Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

Rapper Ice-T Takes A Quiz On Pantyhose

Rapper Ice-T
Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Ice-T has made a name for himself in rap, metal, breakdance movies, video games, and, most recently, on Law and Order: SVU. We're hoping to pitch him on our new idea for a TV show: Law and Order: NPR, in which we solve crimes and then encourage the still traumatized but grateful victims to pledge at any level.

Ice-T appeared in the documentary Pimps Up, Ho's Down, so we've invited him to play a game called "Pimps Up, Pantyhose Down." Three questions about a different kind of hos(e.)

Copyright © 2010 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

SVU: SVU." We're not talking, of course, about Richard Belzer. We're talking about Ice-T. Ice-T, welcome to WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

ICE: Hey, what's happening, everybody?

: We've got to ask, you've done so many things in your career for so long. Do you ever find that people, like, don't know that you've done other things?

ICE: Oh, absolutely.

: People who know...

ICE: Absolutely.

: Yeah.

ICE: I mean, right now, I've been on "Law and Order" 10 years, so like you talk to an 18-year-old kid, he was 8 years old when I started "Law and Order," so a lot of them don't have any, you know, connection to my music career or any of the, you know, madness we did back in the '80s and '90s. So, you know, it's cool.

: Are they shocked when you tell them?

ICE: Their mothers usually tell them.

: Really?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ICE: Or either - you know what else? I mean, like the grandma or somebody, you know, in the airport and their grandmother loves me from "SVU" and she's like, oh, that's Ice-T. And their daughter's like, do you really know who that is? You know.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ICE: They always say, he's the police. They go: Mama, he's far from a cop.

: Yeah. So let's talk a little bit about the madness. What do you mean by that, exactly?

ICE: Well, you know, I mean we started hard-core hip hop back - you know, I started rapping in 1982. You know, it scared the hell out of America. I mean, we went on to do a lot of different, other things that really shook up America. I mean, I was - how many people in your audience will ever have the honor of having the president of the United States say their name in anger?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

: Can you imagine like, back in 1986 when, like you say, you were being condemned by everybody, including the president, of - like, looking in the camera and saying: Someday, America, I'm going to star in your favorite prime-time drama?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ICE: It's only in America, baby.

: I know.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

ROY BLOUNT JR: Right, right. A little hand for America.

: Well, let's go back to the beginning, and let's talk about the beginning of your musical career. You grew up in Southern California. Where did you start performing? How did you get into that?

ICE: Well, I went to Crenshaw High School. After that, I went into the Army. I did four years in the military. And when I came out of the military, I got right into trouble.

: Yeah.

ICE: You know, I was out on the streets doing everything. I mean, I robbed banks. I did all kinds of things. And, you know, the music business, the rap music business was just starting. And I would go to clubs and yet, after I would go out and do whatever I was doing, I would go in the clubs and I would rhyme just to get attention. And I started to kind of mix in some of the facts of the life that I was living with the music, and we created a genre which they called gangster rap.

: I'm sorry. I mean, maybe it's just me, but I'm just kind of amazed at the idea: Well, I was robbing banks and that didn't get me enough attention, so I decided to make up rhymes. And it worked, you know?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ICE: Well, you know what? I got news for you. You don't want to get attention when you're robbing a bank.

: Yeah, I guess not.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

: You want to sneak around. I'm sorry, this is why I'd be really bad at living your life.

ICE: No, no, no.

: You don't want to do that.

ICE: Two different lifestyles. Two different lives.

: So it's amazing. though. I mean, you were a bank robber. You were living that life. Now you're a television star. You're about to direct your first movie. Would you suggest that to young kids instead of saying...

ICE: No.

: ...going to drama school? Go rob a bank or two, get some life experience.

ICE: No, no. I mean, I would say - you know, what they think is square is really the correct way. You know, go to school, get an education, graduate. You know, get a degree. I mean, those things that, you know, lots of cats like myself tried to do, those were what we thought were considered shortcuts.

: Right.

ICE: But you usually make a detour through the penitentiary, and then you come out, you know, 20 years later. And now, your shortcut has turned into the longest route you ever thought.

: I want to talk to you about your acting career. One of the things that everybody's noticed is, you take you, you got Ludacris, you got Mos Def, you got Common, you got Andre Benjamin - all you guys are doing really well as actors in movies and TV. You compare it to - oh, let's just say Britney Spears in the movie "Crossroads." It seems as if you guys...

ICE: No, let's not compare.

: No.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

: I want to compare you favorably because you guys are really good actors. I mean, is there something about hip hop that lends itself to acting?

ICE: I think to act, you have to be real. You have to be willing to zero yourself out and become the character. And I think, you know, also you're dealing with cats that come from a background with no opportunity. So when you give us an opportunity, we really apply ourselves.

: Now, you're working on a documentary about hip hop, about rap music.

ICE: Yeah, my first film that I'm ever going to direct is called "The Art of Rap." I'm going in to the inside of the rappers' heads and let people know how we actually do it. It's not about the cars. It's not about the girls. It's not about the lifestyle. It's about the actual craft of how rappers do it.

: Do you think that - I mean, I don't know if you've ever done this before, but have you ever considered having like, an Ice rap summit: you, Ice Cube, Vanilla Ice?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ICE: Yeah, Vanilla Ice - he's a funny guy.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

: Do you know Vanilla Ice?

ICE: Yeah, I met Vanilla Ice. I met Vanilla Ice later on in his career, once - now that he doesn't want to be called Vanilla Ice. And he was actually a really cool dude.

: Right.

ICE: You know? So I think back in the day, we didn't really dig it because...

: No.

ICE: ...one of his mistakes was, he came into the rap business saying he was from the street. And we were like, what street, Sesame Street?

: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ICE: You know? But that was a mistake. He didn't have to say that. All he had to do was say, hey, I'm a white kid, I'm trying to rap, and I want to be accepted. You don't have to lie and say you're from someplace you're not, you know?

PAULA POUNDSTONE: Well, wait a minute, when you say the street, everybody's from a street.

ICE: You're right, from a street.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah.

ICE: But when we say the street, that means you probably had to live off of being in the street. You might have had to survive on the street.

: Yeah, I mean I grew up on a street called Cinnamon Tree Lane. I don't think that gets me too phat.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

: I don't think - next to Vanilla Ice, in fact. He was my neighbor. He was very nice at the time.

ICE: Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.

: I know. I don't think I'm going to try to get any rap cred based on that.

AMY DICKINSON: Ice-T, Peter Sagal totally has the look going.

: In what way do I have the look?

DICKINSON: You've got that look. You've got the bling, the girls, the cars.

: Oh, yeah.

DICKINSON: The...

ICE: If he's got the bling, the girls and the cars, he don't need to make music then.

: That's true.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

: I'm skipping the middle part.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

: Ice-T, we're delighted to have you with us. We have invited you here to play a game we're calling?

CARL KASELL, Host:

"Pimps Up, Pantyhose Down."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ICE: Oh. That sounds good.

: I'm sorry, I just...

DICKINSON: Carl!

: I just have to take a moment to get over the fact we made Carl say that.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

: All right, we're going to go on now.

ICE: Pimps up, pantyhose down.

: Of course, you appeared in the documentary "Pimps Up, Hos Down." We thought we'd ask you about another kind of hose, pantyhose.

ICE: Oh, lord.

: Well, I know. Answer two out of three questions correctly, you'll win our prize for one of our listeners, Carl's voice in their home answering machine or voicemail. Carl, who is Ice-T playing for?

KASELL: Ice is playing for Captain John Frederick from Lakenheath, England.

: My gosh.

ICE: Can I apologize to the captain now?

: Go right ahead.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

: All right, here we go. This is your first question. Allen Gant Sr. was inspired by his wife to invent a garment which attached stockings to underwear, but he didn't originally call it pantyhose. The first commercial pair went on sale in 1959, and was called what? A, Gant's Miraculous and Amazing Toning Textile; B, panty legs; or C, footed britches.

ICE: Where was this guy from?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

: I don't know. Probably not the street, would be my bet.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

ICE: What's his name?

: His name was Allen Gant Sr., the inventor of what we now know as pantyhose. But he called it either - when he invented it - Gant's Miraculous and Amazing Toning Textile, panty legs, or footed britches.

ICE: I'll say footed britches.

: Footed britches sounds good. It does. I'd buy them. But they were panty legs. Panty legs is what they were called.

DICKINSON: Panty legs.

: All right, two more chances. Here we go. Pantyhose, it turns out, are not just for wearing anymore. In fact, according to the blog Lifehacker, people are using them how? A, to build massive slingshots for monthly panty fights; B, to stuff with crepe paper, tying them on, and attending four-legged parties; or C, to keep their onions fresh.

BLOUNT JR: Is that a euphemism?

: No, it is not a euphemism.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ICE: How about the onion one?

: How about the onion one? You're right, sir, the onions. Very good.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

: Put them in pantyhose, you hang them up, they stay fresh.

ICE: What the hell is a four-legged party? What the hell?

: Oh, man.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

: You talk about the madness in my youth, that's what we're talking about. All right, this is great. You got one right with one to go. You get this right, you win it all for the good captain. According to MSNBC anyway, more and more men are wearing pantyhose. On men, though, they're most commonly called what? A, mantyhose.

ICE: What?

: B, smoothers; or C, boxerhose. Mantyhose, smoothers or boxerhose?

ICE: Why would a man wear pantyhose?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

: Don't ask me, ask MSNBC. Just for that smooth feeling.

DICKINSON: Just in case you get your knickers in a twist.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah.

: Exactly.

POUNDSTONE: Or to hide his onions.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ICE: OK, what's the last one?

: The last one is - here we go, I'm going to give him all your choices. Was it A - are they called A, mantyhose; B, smoothers; or C, boxerhose?

ICE: That's so stupid.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ICE: I'll say mantyhose.

: Mantyhose. I don't know what this is going to do for your cred, man, but you're right.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

: It's called mantyhose.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

: Carl, how did Ice-T do on our quiz?

KASELL: He had two correct answers, Peter, so Ice wins it for Captain John Frederick.

ICE: Yeah.

: Yes. You won.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

: You're right, you can be successful in anything you do. I think you're a lesson for today's youth.

ICE: Hey, way - hey, I like winning. I hate losing. So that was good for me. I feel good.

: That's good. Ice-T is a rapper and an actor. He stars in "Law and Order: SVU." Ice-T, thank you so much for being with us today. Great pleasure to talk to you.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

: Woo-hoo, man, thanks so much.

ICE: Thank you.

: Take care.

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