Friday, April 9, 2010

Freedom of Speech...Just Watch What You Say

I recently realized that we haven’t looked at any rap music through The Evil Eye. To make up for lost time, we’re going to do just that for the next couple of weeks. And what better record to start with than one of our all-time favorites?

It’s cool if you want to simply look at Ice-T as the mainstream celebrity that he is today. But you’d be forgetting that twenty years ago, he was releasing some classic records that deserve the same status afforded to that of Public Enemy and NWA. Although the O.G. Original Gangster album captures Ice at his creative peak, The Iceberg is my personal favorite due to its raw and unfocused nature. It’s a more violent-sounding album; a brutal rap attack that compelled Trouser Press to call it “a great-sounding but disturbingly confused mixture of right-on politics and repulsive vulgarity.” Obviously, they’re missing the point. The Iceberg was released after Ice had faced problems with censorship groups on tour, particularly in the South. The PMRC was also waging their obscenity war on a variety of bands during this time. As a response to the censors, Ice-T appeared to have decided to do the most punk rock thing possible—give them something to REALLY complain about. What’s so confusing about that?

The tone is set with “Shut Up, Be Happy”—a spoken word performance delivered by none other than Jello Biafra, and rendered over a sample of the “Black Sabbath” intro. And from there, it’s on. If you’re a concerned parent looking for something to complain about, it’s dished out in spades here. Sex and violence is abound in these tunes and taken to ludicrous levels for 1989. But the high-rolling gangsters go to jail or die in the end. Or they’re chased out of the house by an angry husband after banging his dominatrix wife. And then there’s other times when you just have to fuck with people because it’s fun, so you and the homies theorize over what it’d sound like to take a drill to a motherfucker’s skull. Finally, the album is gift-wrapped and sent to Tipper Gore and company by focusing on the First Amendment and extending a hale and hearty “fuck you” to the PMRC.

Don’t play yourself, kid. Get on the Iceberg.

1 comment:

SEAN ÄABERG said...

Dude, great posts lately. I'm gettin' these two to rock in the car today.