Music Monday: Anyone Remember Body Count?
The original album cover before it was censored
Original image found here: Metal Injection
Back in 1992, Ice-T was a rap artist who decided to get a metal band together. What ended up happening is only something you can read about in the news. And did we ever.
The debut album is mostly a political and social rant, mixed with some humor that’s meant to be humor. It was released to mixed reviews at the time, but as time went on, the album ended up standing on it’s own and defied religious bans, record company boycotts and conservative protests.
Back when Warner Bros was a record company that stood up for their artists, they didn’t back down to pressure when the cries came in to ban the album. Only after Ice-T himself stepped in and changed the album, removing the song “Cop Killer”, did the album take a censored hit.
Speaking of the afore mentioned song, it was never intended to be a rally cry to kill a cop. It was a statement about the black community and it’s constant badgering from law enforcement. In fact, take a listen here (if you dare):
It’s been years since I’ve heard this album and a friend from work starting singing “KKK Bitch” a few weeks ago and I told her how much I loved this album back in the day. So I dug it out of the archives and have played it a few times in the last few days. It still holds up very well and even 18 years later, I’m still of the same mindset with the humor and message of this album.
Here’s the official track listing of the uncensored original release:
- “Smoked Pork”
- “Body Count’s in the House”
- “Now Sports”
- “Body Count”
- “A Statistic”
- “Bowels of the Devil”
- “The Real Problem”
- “KKK Bitch”
- “C Note”
- “The Winner Loses”
- “There Goes the Neighborhood”
- “Evil Dick”
- “Body Count Anthem”
- “Momma’s Gotta Die Tonight”
- “Out in the Parking Lot”
- “Cop Killer”
Tracks like “Oprah”, “Smoked Pork” and “Now Sports” are small clips that are spoken leaders that meld into the next song. It’s like a series of events told in song, and mostly with a social message.
Not For Everyone
I admit this album is not for everyone. It’s something that you either get or you don’t. For me, I liked it on first listen. It’s abrasive, but I’ve always liked the envelope pushing in music. And it’s been one of those albums that not only started the metal core sound, pushed the limits of censorship boundaries and ignited the start of the “PARENTAL WARNING” labels that are found on albums with explicit and controversial material, but also placed a true dividing line of music for that understand to those that want to ban it. And any musician today that wants to release an album without being censored can thank Ice-T and Body Count for paving the way.
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I know what you are saying. For me, it was more about the content, lyrics and sound than Ice-T’s vocals. I don’t think the original intention was for Ice-T to be the vocalist. It just happened. Curious if there was someone else they had in mind.
I had the original on CD and I’m sure it got lost in one of my moves I did 10 years ago.
I think I’ve got this on vinyl in my garage. Must acquire a digital copy so I can listen to it again on my iPod.
Wow. The vinyl version of the album.. that’s cool.
I used to love that but haven’t listened in forever. It’s amazing the things I have forgotten about that I used to love.
Was the song This Girl Tried to Kill Me them too? Or just Ice-T? That song is hilarious!
Oh I know that song. It was just Ice-T. Funny and so great to listen to. See, there again, you are correct in the road trip idea of us having the same taste in music.
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This was an odd one from me. As somebody who had a taste for metal AND rap when the mood was right, I was excited over the prospect of “Body Count.” In the end I was kind of “meh” about it, and often wondered if I would have liked it better had somebody else been on vocals. I really like Ice-T as a rapper, but just couldn’t get into his singing with this project. I don’t know if it’s just that I was used to him on rap and couldn’t adjust… or if his vocal stylings just didn’t mesh right for me. In any event, I was surprised that more cross-style mash-ups like this didn’t happen very often. There’s certainly a market for it.