Happy Anniversary: Ice-T, O.G. Original Gangster
Hey, you know that dude who plays Detective Fin Tutouola on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit? Did you know he used to be a rapper? True story. And we’ve got another truth to lay on you, too: 23 years ago today, he released the album that’s arguably the best effort in his entire discography.
While the title track of O.G. Original Gangster has gotten a lot of play over the years, as well it should have, the album came out in advance of the 1991 film New Jack City, in which Ice-T co-starred, so it also features the fondly-remembered “New Jack Hustler (Nino’s Theme).” The album also features a diversity of samples that’ll make your head spin, ranging from The 5th Dimension on “Mic Contract” to Parliament (“Dr. Funkenstein”) on “Bitches 2,” with Black Sabbath’s “Black Sabbath” and Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks” turning up on “Midnight” alongside Boogie Down Productions (“9mm Goes Bang”) and Eric B. & Rakim (“I Ain’t No Joke”).
When originally released, O.G. Original Gangster earned considerable acclaim from all the usual suspects, earning a spot on Melody Maker’s top 30 albums of 1991 and being praised by Rolling Stone as “a sprawling masterpiece that stands far and away as Ice-T’s finest hour.” That praise has not been diminished by time: The Source has since named it to their 100 Best Rap Albums list, and it can be found within the pages of 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
Basically, what we’re saying is that if you know that your days are numbered, you should probably give it a spin right now. And if you have already heard it? Well, good for you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spin it again…unless you’re at work, that is.
Always remember: O.G. Original Gangster might be the best thing Ice-T’s ever recorded, but it is absolutely, positively not safe for work.