Ice Rod putting the hip back into hip-hop

The brother half of indie rock band Brother and Sister releases its first album as Ice Rod

Megan Kadrmas

Six months ago, when Ice Rod returned to the hip-hop stage, he said he was going to make an album.

Now, with that newly pressed first full-length in hand, Ice Rod is hitting the road to give west-coasters his brand of hip-hop.

Ice Rod

ALBUM: It’s About Sex and Hip Hop
LABEL: Independent

He will leave Minnesota in a couple of weeks to tour the West Coast with a friend. He said now that his first album is out, he hopes to take his music to a bigger, national audience.

Ice Rod’s hip-hop is cheeky, fun, clever and chalk-full of in-your-face innuendoes. His new album, “It’s About Sex and Hip Hop,” embodies these qualities.

“The album is super sexual but at the same time, it’s super personal,” he said.

“It’s About Sex and Hip Hop,” Ice Rod said, came together organically after he decided to make a comeback at the beginning of 2007.

He had a handful of songs in mind for the project, but starting the recording process sparked his creativity.

In the end, there were too many tracks to fit on one record, so Ice Rod said he sat down and went through the hard task of choosing what should be on his first recording.

“There were some producers who gave me really great beats,” Ice Rod said. “But when we edited the album down, they didn’t fit with the other songs. It wasn’t a quality of the beat issue at all.”

The tracks that did make the album, however, boast an impressive lineup of Twin Cities beat makers and vinyl scratchers. Cecil Otter, Sir C and Paper Tiger (of Doomtree fame) are just some of the names in Ice Rod’s arsenal of musical support.

The themes in “It’s About Sex and Hip Hop” are essentially summed up in the title of the album.

“Camera Phone,” a danceable, sexy track off ‘It’s About Sex and Hip Hop,’ discusses the marvelous advances in cellular technology and how these improvements aid in sharing dirty pictures.

Ice Rod raps, “Staring at her hips, her thighs, her booty/Her Virgin, Verizon, Nextel voice mail section.” Later in the song, he drops *69, the terror alert system and Vice President Dick Cheney all into the same lyrical section.

It is his interesting choice of material and the clever way he uses words to vividly create images that make “Camera Phone,” like the rest of his album, stand out from other local new releases.

However, Ice Rod is quick to point out, the lyrics are hyper-sexualized in a respectful way.

“It’s not misogynistic or ironic,” he said. “It’s not apologetic, either.”

Ice Rod, with his notorious stage antics and knack for storytelling on off-beat subjects, wants to make people happy, not offended or pissed off.

“All the songs were inspired by something I like, something positive,” he said. “Nothing on this album is about something I disliked in the world and wanted to comment on.”

Ice Rod, who is also known as Michael Gaugan of local indie band Brother and Sister, has fun with hip-hop but wants to make it known that he also takes it seriously.

“I don’t mind being called ‘fun’ or ‘comedic,’ ” he said. “But I put a lot of work into this music and I take it very seriously.”