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xmag.com : April 2003: The Jack Shack

Ice-T is back in the pimp game, this time with sort of a "How To" guide on DVD. Pimpin' 101 from Fatt Entertainment features the star rapper as a host offering up a beginner's guide on how to be a player in the game, control the "bitches" and target the marks.

Before hitting it big time, Ice-T was a street pimp. He doesn't say much about his personal street cred running girls, nor does he dip his stick into any of the porn stars portrayed as hookers in Pimpin' 101. Instead, we get a glimpse of the life accompanied by the main draw: a soundtrack with the title song, his current hit "Swazy," and a batch of tracks by other artists including Busta Rhymes, Amil, M.O.P., Cuban Link, S.M.G., Rampage, Rockwilder, Dirty South and Ron Lyonz. The flick moves at a furious clip under the direction of Tony Diablo, a hip-hop music director and, of course, the soundtrack is also available on CD.

Decked out in an array of high-end pimp gear, including a purple Versace suit, Ice-T narrates blips and bursts of not too hard-core sex, breaking down the Kingdom of Pimpdom into five categories of women:

One: The Track Ho who turns tricks on the street.

Two: The Carpet Ho, hanging out at casinos, nightclubs and discos who will "date any guy with paper. She'll take the money quick or long. She's looking for payday sex."

Three: The Stripper Ho, who generates only contempt from Ice-T. He claims all strippers are prostitutes. Whoaaa, way off the mark! While it is true, as he says, that by lap dancing "the average stripper takes more body contact than the average prostitute does in a night," the gap between frottage and fucking is wider than the Grand Canyon.

Four: The Call Girl, who freelances on her own or works for an escort service and is at the top of the pile followed by...

Five: The Wife. Ice-T says 95 percent of married women are prostitutes since they don't love their husbands and marry for money, security, or both. True, some women are into the wife hustle, but to allow that only five percent marry for love, kids, SUV's and a house in the burbs says more about the rapper's attitude towards women than the reality of American life.

Porn queens Celine, Cherie, Chloe Black, Sharon Wilde and Ryan Conners glide through the sex scenes with enthusiasm, but they are almost a back drop to the highly amusing though not very enlightening tutorial Ice-T serves up with his massive ego. In one of his raps he blurts out, "I asked God to let me pimp or let me die." Apparently the Author of the Universe has seen fit to allow the former street Mack not only fame and glory but the ability to glide with ease into mainstream entertainment while maintaining his thug persona. While playing the role of a cop busting prostitutes on the NBC hit series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, he lays down the street rules for avoiding busts in Pimpin' 101.

I suspect he decided to go forward with this project for two reasons.

First, it's been ten years since he stirred up a shit storm with his mega-hit "Cop Killer," the incendiary rap that led to parental advisory labels on CD's. Given his role as a TV detective, he probably wanted to kick-start his bad boy image again.

Second, and more importantly, the pimp role he wanted hasn't panned out. Three years ago he negotiated to play the leading role in a film based on Iceberg Slim's book Pimp, the bible of the game and The Catcher in the Rye for young blacks locked in the projects. Published in 1969 by a small black publisher, Holloway House, Pimp was ignored by the critics. But Iceberg's gripping story of his life as a pimp in the 40's and 50's gained an almost all black audience by word of mouth that turned into a thunderous howl: the book has sold over six million copies to date and still sells.

Indeed, both Ice-T and Ice Cube took their monikers as a tribute to Iceberg Slim. Numerous attempts over the years to turn the book into a film have fizzled. At one point Ice-T and Ice Cube were icing each other vying for the title role. One or the other may yet get the part, but as it stands now, once again the project is on the back burner, though Iceberg Slim's cold street prose and dead-on style remain alive and well in print.

Iceberg did about eight years in prison in four stretches over 20 years and finally got out of the game in the late fifties. He started writing seriously after a few practice runs in jail. Pimp remains his major work along with six other novels published by Holloway House about his life in the Chicago streets. Doom Fox, his last novel, was written in 1978.

Iceberg died in 1992 and Doom Fox remained unpublished until 1998. It took thirty years for the mainstream publishing world to catch on to him. Better late than never and Doom Fox found the perfect home: Grove Press (now Grove/Atlantic), the publishing house that fought at great cost and won several major censorship battles in the 1950's over dirty books we now call literature like Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer.

Doom Fox also has some icing on the cake. Ice-T wrote the introduction.






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