We last found our frozen friend Ice-T in 1989 with his 3rd release (as well as 3rd consecutive gold or better selling album) The Iceberg/Freedom Of Speech. Like his previous two efforts (Rhyme Pays and Power), The Iceberg covered the same topics: street drama, boasting and a few thought-provoking messages. If it aint broke don’t fix it, right?
Wrong. For his 4th album O.G. Original Gangster, Tracy does make one significant alteration: On the previous three albums, long time collaborator Afrika Islam exclusively held down production duties. Apparently Ice borrowed the DeLorean from Marty Mcfly, zoomed to the future to read my assessment of Islam’s underwhelming contribution on the last record, as he’s replaced at the helm by former Low Profile member, DJ Aladdin, who provides the majority of the production on O.G. Original Gangster. The album would become Tracy’s 4th consecutive album selling gold or better and is considered by many to be his best album to date, evening making The Source’s top 100 hip-hop albums of all time.
On a more somber note, this is the second consecutive Ice-T album to not have his beautiful ex-wife Darlene Ortiz gracing the album cover. Hopefully the music makes up for what the cover lacks.
Home of the Bodybag– This is a short intro over a DJ Aladdin instrumental that finds Tracy blurting excerts of verses and song titles from past songs, while still managing to drop the title of this intro. LA: Home of the Bodybag. A tag line that is sure to make tourist come in flocks.
First Impression – Some random chick with a british accent (who sounds extremely hot) speaks about her first impression of Tracy after hearing his music. She eloquently disses him before completely making a 180 on her opinion, which I found both comical and extremely attractive at the same time. Who is this chick? I want to see pics, yo!
Ziplock – In the span of one quick verse Tracy discusses everything from his gold records, his pit bull named Felony, his willingness to sign an autograph for you, but if you look at him the wrong way you might be leaving this earth in a body bag aka ziplock (interesting that two of the first three songs reference a bodybag…obsessed much). Ice does a serviceable job and the Aladdin instrumental was decent.
Mic Contract – Instead of physically doing it, Tracy uses three verses to articulate how he will verbally kill you on the mic. Aladdin’s instrumental was kind of interesting, and Tracy turns in a serviceable performance, but he doesn’t contribute anything that will make you hit the rewind button.
Mind Over Matter – Our Frozen friend shows some of his lyrical dexterity over a sick Aladdin instrumental. The only issue with this song is the first verse, where Tracy sounds like he was awaken from a deep sleep and forced to spit a rhyme against his own will. He’s fully awake by the time verse two rolls around, though.
New Jack Hustler – This was released as a single from The New Jack City soundtrack, in which Ice-T also starred in (who can forget “I wanna shoot you so bad my dick’s hard”? Or Chris Rock as the crackhead Pookie…but I digress). Tracy spits verses from the perspective of Nino Brown (the drug lord from New Jack City) and again displays his underrated lyrical ability. Aladdin provides a monster of an instrumental, which is starting to make me think he may be one the most unsung hip-hop producers of all time. Classic record.
Ed – Tracy spits one quick verse about his homeboy Ed, who apparently had it all until it all ended on one fateful night when decided to drink and drive. Considering the lighthearted Beatmaster instrumental and the nonchalant manner in which Tracy delivers the verse, I’m confused on what his intentions were on this one.
Bitches 2 – My first thought when I saw the title was that this was a sequel, but it should be read as “Bitches Too”. This one is dedicated to the brothers without heart or dignity, also know as punks and snitches. Our host spends 4 verses discussing 4 brothers who go out like chumps when things get tight. Once again, Aladdin’s instrumental is pretty interesting but it’s clearly too much for Tracy to handle.
Straight Up Nigga – Even though our Frozen host may be a mixed breed he wants the world to know what he is, and he clearly doesn’t have a problem with the word. Aladdin’s instrumental was lackluster but Ice does bring up some interesting points hidden within a plethora of nonsense. Too bad his delivery sucked. On a completely unrelated note, it was nice to hear Ice shoutout Lord Finesse.
O.G. Original Gangster – Aladdin brings a serious instrumental for this title song, which was also released as a single. Tracy does a lot of gangsta posturing on this one as he tries to come off like the hardest nigga alive, with the exception of the first verse when he attempts to explain away his Breakin days. Although Aladdin’s instrumental doesn’t hit as hard as I remembered it, this is still a decent song.
The House – Our host kicks one short verse about a boy and girl who are being abused by their parents. Tracy’s sleepy delivery detracts from the seriousness of the subject. It doesn’t help matters that Aladdin’s instrumental is garbage.
Evil E – What About Sex – Ice-T’s deejay Evil E begs him to spit a “sex rap” on this interlude. Tracy begins to tell a tale about a girl with crazy tail, and Evil D sounds like he has his dick in hand as he listens to Tracy’s story. Hopefully E is a fast performer because Tracy wraps up his story pretty quick.
Fly By – Tracy brings the crew in for this posse cut, and everybody provides forgettable verses for this forgettable song.
Midnight – This is kind of works as the sequel to Rhyme Pays “6 ‘N The Mornin’ “. Aladdin provides a pretty nice instrumental for Tracy’s storyline that sounds like a script for a Hollywood summer blockbuster action movie bound to flop. In song form its pretty decent, though.
Fried Chicken – I was waiting to hear tomatoes come flying at our host after hearing his momma joke that he opens up this short interlude with. This was a waste of time, but it did make me want to listen to Nas’ song which shares the same song title, but is a much better song.
M.V.P.’s – This is pretty much a 4 minute shoutout to all of Tracy’s people in the game. I could care less about any shoutout song, but the fact that this was placed at the midpoint of the album made me like this even less.
Lifestyles of the Rich And Famous – Our host talks about the ups and downs and day-to day life of a rapper. If the worst part of your day is having to throw women who look like gorillas out of your plush hotel room, you really have nothing to complain about.
Body Count – This is the introduction to Ice-T’s side project Body Count, a rock band he put together in which he was the lead man. I’m no rock expert but I can’t believe even a true rocker would appreciate this mess. Not only does this song suck but it doesn’t fit anywhere within the of context of O.G. Original Gangster. This was terrible.
Prepared To Die – Tracy spits a quick first about Freedom and Mandela. His content was cool but Ice’s delivery is choppy and rushed even with it being accapela. It doesn’t help it sounds like he’s reading the poem from the page. If you listen close enough I swear you can hear him turn the page in his notebook as he recites his lines.
Escape From The Killing Fields – Over an unimpressive Afrika Islam instrumental Ice encourages brothers to get out of the hood and seek out a better life. I partially agree with Tracy’s message, but the cops will kill a brother whether he’s in the hood, burbs, or on the moon. True story.
Street Killer – A short interlude with our frozen friend describing strong attributes for any gangster. I won’t give any more details, so you can listen to it and fully appreciate its cleverness.
Pulse of the Rhyme – Now this is what I’m talkin’ bout. Aladdin provides a serious instrumental and not only are Tracy’s lyrics up to par but so is his delivery and execution. This is a banger.
The Tower – Tracy paints the picture of prison from an inmates perspective. The Bilal Bashir produced track reminds me of his classic record “Colors”, only this instrumental doesn’t work as the synthesized instrumental sounds synthetic.
Ya Shoulda Killed Me Last Year – Tracy’s last words, thoughts, disses, and special shoutouts to Kipper Gore, Bush and Mrs. Bush.
At 24 tracks in length O.G. Original GangsterO.G is way over loaded, so naturally there are some throw away songs along the journey. Aladdin does provide some pretty entertaining instrumental for Tracy to spit over, but like his previous works he’shows glimpses of his potential but his sloppy delivery is a dark cloud that follows him throughout O.G. Original Gangster. There are a few great songs on the album but the majority range from average to garbage.