Just Ice @ B.B. Kings
performance by Just Ice, which occurred last November, almost slipped through
the cracks here at Angry Citizen. It would have permanently slipped through the
cracks if not for Prodigy’s Return of the Mac mix-tape. Return of
the Mac, which is one of the better albums of ’07, managed to remind me of the photo lurking below. Here's how...
You see, on the same night and on the very same stage that Just Ice performed on, Prodigy made an appearance, accompanied by his G-Unit/Queensbridge clowns. These were weed carriers to the nth degree. No flow, no rhymes, just a bunch of whack rappers yelling over each other as if grunting and making nasty facial expressions can make up for a lack of skill. The performance didn’t start out bad. When Prodigy hit the stage I was excited along with everyone else around me. I thought we’d get at least one song, or at the very least, one verse. Preferably his fourth verse on Cradle To The Grave. But no, Prodigy just stood in the background and allowed his boys to pollute our eardrums. Not only did Prodigy not touch a mic, he didn’t even move. He just stood there, eyes rolled in the back of his head, drink in hand taking that New York sip. He looked like the ghost of hip-hop past. It saddened me and quite frankly threw me in a funk.
But let’s not get too sad or shed a tear. I used my Prodigy sighting to introduce the main point of the post: Just Ice and his flash like performance. I’m not going to front and act like I’m a big Just Ice fan. I know of him and have a few of his more popular songs. I’m more interested in the historical position he occupies. In the mid-eighties Just Ice was as influential as any rapper on the scene. He was also someone who rapped about things he actually did as opposed to being a studio gangsta. Just Ice used to run around New York wielding Mac-10’s and Prodigy writes stories about running around New York wielding Mac-10’s. I’m not justifying the use of Mac-10’s, no matter how proficient they may be, or so I hear. I’m also not knocking Prodigy; A.C. has no beef with Queensbridge. Nor am I requesting swift appointment to head the Just Ice fan club. I’m just here to discuss Just Ice. I would love to give a more detailed description of his performance, but he only performed one song. Basically, he ran on stage star-search style for a one song engagement. He was halfway through his one and only song before I realized who was standing two feet in front of me. Quick thanks to the guy behind me who pointed and said "that's Just Ice." When he finished he bounced quicker than he came. Without photographic evidence I would have thought it a dream.
If you clicked on the link above it took you over to an amazing website. Basically, it's a website run by someone obsessed with pre Run-D.M.C. hip-hop. Click this link to read all of his interviews with the pioneers of hip-hop. Here are some excerpts from his Just Ice interview.
When did you become Just Ice?
When I first got locked up I was twelve. I think I was 13 when I first became a 5 percenter. I was first locked up at a place called Holy Cross, Pius Twelve. It was way upstate New York in Ryan Beck, New York. I was really sent there because I was too much for my parents to handle. It wasn’t a reform school and it wasn’t a lock up, lock up. I stayed there until I was sixteen. On my visits I was still coming back to Castle Hill. I would go home to Fort Green to put my bags down, but I would be on the train right back to the Exactly.
How did you get on with Mantronik?
I met Mantronik at a club called Danceteria.
I remember the place.
One night Africa Islam was up there playing, I was rolling with him. Islam is Islam, he is playing records nobody else was playing. So I grabbed the mic and tore it up. Who was standing right there? Mantronik! I didn’t know who the hell this little nerdy looking guy was. He asked me my name and I tell him Justice. He said what was my m.c. name? I tell him Just Ice. He was like you want to make some records? He gave me his number blah, blah, blah. One thing led to another with me and Ben. I took my last twenty two dollars, went to the studio right on Myrtle avenue and Saint Lawrence, (In Brooklyn, and recorded “Put that record back on.” That was the first joint I ever did. I took it to Sleeping bag records. Sleeping Bag was cool, but they said they need something else to go on the other side. They said they didn’t want to put the vocals on one side and the instrumental on the other side. So me and Ben went back. I took them $17, they said they would give me 2 hours for $17.