Rapper Ice-T appeared on WNYC/Public Radio International’s The Takeaway today, and answered host John Hockenberry’s question about his contribution to the current culture of narcissism in pop music, “where everything is about me, me, me,” Hockenberry said.
To which Ice-T, promoting a new memoir, Ice, replied: “Narcissism is part of the hip-hop culture; a rapper doesn’t say ‘I’m kind of OK.’ He says ‘I’m the best, my DJ is the best.’
“Rappers are built-in promoters, we’re always yelling our record label in our raps, we’re saying get our record, so we mastered shameless promotion, but I think that all stems from where it came from—it came from kids who really didn’t have anything; so a lot of that narcissism is connected to a false reality: ‘I have a mansion and a yacht and I live in the projects.’ You’re trying to empower yourself through the lyrics.
“Myself, I’ve come under the gun for my raps because a lot of times when I rap, I don’t rap as myself, I put myself in the place of other characters, and a lot of people, they don’t understand that; they think everything I say is Ice-T, but that’s not the case.”
What can an average DJ “take away” from Ice-T’s experience? Does it help to shamelessly self-promote at your gigs?
“Always,” says DJ Ang, who spins in nightclubs and restaurants in Los Angeles. “I’m not afraid to get on the microphone and tell people who I am,” he says. “But there is a balance, you just need to find that balance.”