Someone like Ice-T doesn’t have to rap these days. At the age of 61, he’s watched the birth of hip-hop and it’s evolution since then. If it weren’t for him, many of the greats wouldn’t have been able to make their way through the door including Eminem. Back in Warped Tour in 1999, Em admitted, while standing alongside Proof, admitted that Ice-T’s “Reckless” was the first rap song he ever heard.
20 years later and Em stands as one of the greatest living lyricists in the history of hip-hop. It would be damn near impossible to watch him perform in front of a crowd now and watch him get boo’d. 1999 was a different time, though. Ice-T recently chopped it up with HNHH where he detailed meeting Em for the first time and watching the fairly new rapper take on a reluctant crowd.
I met Em when he was on Warped Tour and the white kids were booing him. The white kids were throwing shit at him. That’s when they used to use the term “wigger.” They didn’t like him because it was a punk rock tour. Now I was out there rapping, they didn’t have a problem with me, or with Black Eyed Peas before Franny. But when he got up there they felt it was ok to be disrespectful. And I watched him weather that storm.
But that interaction gave Ice-T a foreshadowing into Em’s intentions with rap. Ice-T remembered asking Em what he wanted out of the rap game to which Em responded, “Well I wanna be around like you and Dre.”
“Way back then he was concerned with longevity. And he was always a supernatural rapper, he was incredible, but was he going to be able to weather the storm? Now, the white kids love him! But he had to pay his dues. It was funny though, not funny, but he was getting more tension from the white audience than the black audience,” he added.