Ice-T Reveals The Moment That Inspired Him To Give Up His Life Of Crime

Before Ice-T was famous for playing a cop on "Law & Order: SVU," and before he was shaking up the music industry, the man otherwise known as Tracy Marrow was very much on the other side of the law. In the rap legend's new memoir, "Split Decision," co-written with his long-time best friend Spike, Ice-T explains that robbery used to be his job. The book also tells the story of how Ice-T got out of the criminal business, while Spike did not. 

Promoting the memoir on "The View," Ice-T said that he'd robbed "hundreds" of jewelry stores. "We would get up in the morning and commit felonies all day long," he said. When he was growing up, the rapper and actor said, he and Spike didn't have many positive role models in their lives to look up to. "You're in the streets, the people you see are the hustlers and the players. The doctors and the lawyers have left the neighborhood," he explained. "So whatever shines and the way you think you're gonna survive, that's what you did." As Ice-T's rap career started to pick up and both friends wanted to focus more on making music, Spike decided to attempt one final "lick" (that means robbery) and was arrested. He ended up serving 26 years in prison.

Even though Ice-T said crime is "intoxicating," one bizarre moment finally convinced him to give up his life of crime for good.

Ice-T said he became too famous to keep stealing

Speaking on "The Today Show," Ice-T said he was still committing robberies when he was beginning to get famous for his rapping. He realized he needed to stop doing what he was doing when he was caught by some fans while in the middle of working on a stolen car. "And I'm back there ratcheting on it and all of a sudden all these kids ran out to me, and I'm like 'Okay, I'm busted,'" Ice-T recalled. "And all they wanted was autographs because they had already seen me on television and movies or something like that, and I'm still out there stealing." 

Then, the rapper said, the kids' parents arrived. What was the suddenly famous rapper and career criminal to do? "And so I took pictures in front of this hot car. And then I called my boys and I was like, 'This car can't be here in the morning.' But that was the moment I'm like, 'This right here... I can't do it anymore.'" 

It's not the first time Body Count frontman has opened up about his criminal past. He also reflected on his law-breaking days in his 2011 memoir, "Ice," according to NPR. "Who would ever have thought a kid from South Central who was in serious trouble would end up on television playing a cop?" he said.