Ice-T seems to be able to do it all: Not only did he win a Grammy Award earlier this month, he's dad to a young daughter and is heading into his 20th season with "Law & Order: SVU," once again sharing scenery with Christopher Meloni, who's back in the franchise as Elliot Stabler.
There may be one thing Ice-T doesn't do, and that's laundry. But more on that in a minute. First, we all need to know: What's it been like working alongside Meloni again?
"It's cool," Ice-T told TODAY. "It's like good old times; it's fun. You won't be disappointed."
Meloni is back, as "SVU" fans know," in his own "L&O" series, "Organized Crime," which premieres April 1. An early promo showed the actor (as Stabler) talking to Ice's Odafin "Fin" Tutola, trying to explain why he's been gone for so long (Meloni left the series in 2011).
"I've been friends with Chris for years," said Ice. "Even though he's been gone, I stay in touch with him. So when it was time for him to come back, we knocked out the scenes like old times. It's going to be far more emotional for the fans, 'cause they haven't had contact with him since. I have."
He also revealed a bit of news: "We're gonna cross over a couple of times."
Speaking of the fans, though, it's true that although "SVU" is in its 22nd season (Ice-T's Tutuola is the longest-running Black character on TV), it shows no signs of aging with the fans. "It definitely surprises me," he says. "They're more and more rock solid with it. A lot of people are fans — and we started before they were born!"
There is a serious side to the fandom, though. With episodes that deal with some of the most intimate, personal sort of crimes ("SVU" stands for "Special Victims Unit"), many fans find it therapeutic, he says. "The show works on a couple different planes, and it's helpful to people who maybe haven't had justice in their situation," he says. "They hope to see it on our show. It's not only entertainment, but it's therapy for people who are victims and survivors."
But TV isn't Ice's only area of expertise. While he won a Grammy Award in 1991 as part of a duo or a group that included Quincy Jones, Big Daddy Kane and Kool Moe Dee, picking up his second award (this time in the metal category) for his band Body Count was sweet in a whole different way. (Here's video of the moment it happened, but brace yourself for some swearing.)
"That first one, I got in the back door," he allows. "This one was for a band that made 'Cop Killer,' and it's all me. It's different."
For those who might not remember, Body Count's "Cop Killer" came out in 1992 and was hugely controversial; the fact that Ice has played a cop for the last 20 years (and in other roles) is an irony that isn't lost on him. "What a difference a day makes," he says. "It blew my mind. We were the most hated band in the U.S. for a while."
These days, though, life is less controversial. He makes commercials — like his latest one for Tide, which is pushing its cold-wash technology. The campaign features him paired with Stone Cold Steve Austin (get the "chill" theme?) making "cold" calls to other relevant celebrities like Vanilla Ice and Mr. T.
"When I heard they were pairing me with Stone Cold Steve Austin, I'm like, I'm in!" says Ice, who then adds, "I don't wash my own clothes; (my wife) Coco does the clothes in our family, but she got the memo."
All right, so maybe we found the one thing Ice-T doesn't do.
But at 63, he's just fine with — to paraphrase his 1991 song "Ricochet" — rhyming smooth and acting nice on TV.
"I'm much more mellow, but I'm more focused," he says. "Think of me like a Navy SEAL back from the war. He's still a Navy SEAL. There was so much aggression to get out of the ghetto and make these moves to get to the place where I'm at. Now my aggression is for people like myself; I want to see them accomplish what I accomplished. I made it to the promised land, but my friends haven't and I want to motivate them."
And one of those people he wants to be a role model for his is daughter Chanel, 5 (he has two other children, LeTesha, 45, and Tracy, 29, from previous relationships).
"When a man has a baby in the second half of his life, like Muhammad Ali said, it's a reset on his life," says Ice. "I've gotta be successful, keep my name strong — 'cause that's what I leave her. I'm on my second wind right now."