It took a lot of courage for Darlene “The Syndicate Queen” Ortiz to open up about her life in such a public manner. Nonetheless, she decided to write a book about it in the most honest and real way possible. In Definition of Down: My Life with Ice T and the Birth of Hip Hop, Ortiz painstakingly recalls her tumultuous California upbringing and her 17-year relationship with Tracy “Ice T” Marrow, which defined most of her youth.

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Ortiz met the budding rapper when she was a mere 17-years-old while hanging at the now defunct Los Angeles club, Radiotron. Once Ice T’s career took off, she subsequently became the first vixen of Hip Hop after posing for the controversial cover of Ice T’s 1988 Power album. Through all of the ups and downs, she always remained by his side. Sadly, it was not meant to be. Although they broke up in 2001, they created a son together and a lifetime of memories. Along with rare photos from that era, the book essentially details one of Hip Hop’s first true love stories, one Ortiz has been itching to tell. 

“I’ve always wanted to write a book especially after Ice got signed and things took off for us in a big way,” Ortiz explains. “The things that happened to us was all so amazing. Then once he left, I really knew I had to share our story, but our son was way too young to do it then so I had to wait until he was an adult and could better understand what I was going to put in there. It’s really a great story.”


The one thing she didn’t see coming was Ice T’s refusal to be part of the book in any way. She had originally asked him to do the foreword, but after several unreturned emails, it was clear he wanted to keep his distance.

“I think Ice didn’t want anything to do with my book because it doesn’t match up with how or when he said we broke up,” she says. “He put out a memoir a few years ago and I’m it in, but he avoids saying why we really broke up. I say if you’re going to do a memoir, that’s your chance to clear the air and be as candid as can be. I asked him to write the foreword for mine thinking that it would be a great way to show how people can get along after a relationship goes bad but he never got back to me. Life goes on and I did it with no foreword.”

With Ice T’s new relationship with Coco Austin constantly making headlines, it’s presumably challenging to stay cool, but she’s managed to take the high road and maintain a civil relationship with him for the sake of their son.

“I wish him all the best,” she says. “He is the father of our son.”

The B-Girl, fitness instructor, part time Sirius XM radio host and now author hopes Definition of Down inspires other people enduring a break up to handle it a way that empowers them rather than tears them down.

“How you choose to move on after a relationship, especially with kids involved, is important,” she says. “Watch how you conduct yourself around your children and how you talk about the other parent. Be kind even if it kills you. Once you have a child, it’s no longer about you. The respect you’ll receive from your child is priceless.”