London: A lot of vocalists sing and rap about situations and events they haven`t experienced.
Ice-T isn`t one of them.
One of the first "gangsta rappers," Ice-T rhymed about hustling, banging and pimping on the mean streets of south-central Los Angeles.
Turns out, the lyrics Ice-T spewed, first as a solo rapper and later as the frontman of the thrash-metal outfit Body Count were the musings of a man who has lived them.
In his book, "Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption — from South Central to Hollywood," Ice-T describes how he "rapped about the (stuff) I knew firsthand... To me, it was just the life I was living. If anyone asked me at the time, I called it `reality rap.`"
Based on that definition, let`s call this a "reality book" — a tell-all that really does tell all.
And it`s as cool as its namesake.
"Ice" is full of vivid descriptions of the never-boring life of the man born Tracy Marrow.
Raised as an only child in New Jersey, he became a pre-teen orphan whose parents both died of heart attacks. Shipped to live with his alcoholic aunt in L.A., Marrow had a front-row seat for the early years of the West Coast gangs as a student at Crenshaw High School.
He eventually graduated to becoming a street hustler and thief who was shot at by a security guard and nearly killed in a car accident. Hospital officials didn`t know who he was, since, as a criminal, he never carried identification.
Marrow served a nearly four-year stint in the Army, stationed in Hawaii, where he credits an old-school sergeant with shaping his later career arc.
The Vietnam vet, referred to only as Donovan, screamed at Marrow that he was in the service simply because he couldn`t make it in civilian life.
"More than anything else, that`s the one statement that propelled me to where I`m at today. I give Sergeant Donovan all the credit," Ice-T writes.
"Ice" also provides readers with a behind-the-scenes look at his genesis as an actor, including how director Mario Van Peebles came across Ice-T in a club and hired him to portray an undercover cop in the influential early `90s flick, "New Jack City."
These days, Ice-T is in his second decade as a star of NBC`s "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," where the one-time law-breaker again is portraying a member of law enforcement.
He also speaks to inmates and at colleges around the country.
"Who could have imagined that an ex-hustler from Crenshaw Boulevard would be spitting game to Ivy League students," he writes.
Or becoming the author of a fascinating memoir, the pages of which are jam-packed with tales of a guy who "actively did everything I rhymed about."