The younger generation often complains that there aren’t enough “Old Heads” out there trying to teach them a better way, but Ice-T has dedicated himself to making sure he can help educate as many people as possible. The former gangster turned rapper used his life experiences to carve out a legendary career in both Rap and Metal, and now, he’s partnered with a friend, Mike known as Certified Spike, to pen a memoir, Split Decision: Life Stories. The music legend caught up with the Rickey Smiley Morning Show to talk about their collaboration, detailing the inspiration behind the book.

“One of my friends and I started out in the same business, we were in the streets, breaking the law, hundreds and hundreds of robberies,” said Ice-T. “When I started making music, I told my boys, ‘I’m done with this life. I wanna do something better, I’m gonna make music.'”

“He decided to continue and ended up catching a life sentence. So, he got out of prison, he did 26 years, and when he came home, he wanted to write a book,” the rapper added. He told Spike that their roles could have easily been reversed, so they decided to partner up to write “a cautionary tale to tell these cats that hey, this is not the road you wanna take.”

“I ended up taking the right road, and that’s what the book is about. It’s a cautionary tale showing people that every decision you make can change the trajectory of your life.”

The book seems to chronicle the stories of both Ice-T and Spike, showing the drastic differences in how things can turn out with one wrong turn. The lifelong friends are still locked in and Spike’s Instagram shows that he’s focused on community building while also occasionally hitting the road on tour with Ice-T. 

Listen to Ice-T’s interview below.