Eric B. On Ice-T, Acting and the Rock Hall
By Kyle Eustice
Eric B has a bone to pick with Ice-T—but it’s all in good fun. Speaking to ROCK THE BELLS about his recent trip to City Hall where he, Grandmaster Flash, Roxanne Shanté, Slick Rick and several other Hip-Hop legends announced the Universal Hip Hop Museum’s partnership with the City of New York, the Paid In Full architect touched on a myriad of topics.
At one point, he mentioned his ongoing role as police officer Mike Gee on the CBS drama Blue Bloods and explained the biggest difference between his music and acting endeavors.
“The touring stuff to me…it’s like, one day you wake up and your kids are 30,” he said. “It’s like, ‘Where the hell have I been?’ With my acting career, for me, the most important thing is coming home every day to your family. You can't discount that fact.”
He then blamed Ice-T for not letting him in on this little secret. The Body Count frontman and bona fide gangsta rap pioneer has played Detective Odafin Tutuola on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for over two decades. Eric B, who’s currently shooting his fourth season of Blue Bloods, just wished Ice-T would have let him know it was possible to have a lucrative career and be home for dinner every night years ago. So, he’s challenging the Original Gangster to a celebrity boxing match—respectfully.
“I told Ice-T we gotta have a celebrity boxing match ‘cause he didn't tell anybody,” he said. “I'm gonna go public and call him out in front of everybody. He's been holding on to this for 23 years. I'm like shit, you should have told us this 20 years ago. I gotta call him out.”
“Eric is outta my weight class," Ice-T tells ROCK THE BELLS with a laugh. All jokes aside, Eric B has nothing but admiration for Ice-T. Like so many of his contemporaries, Mr. Player Hater himself has served as a mentor, friend and source of inspiration for him.
“He’s a great, great guy,” he added. “I will cold call with him a conversation and he’s always down. When my friend was running for New Jersey governor, I called Ice and said, ‘I know you don't know this guy, but he's definitely a great guy. He’s good people.’ He said, ‘Eric, you don't have to say no more. If he’s rocking with you, he's rocking with me.’”
Not only did Ice-T support his friend, he and wife Coco Austin threw an entire party in his honor. Eric B confessed Ice-T is one of two people who he can count on to always come through for him—the other? Fat Joe.
“Fat Joe gets mad at me,” he said. “He’ll be like, ‘Eric, you should have told them I was in from the beginning.’ That’s my dude.”
But Eric B returns the favor. As he explained, “Fat Joe is having a book release party at The Apollo, so I promised him that I’d come by and support his book ‘cause he always supports.”
Eric B.’s creative partner Rakim was among the dozens of impactful artists Eminem mentioned during his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction speech on November 5. But Eric wasn’t aware Rakim had been named and frankly, didn’t really seem to care.
“I never heard,”he said. “Let me tell you something, I'm so disconnected from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They threw us in there one year and never nominated us again. I'm so glad I got into this business, not to be a star but to be an artist. It doesn't make a difference to me [to be inducted]. The way they set it up, I think it's a travesty. I think it's disgusting. They have nobody there listening to us, like—how do you put these guys in so out of order? It’s like come on. Who’s putting this together?”
But if Eminem has it his way, Eric B. and Rakim will be inducted in the near future, along with 3rd Bass, MF DOOM, Biz Markie, De La Soul, Big Daddy Kane and all the other Hip-Hop legends he named.
“They’re legendary rock stars, man, and I just want to say, those are just a few of the names that I hope will be considered in the future,” he concluded. “That was an old class. Without them a lot of us wouldn’t be here. So that’s all I have to say now. I know that this induction is supposed to me talking about myself and shit, man, but fuck that. I wouldn’t be here without them. I’m a high school drop out, man, with a Hip-Hop education and these are my teachers. It’s their night just as much as it is mine. So thank you."