucasian women who wasn’t “into” the gangsta rap scene that Ice lived and sang about. Hearing about that situation from Ice ...more
Jul 24, 2011 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Remember "Midnight chillin' at AM PM. Coolin' drinkin' apple juice in Evil's BM" coming from the speakers in dark parks on warm nights? Remember the O.G.s laughing, regaling how it use to be to young bucks like us? Remember street legends and ghetto mythology and brothers named Zeus in tank tops and creased Dickies? Remember the Colors soundtrack and title song?

If any of this sounds vaguely familiar this book will act as a time machine back to those conversations with those older cats. It will t
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 t

Mar 10, 2012 Craig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not bad - I've seen some other reviews that say Ice hyped up the thug life throughout the book, but I didn't get that vibe. I think he did a good job covering his life and how he got away from all of that. One thing that stuck with me was how he said several times that he didn't get hooked on dope and booze when he was younger, and how that probably helped save him from the same fate that so many of his friends endured. I think that's an important message to take from all of this - sure, its ok ...more
Nov 23, 2012 Fabio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ice-T delivers a tale of true life from the streets to success in the entertainment industry. Orphaned at an early age Ice-T has no one to turn to expect himself. Refusing to become a victim of circumstance he learns to navigate his way through life by adjusting to his surroundings. Moving from New Jersey to Los Angeles, the military, hustling in the streets and then to big-time entertainment, Ice-T keeps his edge by moving forward at pace with the game.
Through his memoir Ice-T reflects on his
Oct 23, 2011 Phil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nick Mazur
I thought it was too brief. I know Ice is holding back. This could've been the definitive rap memoir. I don't think Ice is one of the greatest rappers of his generation, but he was always the most legit--he was a real criminal--and became a pretty good actor. Ice always represented himself adroitly and became the consummate Horatio Alger story of a bootstrapping, rags-to-riches orphan. It's just that this story develops in the gang-ridden L.A. of the '80s-'90s.

However, Ice does have some valuab
Niklas Pivic
I think there are five things that are integral to this, the semiautobiographical tome of Ice-T:

1. His upbringing.

MY FATHER, who was a church-going, nine-to-five guy—did his best to raise me on his own after my mother died. My aunt who lived right behind us helped to raise me, too. My father also had a housekeeper named Miss Sanoni—she was from the Deep South—and she would come over every day and cook these Southern dishes for dinner. So they all chipped in to raise me. Well, raise me? That’s ki
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Tracy Marrow, better known by his stage name Ice-T, is an American musician and actor.

He was born in Newark, New Jersey and moved to the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles when he was in the 7th grade. After graduating from high school he served in the United States Army for four years. He began his career as a rapper in the 1980s and was signed to Sire Records in 1987, when he released his debut al
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“That's one of the first things that comes out of young people's mouths when they're in love. FOREVER. And that's cool, it's all good-until you get old enough to realize what forever is.” 40 likes
“Never mumble some sarcastic shit to somebody who can obviously fuck you up.” 36 likes
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