On this day, October 10, in hip-hop history…
1989: After encountering censorship problems while on tour, Ice-T was inspired to create his grittiest album to date. The result was 1989′s The Iceberg/Freedom Of Speech…Just Watch What You Say!, an album dedicated to the frustrations Ice was feeling against the backlash of gangster rap’s would-be censors in the 1980s.
Produced primarily by Bronx producer/DJ Afrika Islam, the album features Ice lashing out at the critics of gangster rap music of the time. “Shut Up, Be Happy” sets the tone of the record with punk rock icon Jello Biafra delivering a spoken word intro mocking for authoritarian zealots while songs like “Freedom Of Speech” and “Black & Decker” find Ice denouncing would-be gangster rap censors for attempting to scrub clean the music clean without attempting to understand the culture.
Meanwhile, Ice-T is lyrically at his sharpest on the album, writing some of his finest music of his career. “You Played Yourself” tells the story of a would-be rapper who mistakenly believes his own gangster hype. Meanwhile, “My Word Is My Bond,” “The Iceberg,” ”The Girl Tried To Kill Me” and “The Hunted Child” find Ice at his storytelling finest, orating tales of shady women, corrupt cops and outlandish sexual boasts.
Twenty-four years later, The Iceberg/Freedom Of Speech is one of the best emblems of the early days of gangster rap and a testament to Ice-T’s place in hip-hop history.