"When I had my daughter, I was like, man, I'm going to go to jail, I got to do something and I went to an enlistment office. Next thing you know, I'm in the military, four years infantry."
Now known as prominent actor and musician Ice-T, Tracy Marrow was born in Newark, N.J., to Solomon and Alice Marrow. Ice-T's mother died of a heart attack when he was in third grade. His father raised him until he also died a few years later.
The 12-year-old Ice-T moved to live with various relatives until settling with an aunt in South Los Angeles. While in high school, Ice-T abstained from drugs, cigarettes and alcohol but affiliated himself with members of the Crips. He read books by Iceberg Slim and quoted lines to his friends. It was in high school that he began writing rhymes.
Right out of high school, Ice-T struggled to support his girlfriend and daughter. He joined the Army for the financial benefits, serving four years in the 25th Infantry Division. Early in his career, he was part of a small group that stole an infantry rug and subsequently deserted. After a month, once the rug had been recovered, Ice-T returned and received a non-judicial punishment that allowed him to complete Advanced Infantry Training.
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During his deployment in Hawaii, Ice-T served as a squad leader at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. According to his memoir, he purchased stereo equipment, including turntables, a mixer and speakers, there.
At one point during his career, a sergeant told Ice-T that he served in the Army, because he couldn't survive in the civilian world. Despite the sergeant's claim, Ice-T utilized his time in the Army to build financial stability, hone his skills and launch an entertainment career.
When Ice-T returned to the civilian world, he lived in Hollywood and made inroads into the hip-hop scene. His first major deal was sealed with Sire Records, but he quickly created his own label, Rhyme Syndicate. He went on to start a metal band, win a Grammy and produce the controversial song "Cop Killer."
He later launched a successful career in film and television, most notably as detective Odafin Tutuola on "Law & Order: SVU."
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