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

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,366 ratings  ·  187 reviews
My life's been a great story / In the ultimate war / Should I ill or do right? / Make peace or go raw? —Ice-T, "Exodus"

He's a hip-hop icon credited with single-handedly creating gangsta rap in the 1980s. Television viewers know him as Detective Odafin "Fin" Tutuola on the top-rated TV drama Law & Order: SVU. But where the hype and the headlines end, the real story of Ice-T
Hardcover, 251 pages
Published April 19th 2011 by One World/Ballantine (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  1,366 ratings  ·  187 reviews

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Kimberly Hicks
May 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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.

Melissa Lee
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
Jan 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Surprise! This is really good. I have a whole new respect for Ice T. aka Tracy Marrow. First of all let me say, this book was not even remotely on my radar but it might be life changing. Or maybe this just my reaction as a new excited reader of the Memoir/Autobiography genre. I think it was what Ice had to say and not my over enthusiasm and voracious hunger for this genre that is a new discovery to me.

I don't want to give too much away and spoil it for any future readers. But I will say I
Armand Rosamilia
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The only thing I have in common with Ice-T is we were both born in Newark NJ and we both write books. Otherwise... I was especially enthralled with his early life and the major heartaches he had to overcome and the pain he suffered at such an early age. Most kids would not recover, and end up on the streets like all of his friends did. In jail. Dead. A life of crime. The fact he rose above and is living his dream is amazing.
Jul 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I first heard about Ice T through the band Body Count, but I wasn't much of a fan of his music. I picked this up out of curiosity mostly and was glad I did. When you read a book like this you never know what to expect. As an artist he's influential and was a cornerstone of gangster rap, but there are a variety of people reading this that came in through various stages of his career so it covers every aspect and for the most part doesn't hold anything back.

Like it or not, Ice is a role model, an
Jun 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 warr ...more
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wanted a little bit more than just 20 or so pages on his career in Body Count... And for it to cover their other 4 (at the time) albums and not just the "Cop Killer" controversy we're all so familiar with at this point... but all in all a fascinating, insightful and comprehensive tale. ...more
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: celebrity, audio-book
I admit that the only version of Ice-T I'm really familiar with is from Law & Order SVU. I knew he was a rapper with a history but that's about it. This memoir was so good. Ice talks about growing up without parents, basically being gangster-adjacent (my term, not his) as he never officially picked a side or was initiated, keeping on the drug and alcohol free path, becoming a young father, joining the army, his brief time AWOL, honorable discharge, near death car accident, becoming an infamous r ...more
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Hard to put down! A lot of wisdom, experience, and perspective in this. I loved hearing him reminisce about Body Count playing with other bands in the 90s LA punk scene.
Jesse Tow
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the book for you if you've ever wanted to not only know how the jewelry theft and pimp games operate, but also chart the evolution of gangsta rap from its inventor and first mainstream star.

Ice drops a lot of advice. Never forget: one down bitch is worth ten funky hoes, and slow motion is better than no motion.
Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 29, 2011 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
Jun 02, 2014 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
Sep 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
This memoir was surprisingly good. Tracy Marrow (Ice-T) has definitely led a storied life. From life as a South Central thief to a Hollywood star, Ice-T proves that with determination you can rise above unfortunate circumstances and live a respectable life. His story is worth reading. Aside from the gang terminology and street language, which I suppose is necessary to tell the story, it is smartly written and a quick and easy read. I learned there is a lot more to this man than what he has proje ...more
Jun 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Randall Jackson
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was written in the tradition of the writing of one of Ice T's most influential figures, Iceberg Slim. If you've read and enjoyed any of Iceberg Slim's book you'll love "Ice" . This is a surprisingly entertaining and well told story of a contemporary star who grew up in the same neighborhood, attended the same high school and shared the same intimacies of experience as myself. This book is a true representation of what it's like to grow up in the neighborhood. Great reading. ...more
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Only way it would have been better is if Ice T read it himself.
J. Mauldin
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the best memoirs I've read yet. So much real talk. ...more
Niklas Pivic
Jul 22, 2011 rated it liked it
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
George Slade
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
What a ride! Ice-T doesn't hold back in this one, and who would have expected him to anyway?

I would have had this finished in one day, but I stopped for a few hours to write and record a song. Trade offs, right?

So luckily for Ice, there's a statute of limitations on a most types of crimes, the types of crimes he committed as a youth and young adult. The story of how he goes from a kid in the Jersey suburbs to an orphan youth in south central is sad and raw. He tells in great detail what type of
Marisa Gonzalez
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ok....let me be honest....I like Ice-T and Coco! LOL! Yes, really! I think they are a genuine couple and whenever I see them together I always see a chemistry between them regardless of some of their marriage issues. In this book, Ice talks about his life with honesty. Orphaned at a young age, he was forced to provide for himself by joining the military and later turning to a life of crime before finding his true calling as a rapper and later as an actor. I enjoyed this book. I would have given ...more
Megan Garrett
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-books
Ice-T's life is so interesting. He used to steal small designer bags, he went AWOL from the Army, and somehow found his way onto Law & Order SVU. Unfortunately this book is from 2011, so I'm sure some things have changed. I would like an update! I also would have enjoyed this much more if Ice-T had narrated it himself. The guy reading it did a good job, but sometimes I forgot it was about Ice-T. I really prefer that celebrities tell their own story. ...more
Alan Hunter
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely could not put this book down. Respect for the man and all that he stands for. What you are doing for the kids is totally wonderful. Health and good vibes to you!

Absolutely could not put this book down. Respect for the man and all that he stands for. What you are trying to do for the kids is wonderful beyond words. Health and good vibes to you!
Ruth Woodman York
I really enjoyed reading this book. There is a lot of harsh language in it. But learning about his childhood, teen years, and the environment he came of age in was intriguing. I liked the writing. Ice-T doesn't make excuses for any of his choices in life. I think he is a person I would like to sit down and just talk about whatever with. ...more
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Anne Taylor Loft: ICE: My thoughts. 3 9 Jun 04, 2012 11:17AM  
Anne Taylor Loft: MAY BOOK 6 9 Apr 26, 2012 09:20AM  

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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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