Ice-T is credited as one of the forefathers of gangsta rap, producing several albums that put the genre on the map. From 1987’s Rhyme Pays and 1991’s O.G. Original Gangster to his most recent work with Body Count, the prolific rapper/actor has penned some of the most hardcore lyrics the music community has ever heard.
In fact, Body Count’s controversial 1992 single “Cop Killer” caught the attention of then-President of the United States George H. W. Bush as well as Vice President Dan Quayle. Shortly after its release, CLEAT (Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas) called for a boycott of all Time Warner products in order to secure the removal of the song and album from stores. Just a week later, they were joined by police organizations across the U.S. Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Lloyd Bentsen and Al D’Amato protested Warner Bros. Records’s release of the song by cancelling their planned cameo appearances in the 1993 Warner Bros. Pictures political film Dave.
Dennis R. Martin (Former President, National Association of Chiefs of Police) argued,” The misuse of the First Amendment is graphically illustrated in Time Warner’s attempt to insert into the mainstream culture the vile and dangerous lyrics of the Ice-T song entitled ‘Cop Killer.’ The Body Count album containing ‘Cop Killer’ was shipped throughout the United States in miniature body bags. Only days before distribution of the album was voluntarily suspended, Time Warner flooded the record market with a half million copies. The ‘Cop Killer’ song has been implicated in at least two shooting incidents and has inflamed racial tensions in cities across the country.
“Those who work closely with the families and friends of slain officers volunteering for the American Police Hall of Fame and Museum are outraged by the message of ‘Cop Killer.’ It is an affront to the officers—144 in 1992 alone—who have been killed in the line of duty while the police was upholding the laws of our society and protecting all its citizens.”
Needless to say, Ice-T knows how to ruffle some feathers. So it comes as no surprise he names one of his own lyrics as the most iconic opening rap line. A poll going around on Twitter (X) over the weekend posed that very question: “What is the most iconic opening rap line ever?” Ice-T retweeted the question and wrote: “6 in the mornin’ police at my door.” It’s a line taken from his seminal hit, “6 ‘N The Morning” off the aforementioned Rhyme Pays album.
The song, considered one of gangsta rap’s defining tracks, tells the tale of Ice-T’s house getting raided due to illicit street activities. After he escapes out of a back window, the “self-made monster of the city streets remotely controlled by hard hip hop beats,” reflects, “Just livin’ in the city is a serious task/Didn’t know what the cops wanted/Didn’t have the time to ask.”
“Midnight,” from O.G. Original Gangster, serves as a prequel to “6 N The Mornin’.” It ends with “looked at my watch, it was six in the morning,” while “6 ‘N The Mornin’” opens with “Six in the morning, police at my door.” Revisit it below.