On the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, Ice-T sat down with PEOPLE to discuss his memories of growing along with the music genre that turned into its own culture. He discussed his role in A&E’s Hip Hop Treasures, which is a special that provides a behind-the-scenes look at the people and items that gave birth to hip-hop and helps artists retrieve them. Some of the items are even archived in put on display at The Universal Hip-Hop Museum. The rapper shared that is excited to celebrate hip-hop’s “huge milestone.”
Ice-T’s Journey Through Hip-Hop
“They said hip-hop wouldn’t last, but we knew it was a culture, just like the rock era. It was a moment in time when new music was born,” he explained. “Now, I say hip-hop has gray hair. When you meet somebody that says, ‘I grew up on rap,’ they could be in their 60s, they could be in their 70s. You can meet a lady looking like my grandma, and she says, ‘I used to break dance.'”
Elsewhere in the conversation, Ice-T detailed one of the biggest moments of hip-hop for him, although there were many throughout the genre’s history. He says that he’s been a part of so many great moments but his biggest came from a time he shared with Run-DMC.
“That was when they had their Adidas sponsorship and they made everybody hold their Adidas up over their heads. I remember being like, ‘Wow,'” Ice-T described. “It was the first time I saw hip-hop really done in a full production, arena-type setting because hip-hop had always been done in basements or roller skating rinks, you know, small venues. When I saw there was overproduction and lasers, I was like, ‘This is gonna be really big,’ And Run DMC was the group to take it to that level.”
Hip Hop Treasures premieres Saturday, Aug. 12 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on A&E.