”L.A., home of the body bag.” With those first curt words on his new long-form music video, O.G. The Original Gangster Video, rapper Ice-T gets across more unpleasant truths than any of New Jack City’s glossy gun battles. His solid acting turn in City widened the performer’s appeal beyond the rap audience, but O.G., a rough-and-ready tie-in to his best-selling album, shows no signs of selling out. Ice-T also served as the video’s director. That means he bears the blame for O.G.’s visual sameness — many songs simply have the rapper doing his thing for the camera — but he’s still a powerful enough presence to give this video a leg up on the album (especially if you have your VCR hooked up to the stereo). And while the brutal lyrics to raps like ”New Jack Hustler” lay the onetime street hood open to charges of glamorizing violence, seeing him in action reveals Ice-T to be one of the more thoughtful ironists working this narrow turf. Bristling with cauterizing anger, O.G. paints a vivid, ugly picture of ghetto street life. Those who don’t want to hear it are probably the ones who should. B+
Lead Performer: Ice-T; Distributor: Warner Home Video
Posted August 16 1991 — 12:00 AM EDT
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