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Artist: Black Ice

Interviewer: James Johnson

We've been out to some of the poetry jams and seen some bomb a** poets in our time. Of course, we've seen them make their way onto the Apollo Theatre as well, and some have literally torn the shows down. The art-form has truly moved a long way, since being showcased in the movie Love Jones.

Now, nearly a decade after the movie, the art-form has taken the next step of progression, with the help of Black Ice. He's already a popular threat on Def Poetry Jam, and has been for the past few years. Russell Simmons saw the gold in him, and signed him to Def Jam Records. While that didn't necessarily pan out, it was still a step in the right direction. Poets were now being recognized for their art and what they had to offer in their words and thoughts.

After stepping away from Def Jam, Black Ice has now been signed to Koch Records, and his dream of educating the world through his poetry is becoming more of a reality. Recently he dropped his debut album, The Death of Willie Lynch, and he's taking the world by storm. The is finally being noticed on a broader level. Even Mary J. Blige noticed the gift he had to offer. She called him personally and asked that he be on her "Breakthrough" tour. While that seems huge to us, he takes it all in at a calm level. While it excites him, it's nothing at the same time, because he's just doing what he's supposed to do.

Read on as Black Ice talks about his outings with Mary, his album and the impact he wants it to have upon society, and his family and the ways they've adapted to the success. He's got a lot to say, and you definitely need to get his message!

SoundSlam: So begin by telling me how you got started with Spoken Word?

Black Ice: It was around about 1992 or 1993. My man took me to a spot, and I just fell in love with it. I had heard Last Poets, but that was my first time going to a set. I've grown addicted to it since then.

SoundSlam: What was it about the poetry that got you hooked?

Black Ice: It was poetic. The spots that I went to, there would be a band or DJ in the background. They would be spitting these progressive thoughts, and it's just addictive. It was so groundbreaking to me. It wasn't anything new, but that's what got me and made it stand out for me.

SoundSlam: So how did you go about breaking into the industry?

Black Ice: Well honestly, it wasn't really anything to be broken into. It was something like a safe haven. We were there to say what was on our minds.

SoundSlam: So how'd you get started officially though?

Black Ice: At that point, it was before Love Jones and all that. Once that happened, more venues jumped off, and it became more popular. It was always an art-form that supported itself, so somebody was always starting a different venue here and there. We would go out and support these people at their venues, primarily because it was something different than going to the clubs. And really, you know, everybody was an artist. We were all artists, and it was something we already did to begin with. We were able to go and spit it there. We had poems on tap. It was really a safe haven. I didn't set out to become Black Ice, the cat with the album. I was just doing me. It just so happens that it evolutionized into me being signed with an album.

SoundSlam: Did you actually seek a deal, or did they come for you?

Black Ice: Well for my Def Jam deal, I was at a caf� one night for Def Poetry Jam, and Russell was there. He got me signed to Def Jam. I got released from Def Jam like two years ago. Then Koch was meeting with Jazzy Jeff. He loved my stuff, and presented the opportunity for me to sign with Koch. They came to me, and I feel like it's because I do what I'm supposed to do, not because of luck or anything of that nature.

SoundSlam: So what do you want to accomplish out of this deal and being signed?

Black Ice: Hopefully, I can spawn a domino affect of other spoken word artists being looked at as viable investments. I hope with my writing, personally, I want to inspire dialogue. Unifying and coming up with solutions to rid ourselves of poverty, instead of waiting for a hand from the man. That's usually a trap anyway. I want to continue as an artist and pay my bills. Put my kids in extra-curricular programs. They don't offer that stuff in schools, and when they do, it costs us poor folks. Then of course, this keeps my cable on, so I can watch Flavor of Love (laughing).

SoundSlam: Is that what you do in spare time, watch Flavor of Love?

Black Ice: No man, I'm daddy. I spend time with the kids. I've got a family. My lady, she has her career, so there is no spare time to be perfectly honest. We've got school meetings, conferences, letting the teachers know we care, and letting them know not to try to give them no bulls**t education.

SoundSlam: Now how has the family reacted to the success?

Black Ice: Aww man, it's cool. It's humbling. They think it's cool. We were in Best Buy recently, getting movies, and they, my lady, she ran down. She called the kids to the isle where my CD was. My older daughter was like, 'wow, my dad has got his own CD out.' They're getting used to it. My kids are humbling. They are brilliant to say the least, and they will f**k your head up. They're witty, and intelligent beyond my understanding. They keep me real humble. I'm so into them, and bring them out that we don't pay attention to them. I have to make sure they make it.

: This has to be a good lesson for them, especially to see that 'hey, daddy is doing something to make a difference, and putting out good material the right way, and he's doing good with it' ...

Black Ice: Man, it is. My son is into rock, but he likes music....He's into rock right now. Listening to him know the words and meanings to these rock songs is crazy. His mind is opening up, but he still spits 50 Cent at the same time. He pointed out the positive things that 50 has said in his album. Things he sees that 50 doesn't quite understand who he is. If it wasn't for my son, I wouldn't be educated on 50. I'm not a follower. I grew up around great men, so I don't know what it is to not look my father in the face, and not be accountable for what I SAY. My kids are growing up the same way. Instead of being superhero-ish, I try to introduce them to as many celebrities as possible and let them know that hey, they too can do this. They meet genuine people who let them know they can do it. They question me if I say something wrong to them. I can't do it around the house.

SoundSlam: How do you promote?

Black Ice: Well I just got off tour with Mary. I'm getting back to doing college shows. I just continue the same as before, but now I have an album. If I step it up a notch, make sure I seize the opportunity. I got some other looks, or not looks. Saying "looks" sounds so industry, but other things are happening. I'll be on Hip Hop honors on VH1. It will do what it's supposed to do.

SoundSlam: You say "looks" sounds industry. Are you trying to stay as least industry as possible?

Black Ice: I want to be in the industry, but not of it. I understand the politics of parties and letting people see you, but my music is so different that it alleviates me from a lot of that. I love my family. I like having both worlds. Like Dave Chappelle, when he toured for Block Party. He came thru, and he was like 10 minutes from my house. I walked to the show because it was so close. I know him, but it wasn't like, let me see if I can holla at him. Will Smith is in the industry, but not of it. He's 27 million a movie, and he's not of the industry. I want to do my work and be appreciated, get whatever fruits, and then go home and live a regular life. I wound up getting on stage with Dave, and closed the show out. I walked from my crib, and ended up on stage with Dave, Erykah Badu, and my lady who works with her, Chyna Black. I want to keep it like that. It keeps me humble.

SoundSlam: Wow man, you also mentioned Mary's show and you being on it. It's crazy that now since you mentioned it, your being there really stands out to me now. I remember when you came out in between songs. How did you get on the show with Mary?

Black Ice: She called and asked me. And it was like, on a day when I was saying f**k this record s**t. All of a sudden, she and Kindu called my cell, and said she would love for me to go on tour with her. I was like, 'cool.' I was more excited than that, but it was cool. She's one of those artists that are not of the industry. She's in it, but not of it. We just sat and kicked it at the first rehearsal and got in each other's heads. Initially, I had a bigger part in the show, but it didn't fit. I wanted to be a part, but not be intrusive. The shows I have been involved with have been well put together. I never want to be intrusive, or something forced. I did a poem, "Soldier," which will be my first video. That was a beautiful experience.

SoundSlam: So how many more albums do you look to do with your deal?

Black Ice: I don't know. I will do another. I'm an artist. If it calls for more, then I will do it. If movies in three years, then I'll do that. I definitely plan on the next album though.

SoundSlam: What else is going on right now?

Black Ice: Def Poetry 6th season, my promo tours, I'm likely to be on anybody's tour. I'm like emergency aid. Like, 'we need somebody to cover 20 minutes'.. Like the pickle that came with it.

SoundSlam: Are there any final words at all?

Black Ice: I want people to be entertained, but listen to the consciousness, open some dialogue. Stop talking about how fat somebody's ass is. Our kids are listening. It's possible. I have kids, and they have friends, and they talk about stuff with substance. They make me feel old because they're hip. They want people to talk about better things....

source via google: http://soundslam.com/articles/interviews/i...in061011_blacki

smart dude, he makes a lot of sense.

Edited by MissAshley
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