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"Body Count" is the debut album from Ice-T's heavy metal side project of the same name. It was released in 1992 through Sire and produced by Ice-T and Ernie C. The line-up was Ice-T (vocals), Ernie C (guitar), D-Roc (guitar), Mooseman (bass) and Beatmaster V (drums).
The album itself was a relative success upon release but became even more of a cult record after the final track on the album, "Cop Killer", was slammed by many people ranging from Tipper Gore to George Bush Sr., for its lyrical content based on gaining revenge on the police, in reference to the beating of Rodney King and subsequent Los Angeles race riots. Ice eventually relented and withdrew the song from future pressings of the album, but as I have the original version, I'm including it in my review. There are some strong metal songs on this album, broken up in intervals by spoken word from Ice-T and re-enactments of oppression against black people in Los Angeles, and it is done in a clever way. There is a lot of swearing on the album, but that's what you get with Ice-T.
This is a spoken word re-enactment of a scene between Ice-T and Mooseman and two police officers. One of the men approaches the officers and asks them to help him with his flat tyre, and the offer says it's not his job to help him out. Then he recognises the man and says "Hey, wait a minute. Aren't you..." three gunshots break his sentence and Ice-T says "yup".
Body Count's in the House
This is a simple song which is designed to introduce the band to you, the listener. It's basically some medium-paced guitars playing over a bass and drum beat and Ice-T saying "Body Count" over and over. You're probably going to assume now that it's a bad track, right? Wrong. It's actually a pretty decent song and is the perfect introduction. I love the guitar sound which is unique to Body Count and there is a really good Ernie C guitar solo before the song breaks down and Ice tells you who's doing what in the band.
This is spoken word and the dialogue is just one line, as spoken by a news reporter: "This weekend, seventeen youths killed in gang homicides. Now Sports."
This is a song about how when Ice was growing up in South Central Los Angeles, he saw enough gang warfare to last a lifetime. He's saying here that he wishes he could have lived in an ideal world where nobody fights or gets killed, like "The Cosby Show", for instance. He's also saying that the police stand by and watch this happen day after day, and it's time for them to do something about it. Musically, it's an expletive-laden track that's as explosive as the lyrics, and it's clear that the band has some talent as they rip through a song which features a drum solo and a guitar solo.
This is spoken word and is just one line in dialogue, spoken by Ice-T: "A statistic. At this moment, there are more black males in prison than in college."
Bowels of the Devil
This is a song about life in prison, how it eats you alive to be in there and it isn't exactly a Hilton Hotel. Ice's lyrics tell the story from a narrator's point of view and he's out with his gang when someone tries to make a move on him so he shoots him and winds up on death row where the walls are the devil's guts made out of steel and concrete. This is an excellent song and I love Ice's vocal delivery on this track, as it's not really rapping but some hard-edged metal singing.
The Real Problem
This is spoken word dialogue by Ice-T and is generally regarded as the intro to the next song. The words are:
"The real problem isn't the lyrics on the records, it's the fear of the white kids liking a black artist.
But the real problem is the fear of a white girl falling in love with a black man."
This is a song about interracial love between Ice and a white girl. She falls for him but also tells him that her daddy is the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. The song is pretty clichéd and isn't meant to be taken seriously and there's a verse near the end which I think is very clever:
"So we get buck wild with the white freaks
We show them how to really work the white sheets.
I know her daddy'll really be after me,
When his grandson's named little Ice-T."
There is some more really good structure which mixes rap and metal and that's down to Ice-T's ingenious blend which isn't easy to get right. This is one of the best songs on the album but it's hard to say if it is the best or not.
This is basically a guitar solo from Ernie C, and if you ever wanted to know just how good he was on the guitar, this is it right here. It's heart-felt and you can almost touch the emotion he's pouring into his playing. It might only be 95 seconds long, but you'll want to play it again straight after hearing it.
This is an excellent song in which the narrator visits a woman in New Orleans who said she'd teach him all about voodoo. As he's telling the tale he describes a doll she pulls out which looks like him and he begins to feel the pain as she inflicts damage to the doll. There is some more really good guitar playing on this song and that's all credit to the very talented Ernie C. I do love the thrashy parts which come after a few verses at a time.
The Winner Loses
This is a great song which highlights the problems of drug use within the South Central Los Angeles area of California, especially crack cocaine. Ice-T lived in the area and saw many friends and people he knew die of overdoses, and the lyrics are done from the narrator's point of view. In it, he's saying that he has a friend who's addicted and he's trying to tell him that he's kissing his life away but his friend is not listening. By the end of the song the friend had taken one too many hits and ends up paying the ultimate price.
There Goes the Neighborhood
This is about Body Count as a black band playing the white man's music. They're saying that they're not going anywhere and they can play just as hard as anyone. With a song like this, they're exactly right. It's a song which rocks and it rocks good. I don't really care what a person is, just as long as the music is good. I like the structure of this song and it's definitely one of the best on the album.
This is spoken word and is the intro to the next song. The words are as follows:
"On Oprah today, we discuss male promiscuity. Why men are constantly in the search for sex, and new sexual partners."
This is a cheeky little number which deals with the promiscuous doings of the narrator's member. Ice is saying here that it wakes him up late at night and talks to him, telling him that he doesn't like to sleep alone and he best get out there and do something about it. It's a track full of explicit lyrics, describing what 'Evil Dick' likes to do but it's a fun song nonetheless, and one that completely belongs on the album. There is a simulation of sex in the bridge part of the song which has the instruments playing pretty thrashy but other than that it's a by-the-numbers tune which still does the job.
Body Count Anthem
This is a track which has a great drum beat to it but pretty lazy lyrics. It's basically gang vocals singing "Body Count" or "BC" over and over, but the instruments make it a pretty decent track and it's an integral part of the album. Don't ask me how, but it just is. The bridge-cum-outro has some really heavy playing with classic thrash metal drumming which I like a lot. There's not much else I can say about the song, except that it's simple yet effective.
Momma's Gotta Die Tonight
The narrator in the song has a problem with his mother whom he calls a 'racist bitch' because he brought home a white girl one time and he was beat upon for doing so. He snaps and burns his mother in her bed and then hit her with a baseball bat a few times until she was finally dead where upon he cuts her into pieces. It's a slow number and the main riff almost sounds like Poison's "Look What the Cat Dragged In". If you like the blues you'll like the harmony of the song but you might not like the expletive-laden lyrics.
Out in the Parking Lot
This is spoken word by Ice-T and is the intro to "Cop Killer". I won't recite the lyrics to it here, but this is practically the main reason why the album caused controversy with Ice talking about what he'd like to do to the police who beat people in parking lots.
I tend to look past the controversy of this song because it's actually a very good track that is as good as a lot of metal song out there. Of course it was controversial to write and record a song with such a title, but it boosted album sales and everyone wanted this song. It rocks hard and it plays hard - two ingredients which make a very good track. Ice-T isn't stupid and if he looked back on his career to wonder if he did the right thing here, he'd say he did.
If you see that Ice-T sings on this album and you're expecting rap, you're going to be disappointed. If, like me, you think 'Ice-T and metal - that sounds cool', you will enjoy it. This was one of my favourite albums of 1992 and one I still play now and then because it's as metal as metal comes. Many people thought Ice couldn't pull it off, but who's laughing now? I'd highly recommend the album but it does come with a warning as it's full of swearing, innuendo, anti-racism and anti-police. If you can get past that, you're going to love it.
This is a quality album. Think: heavy metal, with a tune, with hip hop beats, cool rap, excellent lyrics and funny cut scenes, That's this album summed up. Ice T raps to the funky metal guitar and drums of the others. The title track Bodycount, is a purely fun. Ice T shouts BODYCOUNT'S IN THE HOUSE a lot and mentions the band members and then shouts some swearwords. Yeat all in a way that normal gangsta rap and heavy metal don't pull off. If it sounds like your cup of T then go and buy it now. But I warn you there are some rather offensive lyrics involved, good all the same. WORD OUT
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Smoked Pork
2 Body Count's In The House
3 Now Sports
4 Body Count
6 Bowels Of The Devil
7 Real Problem
8 KKK Bitch
11 Winner Loses
12 There Goes The Neighborhood
14 Evil Dick
15 Body Count Anthem
16 Momma's Gotta Die Tonight
17 Ice T/Freedom Of Speech