Ice-T Defends Nicki Minaj in Summer Jam Debacle, But Says Rap is Going Pop

Ice-T is in full promotion of his documentary, Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap. During it, he recently sat down with TIME Magazine.

During the interview, the hip-hop legend was asked if he thinks rap and pop have to stay separate with the Hot 97 Summer Jam and Nicki Minaj’s single, “Starships” as a pretense.

To that, Ice proceeded to defend Minaj’s walking away as the headliner from the event, but did make his point that rap may be getting a little too pop.

“Rap will always be critical of itself,” Ice-T told TIME. “That’s just part of it. The Nicki Minaj situation, I think that was not a good call. If they don’t want to respect her, I don’t think they should have invited her.”

Of course, he’s referring to the now-infamous situation between New York City radio station, Hot 97, and Young Money’s Nicki Minaj. After Hot 97 personality Peter Rosenberg labeled Nicki’s pop-friendly single, “Starships,” as “bullshit” hours before Summer Jam began on June 3, Lil Wayne decided to yank Minaj as the concert’s headliner, stirring a ton of controversy.

Although, Ice-T didn’t think it was right for Rosenberg to diss Nicki, he does feel rap may be getting a little too pop.

“In the movie, Mos Def quotes Q-Tip: ‘Rap is not pop. If you call it that, then stop,’” Ice continued to tell TIME. “The true origin of rap is counter-culture. The true origin of rap is say something that they’re not saying on the radio. So when you kind of blend into what popular culture is doing, you’re losing the power of hip hop.

“We’ve got to keep rocking the boat,” he said. “We’ve got unemployed people, we’ve got a black President, we’ve got election year, we’ve got Occupy Wall Street. If you’re just going to rap about ‘I got money and we balling,’ and all that, you’re not doing with it what it was meant to do. It’s meant to rock a party, but it was meant to change the world.”

And it’s no surprise that the author of the notorious single, “Cop Killer,” isn’t quite into any rappers’ attempts to reach a pop audience.

“I’ve never really been into pop rap but, hey, if that’s what some of these artists want to do, that’s cool, but then they can’t feel like they’re going to be welcomed in that hard-core club where it’s really just spitters,” he said.

The Art of Rap interview-based documentary features the likes of Snoop Dogg, Eminem and Nas and is scheduled to open in theaters Friday (June 15)—Mark Lelinwalla

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  • Decatur ATL BOI

    I concur. Rap is becoming a “Pop” brand, there is no one speaking about things that really affect the people in a social change type of way. There is only so many ways you can talk about weed, girls and money before it’s really just the same song on a different beat. The listener, the consumer is to blame because we support the monolism of it all instead of demanding something different. It takes courage to be different, it takes a coward to follow the the trend. Be a person of courage….

    • SlimmArmstrong

      VERY well said. Couldn’t have put it any better.

  • DoubleExcel

    What do you expect for something that has been around for 3 decades to not become popular? No need to state the obvious any longer. When it comes to social issues I don’t need musicians which are entertainers to inform me of what I should do when I have a mind of my own & know to do the right things at all times. If one has decided to be in a committed relationship and not cheat (which is the right thing to do) why do we need to hear Game or Common deliver that message in a song? Why because we don’t. Enjoy the music & Harlem on the rise.

    • jmicheal

      ok fair enough but I dont NEED to hear about someone smoking weed,fucking bitches, or getting money to do that either. Yes we listen to what we want but we’re not taking any responsibilty for anything. if weezy did a song about politics then everybody would be like yea politics is the shit. bbuuut he dont give a fuck about that so he wont sing about that. Hip-hop is about a message, rappers now-a-days have made that clear on what that message is.

  • atown don

    Who died & made Ice T the father or creater of Hip Hop.. This country is so different & diverse so people rap about what THEY see daily… IF i were from the MIA i may rap about palm trees, yachts, or lavish things cause even if i didnt grow up with it, thats what i saw & wished for…. Just like if i were from NY id be rapping about projects, rats, or other gulley shit! Who’s to tell another man what he/she can rap about…. When you do usually the older rappers, theyre hating! & Ice T you have no room to be critical of anyone simpin round with a plastic, stripper as your WIFE! Now whats REAL

  • Tic706

    Face the facts. Hip Hop was built from the streets. It was made by a people that had an unheard voice. Hip Hop is too diverse to be only represented with ignorance and frivolous things. Yes it is okay to rap about cars, money and hoodrats. But it is also okay and a must to rap about economics, poverty, social awareness and etc etc. I do not want my culture to be seen heard as only one midframe. Is that a lot to ask?

    Some people out here are not as shallow. We want to hear hear something of substance. We also want to hear some party jams. The balance is the key. And that is what is killing our culture. The mainstream and ignorant consumers have turned hip hop into this one dimensional look and sound.

    Most older rappers are not hating. Like most elders they are here to keep things in perspective. Things a young mind does not directly get yet. Let me ask you young cats this….when you are age 30 and up how much bullish are you going to want to hear? The older and wiser you get you demand more. Theres nothing that wrong with mindless entertainment but what undeveloped tadpole wants to only be entertained that way?

  • fuckyal

    iam 31 and it sads me with te bull shit thats been poping the last 8 to ten years. yes times going chnage but anit the music sopsed grow lokked the late 70s to mid 80s its was more one liners moveing the crowed . them 87 throw the 90s lyrics just kept geting deeper anit saying we didnt have the bull shit pop like hammer rob base t2live crew. but was a handful of pop now its a hand ful real hip hop and a shit load pop . and iam still a young man why was my glory days over in my early 20s cause there sucking the life out it
    peace .o yea pic that wordsworth photo album drop today its dopeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  • fuck yall

    sorry for the typeos was going to fast lol

  • http://none John

    Ice T’s right! If I wanted to kill a bunch of people I would just drive down Market street in San Francisco turn my steering wheel hard right and push the gas petal to the floor and I would kill more people on the crowded sidewalk than that joker/idiot in Colorado. What are the politicians going to do then? Outlaw cars? Alcohol related drinking and driving deaths kill more people every year than that nut job did in Colorado. But nobody’s outlawing Beer? Hell, there are ways to kill a lot of people that would be easier and harder to detect than using a shotgun like that jerk off did. Seriously. I won’t list any of them because I don’t want to give any psycho idiots any ideas but there are other ways and you can buy the things you need to do it at the supermarket, Target, Home Depot, an auto parts store, the gas station exct…. So are you going to shut down all of those businesses too? What happened in Colorado and anyplace else that has violence of ANY KIND is tragic but there are some real stupid people out there unfortunately.