||This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (July 2006)|
|Birth name||Joseph Williams|
|Born||June 22, 1962|
|Origin||New York, New York, U.S.|
|Genres||Hardcore hip hop
Old school hip hop
East Coast Rap
|Labels||Fresh/Sleeping Bag Records
Just-Ice (born Joseph Williams Jr.) A former bouncer at punk clubs, Ice was one of the first of the New York MCs to embrace hardcore rap, and when he burst out of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, as Just-Ice, he gained instant notoriety. Muscle-bound, tattooed, aggressive—he resembled Mike Tyson in more than just looks—and with a mouthful of gold teeth, which was the style in his neighborhood. His slickly produced debut single "LaToya/Put that Record back On" was an instant hit. However, a more down-and-dirty sound could be found on the 12" B-Side track, "That Girl is a Slut," which, for the time, was relatively profane and owed at least some inspiration to Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick's "La Di Da Di." Released soon afterward, his debut album Back to the Old School proved he was more than just a pretty face. It came out on the independent New York label Fresh/Sleeping Bag label in 1986 and sounded like no other hip-hop album, thanks to his fast, forceful rhymes, human beatbox DMX, and the distinctive production of Mantronix's Kurtis Mantronik. Ice was also one of the first MCs to embrace the teachings of the Nation of Gods and Earths on a recording, as well as being a pioneer in incorporating dancehall-style toasting into hip-hop rhymes. The album is best known in Hip Hop circles for the single "Cold Gettin' Dumb"; the universally known beat can be found reworked on Redman's single "It's Like That" featuring K-Solo, from the 1996 album, Muddy Waters.
When he was held by Washington, D.C., police regarding the murder of a drug dealer in 1987 ("Murder, Drugs, and the Rap Star," read a Washington Post headline), it gave him an even greater notoriety (he was never charged with the murder). Declaring war on D.C.'s go-go scene and loudly criticizing Run-D.M.C. (very popular in New York at this time), Just-Ice set a pattern for many a future hip-hop feud. Little could halt Just-Ice's ascension to hip hop stardom, though the departure of Mantronik from Sleeping Bag was a bad omen. KRS-One stepped in to produce 1987's Kool & Deadly (Justicizms), an album that swapped Mantronik's hi-tech skills for raw, elemental beats and rhymes. The British and New York public that had so enthusiastically embraced Back to the Old School was indifferent about this one, and 1989's The Desolate One (with KRS-One back in the producer's seat) was no great improvement. Legendary turntablist Grandmaster Flash produced Ice’s fourth album and last for Fresh/Sleeping Bag, Masterpiece.
By 1990, both Just-Ice and Sleeping Bag appeared to be quickly fading as a new generation of MCs and labels overtook them. He continued to release albums at intervals across the 1990s, but they were on tiny independent labels—although one, 1993's Gun Talk, had major-label distribution and had five of the album's 10 cuts produced by Kurtis Mantronik—and were seldom noticed. This was in part due to Just-Ice's gruff exterior. In one instance at the now defunct Chicago hip hop radio station WJPC 950 AM, while promoting the album, Just-Ice went on an expletive-filled rant about the state of hip hop. The station abruptly cut off his mike, stopped the interview, had security escort Just-Ice out of the building, and took the lead single out of its rotation.
Just-Ice was a member of hip-hop super session the Stop the Violence Movement, which released one single ("Self Destruction") in 1989, which promoted peace in the communities.
In recent years, Just Ice released several white label 12-inch singles with production by hip hop superstar producer DJ Premier.
In 2010, Just-Ice teamed up with KRS-ONE again to release "The Just-Ice & KRS-ONE EP Volume #1".
- Back to the Old School (1986)
- Kool & Deadly (1987)
- The Desolate One (1989)
- Masterpiece (1990)
- Gun Talk (1993)
- Kill the Rhythm (Like a Homicide) (1995)
- VII (1998)
- Gangster Boogie (2008) (digital download only)
- 32 Degrees (2009) (digital download only)
- The Just-Ice and KRS-ONE EP Volume#1 (May 2010) (digital download only)