“Now I’ve heard hos cry ‘bout the winds being high and the law being on they tail. About snow and sleet being asshole deep and the tricks can go to hell. At some greasy spoon or juke saloon, you’ll find them killing their time. Singing hard luck tears and sucking up beers and the pimps ain’t getting a dime...”

Rapper, actor and reality star Ice-T and his manager and longtime friend and manager Jorge Hinojosa are supposed to be discussing their film, Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this week, but the pair become a little distracted as they trade off their favourite Iceberg lines.

It’s hard to fault the producer (Ice) and director (Hinojosa) for getting carried away in the meaty and evocative prose and poetry of the reformed pimp-turned-author. Their enthusiasm for their documentary subject’s work is contagious. And listening to Ice-T tear into the material with a wry rhythm, coaxing the rhymes into a powerful flow, really cements just how much of an influence Iceberg Slim has had on Ice-T’s life and his music.

The future gangsta rapper first discovered the works of Iceberg Slim, particularly his most famous book, Pimp The Story of My Life, when he was in high-school. He was immediately sucked into the brutal and vital world that the writer portrayed in his books.

“In high-school, you’re doing American Literature,” Ice-T recalls. “You’re reading Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn. So I opened up an Iceberg Slim book, I’m like ‘What the fuck is this? If I’ve got to read something, I need to be reading this!”

His fondness for quoting from the books even earned him his name. “People would say ‘Say some more of that Ice stuff, T,’ and that’s where my name, Ice-T, came from. It’s not the drink. It’s short of Iceberg. And my boys today call me Berg. So it’s just been a part of that whole Ice-T thing.”

Iceberg’s storytelling was also a major influence on Ice-T’s work as a rapper. “If you really listen to my music, my music is more like stories than party records. I never made party records. I used to intentionally make records that you couldn’t dance to so you were forced to listen to the words.”

As the film -- which explores the late pimp and writer’s life through interviews with his family and admirers like Henry Rollins, Chris Rock and Snoop Dogg -- reveals, Ice wasn’t the only person in hip-hop to be inspired by the somewhat mysterious figure.

“I know Jay-Z calls himself Iceberg Slim on occasional and people namecheck him all the time,” Hinojosa says. “But he was a pioneer in doing what he did, taking a street story and putting it in literature. And Ice took basically the same concept and did it for music and it was called gangsta rap and that still lives on today. So when you look at 50 Cent and Game and all these other guys, the trail always comes back to Ice. So you can trace that back to Iceberg Slim.”

Ice-T believes that Slim’s continuing influence also has a lot to do with his inspirational real-life story.

“I think also, when you see the movie, he’s somebody that just bettered himself. A lot of rappers they come from rough backgrounds. I mean now, a lot of them don’t. They claim they do. But when a lot of us really started, we had rough lives and I was the one that said, instead of talking about a party, let me translate this rough life into music and see who bites. The whole world went for it. They wanted to know about it. Now, kids that don’t really have that background fabricate that background because it’s intriguing to know people that had it rough,” he says, throwing a little shade at the new generation of rappers before continuing.

“But then, also, somebody like Jay-Z and myself have elevated and continually transformed, which Iceberg Slim did, too. He started out the wrong way, which we all did. He had an epiphany in prison, he came out. The next thing you know he’s a writer. Well, the next thing you know, I’m a rapper. Who would have thought I would have been a rapper? And honestly, when I started to rap, songs like "6 N The Mornin," I didn’t think anybody wanted to hear them. And when I found out that people wanted to hear this crime shit, I’m like ‘I got a stockpile of this shit!’” he laughs.

“So you take someone like Jay Z who, it’s plain he sold drugs before. I never sold drugs, but he did that and now he’s a big Fortune 500 type cat. This is inspirational to kids in the street. Not necessarily staying in the streets, but making this evolution and evolving.”

For Ice, there’s something about that struggle that is essential both hip hop and writing like Iceberg Slim’s, and that’s why the latter holds such an appeal for the former.

“I just think hip hop is really an art form that comes from hardship and translates hardship into music and to success and that’s the story of Iceberg me, and a lot of other people.”

Loading Slideshow...
  • Javier Bardem @ 'Sons Of The Clouds: The Last Colony' Premiere

    Actor/ Producer Javier Bardem attends the 'Sons Of The Clouds: The Last Colony' premiere during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival at the Ryerson Theatre on September 13, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Sarjoun Faour Photography/Getty Images)

  • Penelope Cruz @ 'Twice Born' Premiere

    Actress Penelope Cruz arrives at the 'Twice Born' premiere during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 13, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

  • Penelope Cruz @ 'Twice Born' Premiere

    Actress Penelope Cruz arrives at the 'Twice Born' premiere during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 13, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

  • Katherine LaNasa And Billy Bob Thornton @ 'Jane Mansfield's Car' Premiere

    Actress Katherine LaNasa (L) and actor/filmmaker Billy Bob Thornton arrive at the "Jane Mansfield's Car" Premiere during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival at the Roy Thomson Hall on September 13, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

  • Penélope Cruz @ 'Twice Born' Photo Call

    Actress Penélope Cruz attends the "Twice Born" Photo Call during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival at TIFF Bell Lightbox on September 13, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

  • Emile Hirsch @ Guess Portrait Studio

    Actor Emile Hirsch at Guess Portrait Studio on Day 8 during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival at Bell Lightbox on September 13, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Charles Leonio/Getty Images for Guess)

  • Monica Bellucci @ 'Rhino Season' Premiere

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  • Octavia Spencer @ 'Smashed Premiere

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  • Miss Universe Canada @ 'Rhino Season' Premiere

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  • Melanie Mullen And Ziya Tong @ 'Revolution' Screening Party

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  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead @ 'Smashed' Premiere

    Actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead attends the "Smashed" premiere during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival at Ryerson Theatre on September 12, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images)

  • Marisa Tomei @ 'Inescapable'

    Actress Marisa Tomei arrives at the premiere for "Inescapable" during the Toronto International Film Festival on Tuesday Sept. 11, 2012 in Toronto. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Ruba Nadda @ 'Inescapable'

    Director Ruba Nadda arrives at the premiere for "Inescapable" during the Toronto International Film Festival on Tuesday Sept. 11, 2012 in Toronto. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

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    Actor Joshua Jackson arrives at the premiere for "Inescapable" during the Toronto International Film Festival on Tuesday Sept. 11, 2012 in Toronto. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Jason Bateman @ 'Disconnect'

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  • Rachel McAdams @ 'Passion'

    Actress Rachel McAdams attends the premiere for "Passion" at The Elgin Theatre during the Toronto International Film Festival on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in Toronto. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)

  • Audrey Tatou @ 'Therese Desqueyroux'

    French actress Audrey Tatou arrives at the premiere for "Therese Desqueyroux" during the Toronto International Film Festival on Tuesday Sept. 11, 2012 in Toronto. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

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  • Abbie Cornish @ InStyle and Hollywood Foreign Press Association Party

    Actress Abbie Cornish poses at the 13th Annual InStyle and Hollywood Foreign Press Association Toronto International Film Festival Party, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in Toronto. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

  • Jacqueline MacInnes Wood @ InStyle and Hollywood Foreign Press Association Party

    Actress Jacqueline MacInnes Wood arrives at the 13th Annual InStyle And The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Toronto International Film Festival Party at the Windsor Arms Hotel on September 11, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

  • Laura Carswell And Ben Bass @ InStyle and Hollywood Foreign Press Association Party

    Actors Laura Carswell (L) and Ben Bass attend the WGC Hosts Party With InStyle & HFPA To Celebrate TIFF at the Windsor Arms Hotel on September 11, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for WGC)

  • Travis Milne @ InStyle and Hollywood Foreign Press Association Party

    Actor Travis Milne attends the WGC Hosts Party With InStyle & HFPA To Celebrate TIFF at the Windsor Arms Hotel on September 11, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for WGC)

  • Diane Kruger And Joshua Jackson @ 'Inescapable'

    Actors Diane Kruger (L) and Joshua Jackson arrive at the 'Inescapable' Premiere during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 11, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

  • Sunrise Coigney and Mark Ruffalo @ 'Thanks for Sharing' Post-Gala Party

    Sunrise Coigney and Mark Ruffalo arrive at Spice Route for the film party hosted by Audi following the post-special presentation screening of Thanks for Sharing on September 8 during the Toronto International Film Festival. <em>Credit: George Pimentel Photography</em>

  • Jennifer Garner @ 'Argo' Post-Gala Party

    Jennifer Garner arrives at Terroni for the film party hosted by Audi following the post-gala premiere of Argo on September 7 during the Toronto International Film Festival. <em>Credit: George Pimentel Photography</em>

  • Nina Dobrev @ 'Argo' Post-Gala Party

    Nina Dobrev arrives at Terroni for the film party hosted by Audi following the post-gala premiere of Argo on September 7 during the Toronto International Film Festival. <em>Credit: George Pimentel Photography</em>

  • Lauryn Hill @ ONEXONE Gala

    On September 8th, Rogers Communications and Diesel Canada presented an Intimate Evening with Ms. Lauryn Hill and special guests in support of ONEXONE at Toronto's Kool Haus. The event included opening acts by Kardinal Offishall and Jully Black. <em>Credit: George Pimentel</em>

  • Olunike Adeliyi @ ONEXONE

    On September 8th, Rogers Communications and Diesel Canada presented an Intimate Evening with Ms. Lauryn Hill and special guests in support of ONEXONE at Toronto's Kool Haus. The event included opening acts by Kardinal Offishall and Jully Black. <em>Credit: George Pimentel</em>

  • Kristin Kreuk @ ONEXONE

    On September 8th, Rogers Communications and Diesel Canada presented an Intimate Evening with Ms. Lauryn Hill and special guests in support of ONEXONE at Toronto's Kool Haus. The event included opening acts by Kardinal Offishall and Jully Black. <em>Credit: George Pimentel</em>

  • Stacy McKenzie @ ONEXONE

    On September 8th, Rogers Communications and Diesel Canada presented an Intimate Evening with Ms. Lauryn Hill and special guests in support of ONEXONE at Toronto's Kool Haus. The event included opening acts by Kardinal Offishall and Jully Black. <em>Credit: George Pimentel</em>

  • Jully Black @ ONEXONE

    On September 8th, Rogers Communications and Diesel Canada presented an Intimate Evening with Ms. Lauryn Hill and special guests in support of ONEXONE at Toronto's Kool Haus. The event included opening acts by Kardinal Offishall and Jully Black. <em>Credit: George Pimentel</em>

  • Roberto Alomar @ ONEXONE

    On September 8th, Rogers Communications and Diesel Canada presented an Intimate Evening with Ms. Lauryn Hill and special guests in support of ONEXONE at Toronto's Kool Haus. The event included opening acts by Kardinal Offishall and Jully Black. <em>Credit: George Pimentel</em>

  • Kardinal Offishall @ ONEXONE

    On September 8th, Rogers Communications and Diesel Canada presented an Intimate Evening with Ms. Lauryn Hill and special guests in support of ONEXONE at Toronto's Kool Haus. The event included opening acts by Kardinal Offishall and Jully Black. <em>Credit: George Pimentel</em>

  • Emily Blunt Taking A Candid Photo With A Fan

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  • Christopher Walken @ 'A Late Quartet' Pre-Cocktail Event Hosted By Swarovski Bloor Street

  • Imogen Poots @ 'A Late Quartet' Pre-Cocktail Event Hosted By Swarovski Bloor Street

  • Ray Liotta @ RUDSAK's 'The Iceman' TIFF Dinner

  • Winona Ryder @ RUDSAK's 'The Iceman' TIFF Dinner

  • Laura Linney @ 'Hyde Park on Hudson'

    Actress Laura Linney attends the "Hyde Park on Hudson" premiere at Roy Thomson Hall during the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday Sept. 10, 2012, in Toronto. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)

  • Zhang Ziyi @ 'Dangerous Liaisons' Premiere

    Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi arrives at the premiere for "Dangerous Liaisons" during the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday Sept. 10, 2012 in Toronto. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Bill Murray @ Soho House

    Actor Bill Murray attends the Late Lounge hosted by Grey Goose Vodka at Soho House at on September 10, 2012 in Toronto, Canada.

  • Chris Evans @ 'The Iceman' Premiere

    Actor Chris Evans attends the premiere for "The Iceman" at The Princess of Wales Theatre during the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday Sept. 10, 2012, in Toronto.

  • Chris Evans, Winona Ryder, Michael Shannon, Ray Liota @ 'The Iceman' Premiere

    Actor Chris Evans, actress Winona Ryder, and actors Michael Shannon and Ray Liota attend the premiere for "The Iceman" at The Princess of Wales Theatre during the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday Sept. 10, 2012, in Toronto.

  • Michael Shannon @ 'The Iceman' Premiere

    Actor Michael Shannon attends the premiere for "The Iceman" at The Princess of Wales Theatre during the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday Sept. 10, 2012, in Toronto.

  • Olivia Williams @ 'Hyde Park On Hudson' Premiere

    Actress Olivia Williams attends the "Hyde Park on Hudson" premiere at Roy Thomson Hall during the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday Sept. 10, 2012, in Toronto.

  • Winona Ryder @ 'The Iceman' Premiere

    Actress Winona Ryder attends the premiere for "The Iceman" at The Princess of Wales Theatre during the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday Sept. 10, 2012, in Toronto.

  • Jang Dong-gun @ 'Dangerous Liaisons' Premiere

    Chines actor Jang Dong-gun arrives at the premiere for "Dangerous Liaisons" during the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday Sept. 10, 2012 in Toronto.

  • Bill Murray @ 'Hyde Park On Hudson' Premiere

    Actor Bill Murray attends the "Hyde Park on Hudson" premiere at Roy Thomson Hall during the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday Sept. 10, 2012, in Toronto.

  • Rachel McAdams @ 'To The Wonder' Premiere

    TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 10: Actress Rachel McAdams attends the 'To The Wonder' premiere during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival at the Princess of Wales Theatre on September 10, 2012 in Toronto, Canada.

  • Bill Murray@ 'Hyde Park On Hudson' Premiere

    TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 10: Actor Bill Murray attends 'Hyde Park On Hudson' premiere during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 10, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

  • Olga Kurylenko @ 'To The Wonder' Premiere

    TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 10: Actress Olga Kurylenko attends 'To The Wonder' premiere during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival at Princess of Wales Theatre on September 10, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Loading Slideshow...
  • Ben Affleck

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> <em>To The Wonder</em> and <em>Argo</em> (which he's also directing) <br><em>(All Photos Getty Images)</em>

  • Viggo Mortensen

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> <em>Everybody Has a Plan</em>, <em>On the Road</em>

  • Bill Murray

    <strong>Appearing In: </strong> <em>Hyde Park on Hudson</em>

  • Selena Gomez

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> <em>Spring Breakers</em>, <em>Hotel Transylvania</em>

  • Jennifer Lawrence

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> <em>Silver Linings Playbook</em>

  • Johnny Depp

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> <em>West of Memphis</em>

  • Gwyneth Paltrow

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> <em>Thanks for Sharing</em>

  • Ryan Gosling

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> <em>The Place Beyond the Pines</em>

  • Bruce Willis

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> <em>Looper</em>

  • Colin Firth

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> <em>Arthur Newman</em>

  • Jackie Chan

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> Attending the Shangri-La Hotel Toronto Asian Film Summit as a guest of honour

  • Dustin Hoffman

    <strong>Appearing In: </strong> <em>Quartet</em> (as director)

  • Kiefer Sutherland

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> <em>The Reluctant Fundamentalist</em>

  • Tom Hanks

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> <em>Cloud Atlas</em>

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> <em>Looper</em>

  • Halle Berry

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> <em>Cloud Atlas</em>

  • James Franco

    Appearing In: <em>The Iceman</em>, <em>Spring Breakers</em>

  • Javier Bardem

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> <em>To The Wonder</em>

  • Jennifer Connelly

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> <em>Writers</em>

  • Julianne Moore

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> <em>What Maisie Knew</em>

  • Kate Hudson

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> <em>The Reluctant Fundamentalist</em>

  • Marion Cotillard

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> <em>Rust and Bone</em>

  • Will Smith

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> Not yet disclosed

  • Penelope Cruz

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> <em>Twice Born</em>

  • Robert Redford

    <strong>Appearing In:</strong> <em>The Company You Keep</em> (as director)