O.G. Original Gangster

Album: O.G. Original Gangster (1991)
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Songfacts®:

  • Ice-T has a combination of savvy street smarts and a nose for narrative that gave him a credible claim to the "original gangster" title. He grew up in South Central Los Angeles surrounded by gangs, but like Dr. Dre, was more interested in making music and money than in getting himself killed.

    On this track, he stakes out his position, explaining that where he comes from, you have to pick your battles, and you'd best not battle him.
  • This is the title track to Ice-T's fourth album. He had done four years in the Army before starting his rap career. After releasing a few singles, he got a deal with Sire Records, a division of Warner Bros. His first album, Rhyme Pays, was released in 1987 and came with a warning label - a great marketing move that helped him land the gig doing the theme song to the 1988 gang-life movie Colors. Rap music, especially the gangster variety, was pushing into the mainstream in 1991, and he was on the vanguard. What set him apart was his incredibly clear delivery and his storytelling, skills that also made him an acclaimed actor. On screen, he's played a cop on more than one occasion, starting with New Jack City in 1991 and famously in a long-running role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, starting in 2000. Some have a hard time reconciling his gangster persona with his acting roles, but in both cases he is playing a character, using his life experience as a guide.
  • Ice-T produced this track with DJ Aladdin (Alphonso Henderson) and SLJ (Shafiq Husayn). The drums are sampled from "Synthetic Substitution," a 1973 song by Melvin Bliss.
  • This runs 4:43 on the album but was cut down to 3:56 for the single. The video opens with Ice-T checking his answering machine and hearing messages from (presumably) his record label suggesting he do some party tunes and taking on a flashy image. He's not having it.

Comments: 1

  • Red from United StatesI remember a buddy of mine played this while sitting in the humvee. I'm not much of a rap fan but I can tolerate it at times. Lol.
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