Before he became cool NYPD detective, Odafin Tutuola on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, he was rapping about killing police officers. He was a rapper with eight solo albums to his name who has also served in the US Army. Raised by a relative after the tragic loss of both parents to heart attack, the life of Tracy Lauren Marrow, more popularly known as Ice T was riddled with violence, and then success before he found a stability that only old age and maturity can bring. Who is Ice T? Read below to learn more about the rapper and actor.
Born Tracy Lauren Marrow, Ice T was born on February 16, 1958, to Solomon and Alice Marrow, Ice T had a difficult childhood, dealing with racism and the eventual deaths of his parents. He lost his mother when he was in third grade and his father followed suit at the age of 12. Both parents died of a heart attack leaving him as an orphan and so he was forced to move with his aunt in View Park-Windsor Hills in South Los Angeles. Ice T has lived in New Jersey while his parents were alive.
In Los Angeles, Ice T continued his education by attending Crenshaw High School. At Crenshaw High, he was exposed to a lot of violence as a result of the rising gang culture in the Los Angeles school system. Whilst Ice T was never a gang member, he had close affiliations with students who were gang members and his music career started with a gang song he wrote and performed.
He officially took music seriously and started a band with the singing group of Crenshaw High School. At the age of seventeen, having spent five years without his parents, Ice T began receiving social security benefits. The benefits were unable to cover his expenses and bills as he had a pregnant girlfriend at the time. Ice T began to sell cannabis and stole car stereos to make some extra income. Despite his illegal business ventures, Ice T still struggled to support his new family. Shortly after his daughter was born, he enlisted in the United States Army, serving for two years and two months.
Ice T, who would become famous for his music despite his controversial background fell in love with hip-hop while he was in the army. After he finished serving in the Army, Ice T pursued a career as an artist and disc-jockey, a skill he had picked up during his time in the army. A slow start to success as an artist forced Ice T back into a criminal lifestyle until a car accident gave him some perspective and he abandoned the lifestyle for good.
An open mic competition victory set him on his way to success as a music artist. He met record producer, Willie Strong in 1982 and they recorded his first song, Cold Wind Madness. Though the song never found mainstream success due to its hardcore lyrics, the song was popular in the underground world of music.
After the release of a few other singles, Ice T was signed by Sire Records, a major record label. He released his debut album Rhyme Pays in 1987. It was certified gold by the RIAA. He released his second album, Power in 1988 which was also certified gold. His fourth album, O.G Original Gangster was met with great success and it is considered one of the defining albums of gangster rap. Having not given up his love for heavy metal, Ice T formed a band Body Count in 1991 and they released an album, Body Count in 1992. The album featured the song Cop Killer that was met with controversy by the NRA and the government.
Till date, Ice T has released 19 albums – 8 solo albums, 6 Body Count albums, and 5 collaborative albums. He is also known to be an actor and made his acting debut in 1984 in the film Breakin’. Since then, he has appeared in over 20 films and starred in a variety of television shows including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit on which he has appeared in over 400 episodes as Detective Odafin Tutuola.
Ice T has been nominated for multiple awards including 3 Grammy Awards (won one), MTV Video Music Awards, MTV Movie Awards, among others.
Reality TV shows, successful albums, successful actor. All three ventures have helped Ice T build a net worth of $40 million. A far cry from the days he used to steal car stereos to support his girlfriend and young family.
Wife, Coco Austin, Kids
Although he had public relationships with Darlene Ortiz with whom he had a son named Ice Tracy Marrow, Ice T has only ever been married to Nicole Austin, more popularly known as Coco Marie Austin. The couple got married in January 2002 and renewed their vows nine years after on June 4, 2011. They have a child, Channel Nicole Marrow who was born in 2015.
Ice-T’s child with Coco makes his third child. His first child and daughter, LeTesha was born in 1976 when Ice T was in high school.
Ice T has recorded a string of achievements over his career. Some of the notable ones include – 3 Grammy nominations, including a win for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1991. Multiple Billboard charting albums and singles, NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. However, we think his greatest achievement was turning from a life of crime to become a well-respected icon in the industry.