This collection of essays critically engages with factors relating to black urban life and cultural representation in the post-civil rights era, using Ice-T and his myriad roles as musician, actor, writer, celebrity, and industrialist as a vehicle through which to interpret and understand the African American experience. Over the past three decades, African Americans have faced a number of new challenges brought about by changes in the political, economic and social structure of America. Furthermore, this vastly changed social landscape has produced a number of resonant pop-cultural trends that have proved to be both innovative and admired on the one hand, and contentious and divisive on the other. Ice-T’s iconic and multifarious career maps these shifts. This is the first book that, taken as a whole, looks at a black cultural icon's manipulation of (or manipulation by?) so many different forms simultaneously. The result is a fascinating series of tensions arising from Ice-T’s ability to inhabit conflicting pop-cultural roles including: ’hardcore’ gangsta rapper and dedicated philanthropist; author of controversial song Cop Killer and network television cop; self-proclaimed ’pimp’ and reality television house husband. As the essays in this collection detail, Ice-T’s chameleonic public image consistently tests the accepted parameters of black cultural production, and in doing so illuminates the contradictions of a society erroneously dubbed ’post-racial’.
Josephine Metcalf is Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Hull, UK. Will Turner is Lecturer in American Literature at the University of Manchester, UK.
’Metcalf and Turner have assembled an impressive collection of essays regarding one of hip-hop's most controversial and important figures. Covering a vast range of cultural fields, from reality television to film, crime drama acting to politics, video games to entrepreneurship, ageing and masculinity, the book embraces the Renaissance Man spirit that makes Ice-T, and hip-hop culture, so complex and valuable.’ Justin Williams, University of Bristol, UK ’These wide-ranging and analytically sharp essays speak to the maturity of hip-hop studies as a field and bring home the reach of contemporary hip-hop culture through the career of one iconic individual. Ice-T’s success captures the immense creative and commercial versatility of hip-hop culture, and crystallizes trends in the conglomerated cultural industries - the power of rap celebrities to build and sustain their careers in a corporate-dominated media environment.’ Eithne Quinn, University of Manchester, UK