Law & Order star Ice-T has led a truly remarkable life. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, he went from criminal to soldier to hip-hop artist to television star in the span of twenty years and remains involved with the latter two professions to this day.
In between his busy days as a musician, actor, and father of three, Ice-T also finds the time to write. In total, the TV detective has written five books and contributed to around a dozen others.
His latest creation is a memoir entitled Split Decisions. In it, he and his former partner in crime, Spike, recount their very different experiences in adulthood, illustrating how small decisions can change the trajectory of a person’s entire life.
Ice-T left his life of crime behind in favor of fame and fortune. Spike, on the other hand, was arrested for a jewel robbery and sent to prison.
“I knew what I was doing wasn’t going to last,” the Law & Order star explained to AARP. “Cats I admired were getting life sentences and getting shot. I was looking for a way out. First, I went into the Army. That was my first attempt to try to get out of the game.”
“Then, hip-hop was intriguing to me,” he continued. “A lot of my hustler friends said, ‘Why are you wasting your time? You need to come get this money’. I was just aware that if I went down that path, I was eventually going to die or go to prison.”
‘Law & Order’ Star Ice-T Describes His ‘Hustler’ Lifestyle
To market his newest book and the coming 24th season of Law & Order: SVU, Ice-T appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. In the interview, he described his very first “hustle” and explained how he spun that into a massively successful career in entertainment.
“My first hustle, I used to sell Kool-Aid,” the Law & Order star recalled. “I would take a dollar’s worth of Kool-Aid as a kid and I would break it down and I would make ten dollars selling it.”
“Hustlers are mega-capitalists, you know what I’m saying? But when you’re hustling like I did, you’re coming from a survival aspect, not greed. You’re just looking at the options that you have available to you at the time and you think: well, crime is the way to get it.”
“Later on, I learned that, no, I don’t have to limit myself to crime,” he continued. “I can use that same initiative and push in a positive direction. And look at the success. I mean, how the hell, after this, all true stories [in Split Decisions], how am I the longest-running cop on television? That’s a hustle!”