Who is Spike? Ice-T introduces longtime friend and co-author

Bruno Cooke July 20, 2022
Who is Spike? Ice-T introduces longtime friend and co-author

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Actor, rapper and producer Ice-T’s book Split Decision: Life Stories came out yesterday (19 July 2022), written in collaboration with his longtime friend and former partner in crime “Spike” – what do we know about their relationship?

Born 1958, Ice-T (real name: Tracy Lauren Marrow) has a CV as long as your arm.

He’s a rapper songwriter, actor and producer, and has made a name for himself in genres hip hop, gangsta rap and heavy metal. 

He also served in the United Staters Army for two years, from 1977 to 1979. But what do we know about Ice-T’s friend Spike, what is his age and how and when did they meet?

Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Who is Ice-T’s longtime friend Spike?

Ice-T introduced his friend Spike to audiences of NBC’s Today show this morning (Wednesday, 20 July 2022). They also joined The View for a conversation about the book.

They sat side by side and discussed the life they shared before Spike went to prison to serve a life sentence.

Throughout much of each of their early lives, Ice-T said, “Spike and I were side by side”. He described the man sitting next to him as his “best friend” and “partner in crime”.

Ice-T was born Tracy Lauren Marrow in Newark, New Jersey on 16 February 1958. But age 13, following the deaths of both his parents (both from heart attacks), he grew up in south Los Angeles. And it was there that he met the man we know as Spike.

Source: YouTube screenshot from The View

How did Ice-T and Spike meet, and is Spike his real name?

By the time they met, Spike told the hosts of the Today program this morning, he was “already acclimated to that lifestyle with my brothers”. 

He and Ice-T met shortly after the latter moved across the country to live with his aunt and her husband in View Park-Windsor Hills, an affluent Black neighbourhood in south Los Angeles.

They hit it off immediately. “Everything that I did,” Spike said, “he did. We were like round-the-clock crimes.”

Spike does not appear to be the real name of Ice-T’s former best friend and partner in crime – Hot New Hip Hop refers to him as Mike, aka “Certified Spike”. Interestingly, there is a Pinterest user who shares the moniker, although it’s not an active account.

What happened to him? Why did he spend so long in prison?

“Spike and I were trying to make music together at the same time,” Ice-T said this morning, “and I stopped [the criminal activity]”.

During an episode of the Ricky Smiley Show released on 18 July 2022, Ice-T claims that he and Spike committed “hundreds and hundreds of robberies”. 

“I told my boys,” he said, “I’m done with this life. I’m going to do something better.” But Spike “tried one more lick,” Ice-T told the Today program, “and ended up getting a life sentence.”

Spike served 26 years in a level 4 security prison in California. When he got out, he came to Ice-T with the idea of writing a book – the book that would become Split Decision.

Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

How old is Spike compared with Ice-T?

Spike is about four years younger than his former partner in crime Ice-T.

Born in Los Angeles in 1962, his age is either 59 or 60 at time of writing; Ice-T is 64.

The friends met in the early 1980s. Spike was an original member of Ice’s Rhyme Syndicate. The hiphop group was active from 1987 to 1992. It included such notable members as Lord Finesse, Everlast, Toddy Tee and WC.

He lives in Los Angeles now, and according to his bio on the Simon and Schuster website “devotes much of his time to leading outreach programs aimed at at-risk youth”.

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How many books has Ice-T written? Net worth explored

Thrift Books lists five books, but not all of those are actually by Ice-T.

Split Decision appears to be the first that he’s actually written. He also wrote the introduction to Yusuf Jah and Sister Shah’keyah’s 1997 book Uprising.

Ice-T’s net worth is, according to Celebrity Net Worth, in the region of $65 million. He earns a salary of $250,000 per episode for his work on Law & Order: SVU, which works out as around $6 million per season.

His enduring success as a musician, rapper and producer has also ensured Ice-T remains financially buoyant. 

Interestingly, however, Hot New Hip Hop quotes him as saying that being a rapper – one of the professions in which he triumphed – is quickly becoming “the most dangerous occupation”, and warning people against it.

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Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.