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Ice-T Quotes

Tracy Lauren Marrow

Ice-T quotes: on growing up with no parents, surviving the streets, karmic debt, how to be cool, and more.

“Your dream is your dream and only your dream. No matter how much you sit in front of me and tell me about your dream, it’s not my dream. It’s your dream and no one’s gonna push for it like you. You could sit me and I could say, ‘Yeah, I hear you. I feel you. I feel you.’ Five minutes later I’m back into my sh*t. I’m into mine. I gotta deal with what’s mine. So whatever is yours, you gotta go for it. Nobody, not even your man is gonna want it as much as you and if you don’t have that drive it’s not gonna happen. It’s just not gonna happen.”

“When there’s a will, there’s a way.”

“You gotta be willing to put in that level of work. It just doesn’t drop outta the motherf*cking sky.”

“The truth is, everybody I’ve ever met who’s successful is a workaholic.”

“I’ve never been competitive with anybody but myself.”

“When somebody takes it to another level, it lets everyone else know there is another level. ‘Damn. That’s somethin’ I could do. Damn. That can be reached.’ We put these limits but there’s really no limit.”

“I think everybody wants to redeem themselves after they’ve done something that might be considered negative. I don’t think anyone wants to go to the grave negative.”

“Redemption just means you just make a change in your life and you try to do right, versus what you were doing, which was wrong.”

“Winners have to absorb losses. Being cool is when you win, you don’t get too happy; and when you lose, you don’t get too mad.”

“That’s basically the gangster code. Just be yourself. Just be you, dog. The easiest way to get your card plucked around a gangster is to be a fake. If we feel like you’re trying too hard, if you’re trying to act like you’re from the street, you’re in trouble.”

“It’s not about being mad at everything. It’s about being really mad at the right things.”

“As an artist, you need the naysayers and the nonbelievers to add fuel to your creative fire.”

“When you start a business, go for the lowest hanging fruit.”

“One of the things about powerful people is they have the ability to make it look easy.”

“I’m competitive in that I would like to outsell my last record.”

“I’m very much against the anonymity of bloggers and social media. I just hate it and I think it’s really cowardly.”

“Being happily married, I’m more focused on what I’m doing. Ya know, one of my quotes is ‘love isn’t looking somebody in the eyes, it’s looking out in the same direction.'”

“Passion makes the world go round. Love just makes it a safer place.”

“There is no such thing as a normal family so don’t trip off it, just deal with it.”

“I’m an orphan. I don’t have any living relatives, so I was kind of thrown into South Central Los Angeles to try to figure it out. You got the gangs over here. You got the hustlers. You got the girls. You gotta figure out. I don’t got no backup, so I don’t have family or brothers, so I gotta connect to the right cats that got my back.”

“My mother passed when I was in the third grade, my father when I was in the seventh, and that’s when I was shipped to Los Angeles to live with an aunt. My father’s family came from Virginia and Philadelphia. He wasn’t a brother who talked a lot. He was a workingman. A quiet, blue-collar dude.”

“You trying to make it in this city, these motherf*ckers will eat you alive, you dig? I always was trying to figure it out. I was always reaching to be a little bit smarter, a little bit more intelligent. You don’t have to be in the gang. You just gotta get the gang on your side. If you’re a likable person, you can move around, so I figure early in LA that no one’s afraid of anybody, but if they love you, you good, so love is more important than fear.”

“All of my friends that people feared are dead because that don’t last, but if people like you… see, okay, say I got a close group of friends around me that love me, right, then they talk well about me to another circle of friends and they talk well about me to another circle of friends… and that protects me. Now, when you’re in danger is when your closest circle turns on you and they open the door to the second level that can come get you, so it’s very important you make sure the people really close to you are happy and ain’t in that zone, but I figured all this stuff out and I was trying to figure out what to do in LA and I wanted to be popular. I wanted to be cool, and music was never ever… I can’t sing. I can’t play any instrument, so I never thought that was ever gonna be… acting, all this stuff I’m doing now is so far from what I thought my life was gonna be.”

“That’s where it started. I wanted to do parties and I found out that I would get more attention from these little rhymes I had written. You got to remember, nobody had ever made no money rapping yet. No one had bought a car rapping yet. I was like, ‘Cool.’ Eventually they let me get on the mic. I went up there saying whatever I had to say. That was my first taste of standing in front of large audiences.”

“I think I’m a musician first. More of a writer, whether I’m writing books or writing raps, or just a lyricist and a writer first. Bottom line—hustler, bottom line. That just was a vehicle for me to get out of trouble, so I had to figure something out and that kind of was dropped in my lap. I always had a gift of gab. I was always a good conversationalist. I was always good at that, and sometimes, you don’t know what’s gonna be your gift and that turned out to be my gift, my communication ability.”

“Well, I am very happy that I was able to play a part in bringing music from the streets onto the radio and into modern culture. I worked very hard and always believed in the sounds I was creating.”

“If I’m going to be known, if I want to go down in the books, I can’t just live the game, I have to document the game. And that’s how I’m going to be known about the average cat on the street. There’s a lot of Ice-Ts out here. They just ain’t made no records. They just ain’t wrote no books. So I said I’ll document the game. When you listen to my music, don’t listen to it like a rap record. Listen to it like me telling you stories over music.”

“I started writing rhymes first and then put it to the music. I figured out I could lock it to the beat better if I heard the music first. I like to get a lot of tracks, put the track up and let the music talk to me about what it’s about.”

“I write rhymes with addition and algebra, mental geometry.”

“The music led to the acting. But movies aren’t something you can just will yourself into. Someone has to choose you, and you have to be quite fortunate to be chosen.”

“As an actor, you can do what you want with your role. That’s why they hire you; to take the role and make it real.”

“I’m at a point where I don’t have to wait for the income from the record to survive, so I’m in a comfortable zone, but I’ll make rap records as long as I feel I have something to rap about.”

“I’m always about keeping it real. If that’s how I’m living, that’s how I’m living.”

“I’ve evolved, but I’m the same dude, I’m just in a different place. We all change, we all grow. I shouldn’t be in the same place that I was 30 years ago; I should be more intelligent, you know.”

“I’m cool. I said I’ve completed my PhD in testing the system and I lived to tell and I got away with enough felonies for everybody in this room so I’m cool. I’m not going to break the law. I don’t break the law. I don’t jaywalk in New York. But I believe honestly now, the way my life has changed, that if I break the law or I cross you or even lie to you with the intent to take advantage of you, I’ll die. I believe I’ll suffer instant karma. Because, I got away. I’m so lucky in my life today. I got a beautiful kid. I got a beautiful life. For me to go back in that dark world, I can’t do it. I can do it with my music. I can revisit those thoughts and the ways of thinking, ‘cause they’re very familiar to me. But I don’t want that. I’m in search of peace. I’m in search of helping my friends.”

“It’s just a moment in your life where you just say, ‘I gotta make another decision, I gotta change.'”

“I never smoked weed. I have no tattoos and I don’t get high. People like, ‘That’s bullsh*t.’ I’m like, ‘No that’s the truth, ask the homies.’ I was the designated sober n*gga before they had a name for the designated driver.”

“My dad taught me whatever you’re gonna do, you gotta be a professional. If you’re gonna be legit, you’re legit. You don’t deal with criminals, you don’t cross that line. If you’re a criminal, you don’t deal with legit people. You don’t straddle the line, you’re picking one or the other.”

“I’m not somebody right now that’s in search of any kind of credit. I mean, I’ve had a very extreme life, a very extreme career. I’ve gotten my share of everything. I’m good. I’m good. You know? I don’t feel anybody owes me sh*t. It’s like you eat what you kill. You know what I’m saying? You know, you gotta go out here and bust your ass. That’s why I got so many different jobs, because I like fly sh*t. I want fly sh*t. And it just don’t come from sitting on your ass. So, when I figured out I could do a little acting, do a little rapping, create another band, write a couple books, produce some TV show, do all the directing… I’m just trying to do everything.”

“You’re only here for a short period of time man. You know, you gon’ sleep whether you want to or not. You gon’ pass out, and between that bust yo ass. You know what I’m saying? Sleeping is not a choice. You will go unconscious. So, when that happens, go unconscious. Then, when you get yo ass up, get back to work. You dig what I’m saying?”

“I ain’t turning down no kinda work, no kinda work. You, you know, I mean I got to hustle the rest of the way out, man.”

“People think I’ll kill you if you make a joke. I compare it to Clint Eastwood. I’ve only seen Clint Eastwood in movies. You think if you make a joke to Eastwood, he might shoot you?”

“I like to just be around people that I love… and positive energy now.”

“I’ve lectured at Stanford, Princeton and Harvard, to name a few. I just might be smarter than you.”

“I’m a pretty open book, I’m also the kind of person that will say, ‘That’s none of your business,’ too.”

“The key to being ‘Ice cool’ is when you win, you don’t get that happy. When you lose, you don’t get that sad. It’s like, ‘Ice, you just won the lotto,’ I’m like, ‘Word.’ ‘Ice, somebody just wrecked your car,’ ‘Damn.’ That’s how you become Ice, you dig?”

“I think my brand is honesty. I think, you know, people go, ‘Ice, even if Ice is doing a lemonade commercial, that motherf*cker does not give a f*ck and he’s just being Ice,’ ya know. So, once you find out that that’s what your brand is, it’s a blessing ‘cause you just do you and you don’t have to fake the funk.”

Related: Ice Cube quotes.

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