Ice-T – The Iceberg/Freedom Of Speech…Just Watch What You Say

icet-the-iceberg-freedom-of-speech-watch-what-you-sayThe Iceberg/Freedom Of Speech…Just Watch What You Say” was the third studio album by west coast “gangsta rap” artist Ice-T that dropped on 10/10/1989.  The album went as high as # 37 on the Billboard charts and #11 on the Rap charts.  The album cover depicted a young man wearing a Raiders cap with 2 pistols pointed to his head and a shotgun shoved in his mouth. Censorship was at an all time high, and Ice-T used it to his advantage.  The album was produced by Afrika Islam and Ice-T himself.

The first track we heard off this album was “Lethal Weapon” where he samples Rakim’s line from “Microphone Fiend” where he says,

A menace to a microphone, a lethal weapon
An assassinator, if the people ain’t stepping

Over a “Razor Blade” sample, Ice T raps metaphorically when he says that his “lethal weapon is his mind“.  Great track to introduce his third LP.

E-V-I-L E and Ice-T are on a jack move
Layin down the dope groove, smokin those who disapprove
Wreckin the deck, you’ll regret if you cross punk
Rollin like a Mack truck, waxin those who talk junk
Violent your end, I got your face in my crosshairs
Wanna see your dome bust sucker cause I don’t care
Nuttin bout you, your crew, because you talk shit
I’m the Lethal Weapon boy, ridin the apocalypse
If you’re in my way, then lay beneath the ground soon
Violence is my business fool, the microphone of doom
Mission that’s to cure all punks as I bust caps
Peelin your back, my ammunition hollow-point raps
You try to run, that makes it even more fun
I just cold lamp and vamp you with the shotgun
Cops try to flex.. but guns they’ll never find..
My Lethal Weapon’s my mind!

Ice always has time to drop a positive message, and on “You Played Yourself” he does just that.  He would get a bad rap (no pun intended) for his violent lyrics, but at the end of almost every song, the drug dealer/banger always get’s “what he deserves”. Over the beat of James BrownThe Boss” he raps,

“Nobody put the crack into the pipe/Nobody made you smoke off your life/You thought that you could do dope and stay cool/Fool!/You played yourself!”

There are 2 “sex tracks” on this album and both are dope!  On “The Iceberg” he takes turns to tell us about how his crew (Evil E, Charlie Jamm and Donald D) got their “freak-ons” while on tour and on “The Girl Tried To Kill Me” he raps over a heavy guitar riff as he tells a tale of an over-exaggerated “sex romp” with a classic ending to the story.

On “What Ya Wanna Do?” he recruits the Rhyme Syndicate to go 2 rounds on this almost 9 minute track.  Toddy Tee, Everlast and Donald D all drop dope lyrics.  To me the gem off this album is “The Hunted Child“.  On a track that sounds like Chuck D and Flavor Flav were going to jump out and add their own verse!   Living on the streets of South Central Los Angeles either you are the hunter or the hunted.  Ice T flows,

I’m only 17, I didn’t mean to kill, man
But I was slangin’ and bangin’ for the thrill, man
When they said (Kill!) I felt chill, man
But once I pulled the trigger, boy, then things got ill, man
My homeboys dipped out the back fast
Left me alone in the echo of the gun blast
Everybody saw my face, I didn’t wear a mask
You wanna know my name? Just ask

Lastly, on “Peel Their Caps Back“, Ice raps about a revenge drive-by, only to get killed at the end of the song.  The lyrics are on the explicit side, but when the media only uses it to sell papers with no care about the “victims”, Ice shows the world what the media won’t tell you.  Great track a la “6 N The Mornin‘”!

Then all of a sudden, a bullet came through my eye
My dome exploded and I felt my other brothers die
I drank my blood as I fell like shit into the street
My corpse stunk like a burnt out rotten piece of meat
Ten brothers died in this stupid homicidal binge
Cause whenever someone dies, nobody wins
But this drama, you’ll never hear a word of
Cause all the paper’s gonna read is a gang murder
Gang murder

All together, it was a classic west coast gangsta rap album from one of the originators of the genre!  Groups like NWA, Above The Law, and Compton’s Most Wanted all were influenced and owe their careers to Iceberg Slim aka Ice “MF” T!

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