Just-Ice (born Joseph Williams Jr.) A former bouncer at punk clubs, Ice was one of the first of the New York MCs to embrace hardcore rap, and when he burst out of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, as Just-Ice, he gained instant notoriety. Muscle-bound, tattooed, aggressive—he resembled Mike Tyson in more than just looks—and with a mouthful of gold teeth, which was the style in his neighborhood. His slickly produced debut single “LaToya/Put that Record back On” was an instant hit.
However, a more down-and-dirty sound could be found on the 12″ B-Side track, “That Girl is a Slut,” which, for the time, was relatively profane and owed at least some inspiration to Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick’s “La Di Da Di.” Released soon afterward, his debut album Back to the Old School proved he was more than just a pretty face. It came out on the independent New York label Fresh/Sleeping Bag label in 1986 and sounded like no other hip-hop album, thanks to his fast, forceful rhymes, human beatbox DMX, and the distinctive production of Mantronix’s Kurtis Mantronik. Ice was also one of the first MCs to embrace the teachings of the Nation of Gods and Earths on a recording, as well as being a pioneer in incorporating dancehall-style toasting into hip-hop rhymes. The album is best known in Hip Hop circles for the single “Cold Gettin’ Dumb”; the universally known beat can be found reworked on Redman’s single “It’s Like That” featuring K-Solo, from the 1996 album, Muddy Waters.
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