Tuesday, September 05, 2006

It's A Braggadocious Game

Ice "T" And The Time - The Coldest Rap (Part One)

Ice-T’s debut rap on the 1982 track ‘The Coldest Rap’ is often credited as being the first ever example of gangsta rap. When later asked why this was so, Ice explained that traditionally, rap music was about battles between rival MC’s. ‘The Coldest Rap’ was the first track to change the opponent to the audience. Here’s a quote from an interview with Eric Berman in 1996 -

“It’s no more rappin’ about rappin’. Instead of saying, “I'll take your DJ and woowoowoo” in gangsta rap it’s, “I'll take you and blow your motherfuckin’ head off.” Rap always had an opponent, we just changed it. It’s a braggadocious game.”

Braggadocious needs to go into the dictionary. The wild boasts of the 22-year-old Ice are rather more amusing than I’m sure he intended. After he finishes reeling off a list of all his material possessions (which include an ocean liner, an island near France and some designer pants – go Ice!) he reveals the details of his birth –

“When I was brought into this world,
My Momma never asked if I was a boy or a girl,
‘Cause I rolled over to her and gave her a kiss,
She said, “Yo’ Daddy don’t rock me like this!””

It gets even better. He proceeds to describe an evening out with a girl. After the obligatory fine wine and food, Ice takes her back to his place where they make love “in 50 different positions” all night. So far, so predictable. What you don’t expect is that, perhaps worried that we won’t believe the tales of his sexual prowess, he proceeds to imitate the girl recounting how great he is in bed. It’s very stupid and a bit Monty Python. Maybe he meant it to be so. With lines like, “We had rocked so hard, made a snooty fox bark”, I wonder if his tongue wasn’t somewhere in the vicinity of his cheek.

The track featured The Time, the band formed by future super producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis on keys and bass, who had Prince protégé Morris Day on vocals. Given these players, it’s not surprising that the music is damn funky, with a brilliant bass solo and sci-fi keyboard flourishes. There’s an atmospheric wind blowing throughout the track, and despite the ridiculous braggadociousness of the lyrics, Ice has a devastating pitch.

Ice-T's official website and info on Wikipedia
The official website of Morris Day and The Time here and info for The Time on Wikipedia
Search eBay for rare Ice-T vinyl or buy Ice-T albums from Amazon