CONVERSATION WITH A LEGEND: The Original Ice Mike

Ice Mike

From the Cutoff to the Ferry & from the Fischer to the levee ……

“Genius” is the first word that comes to mind when I think of Ice Mike. He’s a legend – as they say in New Orleans, “Yes indeed.”

I remember the first time I heard a Bust Down song – mind blowing lyrics laced over unbelievable beats. I also remember the first time I was in a club when Joe Blakk came on – pure mayhem, in a good kind of way. The dance floor would immediately explode with action. I also recall the first time I saw that name – “Ice Mike”.

New Orleans and Down South rap music pioneer, businessman, producer, DJ, rapper, mentor – all of these are words that describe Ice Mike, but one definitely needs to put the word “Genius” in front of any of those in order to accurately describe him.

Ice Mike is the man behind countless hits. There aren’t many artists in the rap game that you can name, that Ice Mike hasn’t helped put on the map – especially not those from New Orleans or Houston. He has a unique sound that has always branded the artists who with whom he works. Ice Mike’s a real cat who strives to help artists get what they truly deserve. The independent movement owes a lot to Ice Mike and he continues on that mission nearly 3 decades later.

Ice Mike is a Definition DJ, which in and of itself carries a great deal of weight – beside his DJ coalition affiliation, Ice Mike has lent his talent to many an up and coming artists, and quite a few legends as well.

We were recently blessed enough to have been able to interview the legendary Ice Mike. Following on the heels of the loss of Tre-8 and Tim Smooth, it makes us realize how much we must cherish our pioneers – for it is because of them and their hard work, that our second and third generation rap artists even have a genre to call their own. Here’s how our conversation with this legend went:

THE HEAT MAGAZINE: You are a legend. Some liken you to “our” Dr. Dre. You truly are and you have been a blessing and support system for many artists. Tell us what you have in the works and what we can expect to see from Ice Mike in the near future.

ICE MIKE: Currently, there is a new hit surfacing entitled “POP IT OFF” by Devious. It’s HOT!!!  And the single by Tacaloc, “NEW ORLEANS”, featuring “SESS45”. Also, an artist by the name of “Majesty Sozey” is dope, and we wrote a song together entitled “FEEL DIS”, which can be heard on the new N.O.U.E. mixtape and on Universal. I produced 5 of the banging tracks on the “Gifted Da FlameThrowa” LP.

As far as yet to be released works, I’m now working on several projects. (1) A group of above average emcees from New Orleans and my beats named “ICEMIKE1200 & THE NEW ORLEANS BOMB SQUAD”. (2) “J-QUEST” -“Boomerang Talk” LP (3) “HollyGrove Redd” of the HoodFellaz (4) new works for Mystikal have been recorded as well, but are on hold permitting his schedule. (5) I’ve been experimenting with some dope different type stuff for the New Orleans Super Star “Cheeky Blakk”. She has a lot of hot, hot, hot material. Her fans will be impressed! (6) New Bust Down works are being recorded and that’s coming out crazy dope too. (7) LoKee and I are working on some dope and we got heat for the street! (8) Disturbed Young Hustlaz’s new LP will be releasing soon and I have some super dope heat on there too! (9) I also have some speaker ripping beats for Da U Boys’ next project – a group I believe in. And also so much more, I’ll save some! lol. Anyone who has not heard of these artists, please lend an ear!!! Thank me later!

THE HEAT MAGAZINE: What are some of your favorite memories?

ICE MIKE: I was the first local artist to perform in a major concert at the UNO Lakefront Arena as a rapper, and to hear the entire place scream “I GOT GAME” back to me!!! That was the best in the beginning. I have an audio clip recording of that part that night! Also, every show as the music director or DJ with Joe Blakk was a great memory, but when the 2nd floor at the State Palace was about to collapse, because everybody was jumping at the same time – that was scary, but at the end of the day, to have people feel your music like that is truly what a real artist lives for! When I was the DJ for DJ JIMI & Juvenile, we were in Memphis and at the hotel Jimi’s grandmother (R.I.P.) had smashed her middle finger in the van door. Later that night at the concert, she wanted to show the crowd that at her age, she still could boogie and have fun. Everything was great until she tried to show them that she didn’t even have a hurt middle finger. Things didn’t go to well after that! Lol. So many more memories it’s just truly a blessing.
THE HEAT MAGAZINE:  Tell us about Tim Smooth & what he meant to the industry.

ICE MIKE: What Tim meant to the industry is, New Orleans isn’t an old timey dumb down city. We are ahead of the game and have enough hospitality to be super dope and unified in art and business.

“Though other rappers may look real tough, they’re doing N.W.A stuff, to Tim you’re not rough enough!” – © Tim Smooth (R.I.P.)

THE HEAT MAGAZINE: If you could talk to Tim right now, what would you say to him?

ICE MIKE: If I could talk to Tim right now, what would I say…hmmm? “STAY!”

THE HEAT MAGAZINE:  What is your advice for younger artists, just breaking into the business?

ICE MIKE: Stop waiting on folks to do it for you. That day isn’t coming. Read everything that explains how the music industry operates (not magazine mess, but information). Don’t just throw out everything you make. Understand your brand. There is a reason why major labels call a single a single. Operate like you are a major. Play the industry like a card game. Strategically! And remember, your first impression is your best impression and you’re only as good as your last hit! And one more thing – copyright and publish your works to protect your ownership and authorship of your original art.

THE HEAT MAGAZINE: Is there anyone you would like to work with, that you may not have already worked with?

ICE MIKE: Preferably, artists who haven’t been heard of before – that is who I like to produce – people with authentic vision of the vibe being created. A lot of artists don’t know how to be produced. They feel challenged when being told what to do, which usually results in a song that is not all that it can be. However, artists who are coachable or at least open minded, tend to be the super hits. Thus, attitude plays a major part, so sometimes a not so skilled rapper can come out with a doper and hotter record than an artist who is completely skilled. But the right person who is the complete package, with a great attitude is who I’m always searching for!

THE HEAT MAGAZINE: What inspires you?

ICE MIKE: As a child I would play music for my Mom on her very expensive stereo with massive 18-inch speakers, for band, or dance rehearsal, and/or for just good home recreation. So the happiness in my household combined with playing the right songs and she’d be dancing or singing. The wrong songs would move closer to her telling me to turn it down.  When breakdancing came along, I’d make sure my tapes to dance to were made to give me that feeling. People liked my tapes. That’s what made me a DJ and I capture myself reliving that feeling in my productions as well. So I could be inspired by seeing a mother doing fun things with her children, or loud speaker banging beats, or dances that are trend-setting, or singers with class and showmanship, or marching bands, or jokes! They all are things that instantly inspire me!

THE HEAT MAGAZINE: Growing up, who were your musical influences?

ICE MIKE: The Meters, Chocolate Milk, Earth, Wind & Fire, Brass Construction, Funkadelics, Quincy Jones – and at like age 5, I was a show stopper dancing during intermission at a Commodores concert in the Super Dome. I met them after, and that I was able to see that they were real people not just a record cover was really heavy in the way that before I understood what talent was, it was already bringing me thru doors others fight for and connecting me to greatness. My Mom brought me to that concert! Zapp was new and they were there, too. I was entertained as I’ve always aimed to do.

THE HEAT MAGAZINE: The New Orleans Union for Entertainment (N.O.U.E.) has really helped create a buzz in and around New Orleans. What do you think of the union?

ICE MIKE: N.O.U.E. is certainly powerful! Also, being unified about the cause, is the entire reason of me pioneering for New Orleans to have our own labels in our genre with recordings worthy of receiving money and notoriety. We have what we need to be little New York, and while some have almost let it slip thru our fingers for the quick big money which let the majors have our market again, now 20 + yrs later, finally it’s like where my head has been, now the city’s most power artists are unified and thinking the same way and I love it! Success leaves clues and N.O.U.E. is the one to watch!

THE HEAT MAGAZINE: Who do you find are some of our up and coming artists?

ICE MIKE: HOLLYGROVE REDD, 3D NATEE, KRIS BAPTISTE, TYGER DA GODDESS, CODAC, & DEE1 are the top among the names of our next Super Stars.

THE HEAT MAGAZINE: Tell us an interesting fact about yourself that our readers may not know.

ICE MIKE: In addition to living in Algiers and Marrero, part of my life was in Hollygrove on Livingston Street. Also in New Orleans East on Bundy and also on Morrison. Uptown I lived on Chipawa. My roots are West Bank, but I’m from everywhere. I love music and I love my city! New Orleans, Louisiana. Secondly, I DJ for the number one DJ organization in America, “The DEFINITION DJ’s”, and I also do a radio show on the number 4 internet radio station online, http://www.ROBGRADIO.com sponsored by The Heat Magazine.

THE DJ DEDICATED TO RAPPERS AND PRODUCERS WITHOUT A MAJOR DEAL!!! ICEMIKE1200
– Ice King Clod

EDITOR’S NOTE:  The Heat Magazine salutes Ice Mike – a true legend in the music game. We also support the Definition DJs and sponsor Rob G Radio.


About the author

Arlene Culpepper, Asst. Editor-in-Chief

Vice-President & Asst. Editor-in-Chief of The Heat Magazine, Arlene is a Louisiana native, Certified Paralegal, Publicist, Owner of MIKODreamz PR, co-owner of 504Diffusion, writer, producer, and jack of all trades, who is heavily involved in her community as well as serving as Media Advisor for New Orleans Union for Entertainment (NOUE), Member of the 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, & 2016 NOLA Music Awards & Member of the Press Club of New Orleans. Her work is published across the web. She is also working on her first novel & aspires to turn it into a film & is currently writing the authorized biography of the legendary Pimp C of UGK. She can be reached via email at Arlene@theheatmag.com. Follow her on Twitter - @Arlene_HeatMag & Instagram - @hurricanearlene.