He was born in Newark, New Jersey and started out with other west coast rap pioneers such as Kid Frost and Egyptian Lover with Electro recordings. Later on, he changed his style and was the first rapper from the west that got accepted by the east coast. His early producers include the Unknown DJ and especially Afrika Islam, the man behind the beats on 1987s Rhyme Pays, 1988s Power and 1989s The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech... Just watch what you say.
As the title of this third album suggests, Ice T was from the start not only a gangster rapper - he was one of the driving forces behind the new style - but also a political rapper. Seymour Stein called him "the Bob Dylan of rap", and this may be to the point. On "Freedom of Speech" Ice T attacked Tipper Gore for introducing the Parental Advisory sticker. In 1991, Ice's fourth album, Original Gangster, came out; including raps about child abuse and drunk driving as well as the theme song from the movie New Jack City by Mario van Peebles, the movie that re-launched Ice's career as an actor. Ice also got to be the lead singer/shouter of his metal band Body Count and made a song called "Cop Killer" in 1992, eventually causing Warner Brothers to drop Ice. Virgin Records released his next album Home Invasion (1993), an album with many political raps as well as featuring a new female rapper named Grip and Ice's DJ Evil E as a rapper. On VI - Return of the Real, Ice returned to his gangster rap roots. 7th Deadly Sin (1999), one of the first records to be distributed via mp3 before via record stores, continued in this vein. In both cases, the music was updated while not breaking any new ground. In the year 2000, Ice teamed up with East Coast pioneer Kool Keith from the Ultramagnetic MCs to form the Analog Brothers - a very successful (at least artistically) experiment. The same year also brought Ice-T's Greatest Hits: The Evidence.