Ice-T will not read this interview.
How do I know? Because that’s what the 54-year-old rapper-turned-actor told me when we had lunch at Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse in River North June 4. Ice — who is promoting his star-studded rap documentary “Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap,” in theaters Friday — said there’s no point in reading his interviews or concert reviews because he was there and knows what he said and did.
For those who weren’t sitting at the table with us in a private corner of the bar and didn’t see Ice spill potato chip crumbs on his lap and interviewer without a care in the world, here’s what he had to say.
[The following is an edited version of a longer conversation]
Ice-T: They got a hot dog in here?
Luis: No. That’s the one thing they don’t have.
Ice-T: They got something against hot dogs? How the (expletive) did I pick the one thing they don’t have? All right, (forget) it. I think I’ll maybe try the pulled pork.
Luis: When I told people I was interviewing you, they asked if your wife Coco was coming. Do you get that a lot?
Ice-T: Absolutely. We’re like Batman and Robin.
[The waitress takes our order]
Ice-T: You have lemonade? All right, I’d like lemonade. We’re ready to order too. I’m going to try the pulled pork sandwich with onion rings. … This is one of the rare occasions Coco is not with me. She, for the past 10 years, has been like my executive assistant. Her job is to stand right by me and keep me organized like some Sharon Osbourne stuff. Ozzy is great, but would he have a mansion if it wasn’t for Sharon? Somebody is holding this together. So Coco came in, and she goes to the “Law & Order (Special Victims Unit)” set with me, she got her own business that she’s running and she runs mine.
Luis: There are plenty of rappers with wives. Why did yours get so famous?
Ice T: I’ve always been a person that, if I’m with a woman, she’s in the picture. Even my son’s mom, Darlene, she was on my early (album) covers. I just feel like that’s a part of you. A lot of people play single to work some angle. I’m always about keeping it real. If that’s how I’m living, that’s how I’m living. Coco became popular because, of course she’s a bikini model and she’s beautiful, but she hit the urban market first, like all the magazines. She took time and got that fan base. They really respected her. At first, they were questioning her like “Who is this blond Ice is running around with?” Five years in, “You know what? She’s holding my man down.” And they gave her the thumbs up.
Luis: I saw your movie this morning. How difficult is it to schedule interviews with rappers (Eminem, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube) and get them to show up on time?
[Ice-T was a half hour late to lunch. But in his defense, he was coming from Indiana.]
Ice-T: It was not only difficult for them, it was difficult for me because I’m on “Law & Order.” I’m shooting this movie simultaneously. I callDr. Dre and he says “Come get me at 3.” You get there with a camera crew and somebody there is like “Dre is not going to be back ‘til 6.” You get there at 6 and it’s “What about tomorrow at 9 am? Dre is with his son.” Everybody is doing you a favor when you’re doing a documentary. You can’t pressure them into it.
Luis: Was it easy finding rappers willing to participate?
Ice-T: Absolutely. Everyone in the movie is my friend. All I did was crack open my address book on my laptop and make calls. I was like “Yo, I’m about to do a movie. I’m not going to ask about the money, cars, girls, jewelry or beefs. I want to know about the craft. Can I get an interview?” “C’mon, Ice, you serious? Yeah. Yeah. No one asks me those questions. I think that’s going to be dope.”
[The waitress brings out the food and says she forgot they no longer serve onion rings]
Ice-T: Lord have mercy. I can’t eat here. No hot dogs or onion rings? This is going in the newspaper.