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Ice-T identifies with CJ from GTA: San Andreas
Nelson George: Video games are more important than hip-hop

In Alix Lambert’s book CRIME: A Series of Extraordinary Interviews Exposing the World of Crime - Real and Imagined, rap star Ice-T and author/filmmaker Nelson George speak on a variety of topics surrounding criminal tendencies and mentality, as excerpted by The Guardian.

The two touch on various topics, with one being of particular relevance today with the recent release of the latest chapter in the Grand Theft Auto video game series. “I love them,” proclaimed Ice-T. “The best one is Grand Theft Auto, which is just fucking mayhem. I'm in the Scarface game, which teaches you how to sell drugs, and I was in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I played a cracked-out rap star who had his lyrics stolen and the person that stole them became a star. So I went on crack and by the end of the game I get my reputation and my mansion back. You start off as a kid in South Central LA, you build up your rep and then you get a gang. It's definitely some crazy shit.”

As Ice-T confesses his passion for video games, Nelson George takes it to the next level as he said, “Video games are more important than hip-hop. There's no doubt about it. The violence and nihilism that everyone thinks is in hip-hop is pumped up about 18 times in video games. That's really what's driving young male culture, that's really the new rock'n'roll.”

Ice-T spoke on the second Grand Theft Auto game on the PS2, “The Vice City games are the worst shit ever - in a good way. It's so intentionally wrong that you've got to get into it. You go, "Oh my God, if I'm out of money I just rob a liquor store. Inside this world, all the things that you think about, you can do.”

George continued, “The funny thing about this debate is so many hip-hop critics are fixated on rap and not talking enough about video games, which aren't a racially determinant form. Obviously those Grand Theft Auto guys were very canny because they tied in to Scarface, they tied in to hip-hop. I mean, Def Jam has a line of video games. Hip-hop became subsumed into the games.

As a filmmaker himself, George draws parallels between video games and movies. “With video games the relationship to the culture is different, they're much more like movies. They're a really interesting hybrid. The Grand Theft Auto dudes were all about figuring out how to tap into urban culture. Video games, like movies, take in so many disciplines.”

While both hip-hop and video games have been scapegoats for violence, Ice-T turns it around and sees video games such as Grand Theft Auto as outlets for aggressive feelings. “Does that make you want to do it in real life? No. To me it diffuses it. People say video games make kids violent. I don't think so. It can be an outlet for that aggression. It's a masculine thing. Human beings have some weird blood lust, it roots back to us being animals. It's ill, though.”

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its about time
By tastyratz on 5/20/2008 8:14:27 AM , Rating: 5
that someone famous put it into real perspective. I'm sure all the jacks and all the mothers are going to cry out but just imagine the world where all those people who complain get their way. Those are generally the bad parents who cant raise their children properly and have no control or true involvement.

"im too busy"
"you try being a parent while working xxx and doing yyy"
"I cant be there monitoring all the time"
"its mortal kombat, its that rap music, its these terrible games"
and after the kid gets on the news doing something
"I had no idea"

since when did bad parenting get rephrased to politically correct excuses?

Ice is right. for all the times Ive ripped someones spine out in Mortal Kombat my closet strangely has no skeletons (literally not figuratively)

its not all about the games we play its about the upbringing and environment.

RE: its about time
By MrBlastman on 5/20/2008 9:12:08 AM , Rating: 5
People will always use the latest trend as an excuse for their kids misbehaving. It is like America has forgotten how to raise a family and watch over their young ones in a responsible way. Instead, they feel the government should watch out for them and tell them what is good and bad.

This is a very bad notion indeed, but it is where the world is headed already and it comes closer and closer every day. Just look at Great Britain, with all the security cameras everywhere (I think there is one camera per citizen now but don't quote me on that). So rather than suck it up and face the fact that kids don't raise themselves and their Atari is not their Nanny (yes, I'm old), they cry shenanigans and wanton despair the moment they see some kids go shoot up a school shouting - The games did it! The games made them do it! They put voices in their heads!

... Sad, well, more than sad but really depressing ... In our childhood haldol-influenced society, where parents are quick to medicate and spare the rod and spoil the child, it is no wonder that when the kids grow up their lack of responsibility is so pronounced. But gee, it isn't the parents fault, it is the poor teaching, poor programming on TV and VIDEO GAMES THAT DID IT.

I think, or hope, you are getting the point now. It isn't the games at all; there are plenty of 30+ year old gamers out there that are responsible citizens. They hold jobs, they have a family, and they spend time with their children. They participate in sports and other activities with them raising a wholesome family. These gamers are people whom have been playing video games since the Coleco-vision and 2600 were the hot item.

They aren't going around blowing the world up in an alcoholism-induced tirade. No, they sit at home on their couches and with a snide one-eyed grin, they lock and load their favorite firearm, take aim and launch forth destructive cataclysms of mushrooming body-part fountains. All while drinking their favorite soft drink or eating a chocolate bar - If you watch closely, you'll even see them chuckle. It is stress relief plain in simple.

The difference is, though, that these 30+ year olds whom grew up as gamers know the real truth, and also realize their kids are important and how they treat them, watch over them, care for them and quintessentially nurture them influences the end-product.

I wish more people would see this, rather than being quick to sue or point the finger and ask for Uncle Sam the parent to watch over their family for them.

RE: its about time
By MAIA on 5/20/2008 10:24:41 AM , Rating: 5
I'm 30, a gamer, a father and I couldn't agree more with your opinion MrBlastman.

Teaching our children is a lot more complicated than blaming their behaviour just because some play violent games. The parents should have the time and patience to give proper education. It's not the school, it's not the state, it's the parents.

RE: its about time
By Bender 123 on 5/20/2008 10:48:59 AM , Rating: 4
Same here, but a year younger :)
I agree completely. I play violent games, but only after the girls bedtime. My four year old is an avid gamer, but I always play with her on her games so she can ask what is going on and I can help her.
I just feel she needs to learn about ways of the real world, before she learns about action without consequence.

RE: its about time
By daftrok on 5/20/2008 11:44:50 AM , Rating: 3
And that's the toughest part. I think that's why most parents today are either too lazy or oblivious to try to raise their kids properly. They just think that if they go to school and you go to work and just talk for a 1/2 hour at home everything will be all right.

Another explanation why parents (older parents) don't tackle these issues is because they can't relate to children these days what with the video games and the internet and texting and omg rofl wtf lol. That's why I feel older parents should play games. Not the kiddy games, the adult games. They can see what makes it fun and what they need to talk to their kids about. Like if you shotgun a guy's head off you have to tell your kids "this is just a game don't do this in real life unless it's Bin Laden".

RE: its about time
By Bender 123 on 5/20/2008 12:42:20 PM , Rating: 3
Or giant aliens...I teach her to kill those too :)

I agree on your point though. The older parents I know are awful/ill informed about games. Zoe plays Mario Kart/Smash Bros online with her cousins and can hold her own. She also likes to play other games, like Guitar Hero, but its amazing how so many people that are just 5-10 years older than me, think that all games are about killing...I laugh, because these are usually the same people that sit there kids down in front of CSI/Soapnet/MTV while they do their own thing.

RE: its about time
By MightyAA on 5/20/2008 7:32:17 PM , Rating: 5
40.. 3 kids, and 30 years of gaming :P... Need to remember that Ice-T won't help the gaming cause much. They hate him too for "Cop Killer" because they take the fantasy of his lyrics for non-fiction..

Regardless, he's right. To many people now and these days assume a child doesn't understand the difference between "fantasy" and reality. If your kids don't know, that's because you failed as a parent to allow kids to explore the fantasy part of their imagination. One oddity I've noted is that the parents themselves against games like this often too have a problem figuring out fiction from fact taking things literally; they're often the very religious bible thumpers that are the most outspoken..

RE: its about time
By Bender 123 on 5/21/2008 12:45:45 PM , Rating: 2
I always enjoyed the the irony of T playing a police detective on Homicide...

RE: its about time
By Etern205 on 5/20/2008 11:37:56 PM , Rating: 2
Agree with the both of you, but I'm a hell lot younger than the both of you. ;)

The first game that I've ever play when I was 15 was Solider of Fortune and blasting those heads off with the shotgun was the coolest thing I ever saw. After than it was GTA 3 and from that point on my favorite game genre is FPS because it makes me felt like I was actually part of it. Of course there are other games that I've played including racing, adventure, and educational. Some of them includes violence in it, but it didn't make me go out and randomly start killing people.

The problem with today like what most of you have said is parents are not watching their children properly. And if something goes wrong they put the blame on society.

Games does not introduce violence to a child in the real world!

RE: its about time
By TimberJon on 5/20/2008 2:12:01 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not a parent, but I grew up in a group home, and around much less "aware" individuals. Later on I was noticed as not belonging in that environment at all, and ended up assisting the staff doing their jobs monitoring the ones that needed all the help. At the same time I was trusted with babysitting the normal children of the couple that ran the group-home network in the state of CA. So while not being a parent I grew up with great morals and a solid foundation of what is right and wrong. I matured quickly while being completely addicted to video games. It did not make me aggressive, but that coupled with blockbuster hits, helped me to realize that any crime I commit could be traced to me, and anything that I lie about will be found out about and end up to be just not worth the trouble.

To instill that kind of thinking in your children is to save their a$$ from all kinds of trouble. Let them know their FINGERPRINTS are on everything and even if you use gloves.. you could have shed a single hair, or skin flake, Etc... Make an example every time they mess up with a discussion on how they will get caught every time, and to not take risks because of the potential for benefit.

Most movies and games are made to make money for their entertainment value. Great writers/directors also seek to educate and share things the average person doesn't know with complex ideas, like techniques, true secrets, physics, Etc.. through their movies. It is there where you can learn alot from these sources. For those who can absorb and analyze everything they observe, you can filter relavent info and use it in real life.

Playing video games requires a level of maturity! Not self control. Your ability to excercise self control comes from your understanding of the system, which branches from your life experiences. You can gain a concentration of life experience in a short amount of time with a clear understanding and exposure to video games, novels (not the dragon/wizard fantasy ones...) and movies.

My 2¢

RE: its about time
By Synastar on 5/20/2008 11:34:12 AM , Rating: 2
I 100% agree. There will always be something. In the 50's, it was Rock & Roll and Elvis' suggestive hip shaking. Some aspect of pop culture will always be blamed as the instrument of the fall of society. Video games are just the latest target due to their interactivity. Honestly, there's nothing in GTA IV that hasn't been done in motion pictures dozens of times over often much more graphically than in GTA.

RE: its about time
By mathew7 on 5/21/2008 3:58:32 AM , Rating: 2
Like others that replied to this post, I see the same thing:
People focus on cause, not on solutions.
I cannot say that the cause (videogames) is real or not for violence, and nobody can say for sure. Group tests show some results, but those results are too varied, as you can have a group of 1000 people that all become agreesive, and other 1000 people that don't change. But you only show the results for the 1st group. It is a matter of preception. The conclusions are drawn by the "goal" of the analyst.

And the solutions are not bannig (although it's easy), but careful explaining of why it's wrong.

RE: its about time
By Tsuwamono on 5/20/2008 9:31:33 AM , Rating: 3
i had fire crackers hid under my bed in the far corner for ONE night and my mom found them. How the hell do parents not notice their kids accumulating guns and ammo. Or starting to turn aggressive.

I am a very angry person, i tend to punch walls flip out easily.. BUT proper parenting can take someone with anger like myself and teach them the things they need to know so they dont turn out like these idiots on TV.

In my opinion its the Parents fault. You dont have to stop them from watching the simpsons so they dont swear, you dont have to stop them from playing GTA so they dont kill people. You just need to be their damn Parent.


RE: its about time
By bighairycamel on 5/20/2008 9:32:07 AM , Rating: 4
That's why I found the South Park movie so funny, because it delt specifically with that subject.

Made me think of the Blame Canada song...
"We must blame them and cause a fuss
Before somebody thinks of blaming uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuus!!!!"

RE: its about time
By onwisconsin on 5/20/2008 11:22:52 AM , Rating: 2
Preach to the people! Testify!

Well said man! More people need to be aware of things this; I hope the news pays attention to what Ice T said even though it goes against the bland stereotypes and stigmas (eg video games are bad)

RE: its about time
By Reclaimer77 on 5/20/2008 10:36:45 PM , Rating: 2
Man he hasn't been " famous " since the 80's. Before he became a phony.

By OdinX on 5/20/2008 10:55:49 AM , Rating: 2
If Ice-T says its ok, it must be ok. /sarcasm off

Its getting harder and harder to defend video games these days I think err rather, I believe that my age has an inversely proportional relationship with the amount of tolerance of I have for nonsensical violence and seemingly terrible practices exhibited in games(i.e selling crack). And while I would defend their right to create and distribute it , I can't say that I would want my kids or younger kids in general to be subjected to it. Which is a hard line to take after growing up in the Quake,doom, leisure suit larry years of videogaming.

RE: Welll....
By plinkplonk on 5/20/2008 11:20:31 AM , Rating: 2
I was a kid when GTA first came out, I'm not a crack dealer so it really doesn't matter what your young kids see as long as you tell them it is not what they should do...

If anything exposing kids to all these kinds of practices at an early age and teaching them not to do it would be better than trying to prevent them from ever seeing them at all.

Do you not agree that it is always those things you got really badly told of for as a very young kid that you never did again after your parents gave you a good slap?

RE: Welll....
By AlphaVirus on 5/20/2008 11:32:38 AM , Rating: 2
If anything exposing kids to all these kinds of practices at an early age and teaching them not to do it would be better than trying to prevent them from ever seeing them at all.

IE: Preacher's daughter.
Taught all their life to avoid sex and sexual content, don't do this, don't do that, etc. As soon as they get put in the wild, they break out and do not know how to handle it, most likely resulting in a freakish whore. I have known a handfull of them and this is usually the case.

RE: Welll....
By gramboh on 5/20/2008 3:02:51 PM , Rating: 2
Lucky bas@#%d :)

RE: Welll....
By OdinX on 5/20/2008 4:23:08 PM , Rating: 2
See here is the thing, I understand the teach em about it help them avoid those pitfalls rationale. However upper middle class kids in the suburbs don't necessarily need to be idolizing hard core crack dealing gangsters from the inner cities. That life style isn't necessarily by choice its of last resort (well maybe it is by choice). So learning children about the realities of gangbanging and slinging crack when they live in the burbs (and yes the burbs have their own issues) is so far removed from reality, that I might as well instruct them on klingon just in case they happen to commandeer a bird of prey one day.

I think its fair and appropriate for parental units to monitor and restrict viewership and gameplay. However going out of my way to introduce terrible elements of society simply so that I can instruct them on what to do seems a bit much.

RE: Welll....
By Suntan on 5/21/2008 1:48:38 PM , Rating: 2
If anything exposing kids to all these kinds of practices at an early age and teaching them not to do it would be better than trying to prevent them from ever seeing them at all.

Ah, so after little Jimmy has brushed his teeth and gotten into his footy pajamas, you sit him down next to you on the couch and proceed to watch Pulp Fiction with him. After it’s over, and little Jimmy is wide eyed and shaking in terror, you lean over and say calmly “It’s ok Jimmy, just don’t do any of that when you get older. Now run off to bed…”

It is not wrong for parents to want to shield their children from the harsh realities of life until they are old enough to handle it. Figuring out when you are being too protective and when you are not is what parenting is all about. Yeah people can armchair quarterback other kid’s parents, and use extreme examples in either direction (the parent that lets kids watch TV from the day they bring them home – to the parent that doesn’t let the kids out of the house until they are 21) but when it comes time for you to decide what is acceptable for your child, don’t be surprised if other people look at your choices and tell you that they are wrong.


RE: Welll....
By Synastar on 5/20/2008 11:25:20 AM , Rating: 3
...and as a parent, not letting your kids play M-rated games is completely and totally your right if not your responsibility.

RE: Welll....
By deeznuts on 5/20/2008 7:53:50 PM , Rating: 2
Parents are just too afraid of their kids now. When I was a kid, my parents didn't care what I watched or what I played. We were always sneaking in HBO or playboy or whatever. Of course back then it was asteroids etc., but even as I got older and Leisure Suit Larry was around, it still didn't affect me, because I knew it was a game. and When I messed up in real life, my parents kicked my ass.

Kick your kids ass, and they won't frack up too much, and if they do, they'll know what they did was wrong.

RE: Welll....
By LatinMessiah on 5/21/2008 7:34:27 PM , Rating: 2
But then your kids will call the cops.

RE: Welll....
By AlmostExAMD on 5/21/2008 3:33:49 AM , Rating: 2
"And while I would defend their right to create and distribute it , I can't say that I would want my kids or younger kids in general to be subjected to it. Which is a hard line to take after growing up in the Quake,doom, leisure suit larry years of videogaming"

I must stop you right there on that comment just to add that YOUR KIDS or younger kids should not be playing this game anyway, It's a Mature/adult game that they should not be in posession of!
It all comes back to parenting, Your job is to either stop them or teach them.

Big Props!!!
By Bender 123 on 5/20/2008 9:16:00 AM , Rating: 2
I do not understand why many folks just dont get it. In the old days people used to scream into pillows, punch walls, etc... to work out the stress and get an outlet.

I am no thug (have two masters degrees and manage a 40 doctor medical practice), but I love to take my stress from the day out on GTA. There is just something soothing about just driving around, blowing stuff up or doing whatever you want with no consequence. I love it when people complain about me doing this but it sure beats taking it out on my wife, daughters, staff members, strangers at the bar...

RE: Big Props!!!
By plinkplonk on 5/20/2008 11:21:35 AM , Rating: 2
just because you have two masters degrees it doesn't mean you can't be a thug...intelligent people can be violent too you know ;)

RE: Big Props!!!
By Polynikes on 5/20/2008 11:27:15 AM , Rating: 2
No, that violates our geek stereotype. It's impossible. Smart people can't hurt anything.

RE: Big Props!!!
By AlphaVirus on 5/20/2008 11:38:12 AM , Rating: 2
I wouldnt want my pen protectors to break, talk about a mess to clean up. And I already had to put more tape on the center of my glasses, but I play games out of the basement of my mother's house so I can't afford new ones.

RE: Big Props!!!
By Ringold on 5/20/2008 5:00:55 PM , Rating: 2
Not entirely true, Polynikes. We can hurt things, it just can't be with weapons normal folk would use.

For example, use a gun for home defense? No. Master Kenobi didn't care for blasters, and guns are even more 'crude.'

But a Crossbow? Longbow? A sword that is a replica of one from Lord of the Rings? A replica of Kahless' Bat'leth? Yes!

That said, I doubt my longsword skills, so I have a 9 for backup. :P

RE: Big Props!!!
By Bender 123 on 5/20/2008 12:44:33 PM , Rating: 2
I'm soooo into you but I'm way too smart for you. Even my henchmen think I'm crazy. I'm not surprised that you agree...


RE: Big Props!!!
By mikefarinha on 5/20/2008 1:10:29 PM , Rating: 2
I love it when people complain about me doing this but it sure beats taking it out on my wife, daughters, staff members, strangers at the bar...

Don't knock it until you've tried it...

I agree
By isorfir on 5/20/2008 8:45:29 AM , Rating: 6
And Ice-T can be an outlet of refreshment. It's a win-win situation.

RE: I agree
By tastyratz on 5/20/2008 9:19:53 AM , Rating: 2
I wish I could rate you after posting, that just isn't only a 2

RE: I agree
By xsilver on 5/20/2008 9:42:45 AM , Rating: 2
Hell you'd rather be known a dandelion gumdrop rather than tracy lauren marrow if you're a gansta!

Also, on topic, If you're living in utopia, violent games can corrupt minds. Thats why there there are no violent video games in utopia, but who needs that when in utopia there are naked supermodels roaming the streets ;)

RE: I agree
By Cobra Commander on 5/20/2008 10:18:58 AM , Rating: 2
I will trust anything a guy who's blessed by M.C. Gusto and nailing Coco says.

By Stinky007 on 5/20/2008 9:20:32 AM , Rating: 2
I feel the same way, I played a lot of violent games and I always viewed them as an outlet for my anger!

RE: True
By VahnTitrio on 5/20/2008 10:55:35 AM , Rating: 2
I will admit I have pulled out Grand Theft Auto 3 or Vice City well after I was done playing it just because I was mad about something. Generally I'd use the crazy civilians and arm civilians cheats to just cause as much chaos as possible.

Umm yeah...
By Homerboy on 5/20/2008 9:54:04 AM , Rating: 2
While I'm happy that somebody "known" has spoken up on the subject, I can't help but feel that blessings from Ice-T are going to exactly sway the Conservative Right-Wingers into laying off the prosecution of video games.

Now if Oprah or somebody of that ilk said the same things... that would be newsworthy.

RE: Umm yeah...
By Homerboy on 5/20/2008 10:53:15 AM , Rating: 2
*aren't going to sway

They got it all wrong
By Polynikes on 5/20/2008 11:25:03 AM , Rating: 2
I still think rock'n'roll is responsible for today's misguided youth. Yeah, definitely the rock'n'roll. It's devil music.

Other methods...
By jonmcc33 on 5/20/2008 3:24:44 PM , Rating: 2
Iceman (or whatever his name is) should have learned some proper stress management so he never got pissed off to the point he wanted to kill someone.

Kids don't learn from video games as if you kill someone in real life they do not come back. If you die in real life you don't come back.

The GTA series never vented my anger. It only exercised my brain for puzzle solving missions. I used it for entertainment and not venting my anger.

In real life, where we normally exist, I either talked about what was making me angry or I exercised (via running or sports). Games don't help me at all and if anything they frustrate me more. I can go shoot some hoops and know that if I didn't make a basket it was because I just suck at it and not because of some crappy programming, cheater on the other end with hacks or stupid lag.

I've also seen too many dead people in real life to think that death in video games is exciting.

Pussification of America
By Yocal on 5/20/2008 5:11:08 PM , Rating: 2
I too am a 30 year old father of 2. My son plays the 360, and while I dont play GTA while hes down there, I do play COD 4 and he watches. Does that mean hes going to be a war hero saving the country/world from international terrorism? If my son (or daughter) climbs a clock tower and starts sniping people its because I failed as a parent. Not because of video games or movies. If hes going to learn about right and wrong and where to bury a dead hooker its going to be from me. I try not to let my kids watch a ton of tv, but it is tough not to fire up the electronic baby sitter when Ive got tons of stuff to do and Im by myself. But on the flip side if he asks me a question about something he sees or doesnt understand, I stop what Im doing and explain it to him. They should allow dodge ball back in schools and stop worrying about the effects a video game has on our "impressionable youth"

Fo shizzle
By FITCamaro on 5/20/08, Rating: -1
RE: Fo shizzle
By Noya on 5/20/08, Rating: -1
RE: Fo shizzle
By AlphaVirus on 5/20/2008 11:42:03 AM , Rating: 1
I don't get it, how did the guy making fun of 'white trash' get rated down yet the person making fun of a 'gangster' get a positive rating?

RE: Fo shizzle
By BruceLeet on 5/20/2008 1:12:48 PM , Rating: 5
Racism, plain and simple. Im not into the whole racism bit, Racism is a crime and crime is for black people.

RE: Fo shizzle
By LatinMessiah on 5/20/2008 1:47:02 PM , Rating: 2
Dat's cuz we keep it real up in da field, aight?!

RE: Fo shizzle
By FITCamaro on 5/20/2008 6:47:21 PM , Rating: 2
Budweiser sucks.

RE: Fo shizzle
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 5/20/2008 12:49:02 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps you'd enjoy Deltron 3030. They rap about computer viruses and stuff. Del (one half of Deltron) is Ice Cube's cousin.

RE: Fo shizzle
By LatinMessiah on 5/20/2008 1:44:43 PM , Rating: 3
FITCamaro is right, let's all be thankful for murder sims. Woohoo!

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