Count, Body Count,
Body Count, YEAH MUTHA FUUUCKA!!!
Body Count, Body Count,
Body Count, Body Count,
Body Count, Body Count,
Body Count, BODY COUNT NIGGAAAAAA!!!
And so begins the first song off Body Count's self-titled debut.
But wait! The album actually starts with the sound of thunder and rain. Ice-T urges a friend to stay in the car because he's gonna "do it." The friend puts up a soft argument, but Ice-T takes control and gets ready to, indeed, "do it." We hear footsteps. Ice-T says, "Uhhh, hi officer," and we know what's next: smoked pork. And then, the album comes off on your fucking ass with, "Body Count's In the House." The song is filled with screeching tires, sirens, and gunshots as the drums and guitars tear into your brain with a kick-ass apocalyptic attitude. The song is so blatantly hard-core it becomes funny almost instantly, but it remains whole-heartedly serious and massive in its sound. This is the song to thrash to. This is the song that makes you wanna break stuff. There are no lyrics to speak of. It mostly consists of Ice-T saying such things as, "YEEEEAAAAAH MUTHA FUCKA!!!", "BODY COUNT NIGGA!!!", "AWWWW SHIT," and "YEAH GOD DAMN IT!!!" He's literally just throwing out every intense word he knows of, and from all I can gather, he's sayin' 'em just to say 'em. Actually, when he says, "YEAH GOD DAMN IT!!!" I can't help but laugh even though I've heard it hundreds of times. It's just not enunciated like the other phrases. It almost sounds as if he's mentally exhausted from using so much harsh language throughout the song so he's reduced to the phrase, "god damn it." It's fuckin' hilarious. But the "YEAH MUTHA FUCKA!!!" has gotta be one of best primal screams I've ever heard. The way he says it. I dunno. There's something there that makes me come back for more. In fact, in the Fall of '96, on Friday nights after getting done my dishwashing shift at work, I would stop by to see my dishwashing friend at the restaurant he worked at. We would listen to Body Count in the back room LOUD as hell and we couldn't get enough of it. It became a weekly ritual of fun. The cooks brought it to work and we'd crank it, laughing our asses off. We'd rewind it over and over again to hear the genius of "YEAH MUTHA FUCKA!!!" It was one of those things that struck an inexplicable chord in us, but we didn't care about explanations, we just wanted to hear Ice-T say "muther fucker" and really mean it like no one else can.
This is also the song where Ice-T introduces the band members. In fact, I just now listened to it, and I still laughed out loud after ten years of hearing this shit. "On the bass I got my main mother fucker called Mooseman. Layin' the rhythm tracks we got the one and only infamous D-roc in the house. On the drums I got the one and only Beatmaster V, mutha fucker. On lead guitar I got my nigga Ernie C, and I'm ICE MUTHA FUCKIN' T BITCH!!!" Somewhere in the mix is Sean E. Sean and Sean E. Mac (hey! Now I know why I call my friend Sean 'Seanny Mack'!). I think they're the guys that stand on stage and look like they'd fuck your mother and then kill you. In front of their own mothers. On stage. All with a spiked lead pipe.
The whole band grew up in South Central (go figure) and all attended Crenshaw High School, about as nice a school as you can imagine a South Central school being. I've subbed in Compton many times, which is pretty much South South Central, so I can be so bold as to say that their school was most likely plagued with adolescents who didn't give a fuck about shit, always an inspirational environment.
O.G.-Original Gangster, one of Ice-T's biggest and best-selling rap albums, came out in 1991. It featured a song called "Body Count" and that became one of the most talked about tracks of the album simply because is was a straight-up rock song. And it was damn good.
The band's real start came when they played out on the first Lollapalooza tour that same year, instantly appealing to the mostly white audience. They did this before cutting any records and basically peeled people's scalps back as their first self-titled album came out. They were blowin' up on your stupid white ass, mutha fucka!
Ice-T humorously holds nothing back when he lays his lyrics down. Not a single thing is sacred to the man. No subject, no word, no person. Case in point: "Momma's Gotta Die Tonight." (Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?) That's about as hardcore as it gets in the world of music, I'm sorry.
"Momma's Gotta Die Tonight" unabashedly goes for the throat in terms of abrasive subject matter. It's the wire BBQ brush. It must have been a great song for their tours. At the end, Ice-T cuts his mother into tiny pieces and takes parts of her around the "world", that is, if the world consists of cities within the United States. I'm sure the crowd erupted into total insanity when Ice-T mentioned their very own city as one of the places where he brought his mother's body parts. At least he kills her for good reason. See, she's a racist. She hates white people and always told 'lil Ice-T not to trust white people because they're no good. Whenever he asked "why?", she would tell him, "Don't you challenge your mother! They're just no good, that's all. Don't trust 'em." Well, this is simply an example of poor parenting and questionable moral values being transferred across generations on the bridge of ignorance. Obviously. So he had to kill that bitch. I mean, what the fuck, man?! (By the way, his real parents were killed in a car accident in Newark, NJ when he was young, then he moved to LA. Just think, Ice-T could've been rappin' about nuclear power plants!)
"Evil Dick" screams out to the male of our species, letting him know that it's all right to be promiscuous; we're men, we have dicks, and they're evil. We know this, but that's what makes us men. We wouldn't have been considered promiscuous 30,000 years ago! We would've been propagating the species. It's engrained in our mainframe to pursue the female of the species and FUCK. That's all there is to it. Ice-T separates himself from his penis with the classic line to his love, "It wasn't me, baby. It was that mutha fucka evil dick!" Throughout the piece, Ice-T refers to his dick as another entity entirely, one with a personality all its own, albeit a rather simple one. It even wakes him up at night yelling, "Don't sleep alone, don't sleep alone!" Now, c'mon. what would you do, huh? When the baby's screamin' at 3am, you go quiet it down with a bottle in its mouth. The only way to quiet Evil Dick down is to put him in a bitch's mouf, NIGGA!
"KKK Bitch" is one of the more light-hearted songs on the album, taking on a fast-paced punk beat while discussing 'the real problem', that being the white woman falling in love with the black man. The lyrics are incredibly clever. "I know her daddy'll really be after me," Ice croons, "when his grandson's named little Iced-T." In one of the interludes, Ice-T talks about fallin' in love with Tipper Gore's two twelve-year-old nieces. Nice. In another interlude, "If you from Mars, and you got a pussy, we will fuck you. You know, that's all we're sayin', word." The song revolves around Ice-T meeting a "fine-assed white girl" backstage at a show who sucked his dick "like a mutha fuckin' vacuum." She tells him that her father's the grand wizard of the KKK. They end up going to a meeting disguised as hooded participants and blah blah blah. Dicks in asses, orgies in southern towns, getting buck wild with the white freaks, all that good shit.
"Voodoo" is pretty dark hard-core shit, but it sounds like Ice-T is talkin' about shit he's never really experienced. The whole song talks about this "crazy bitch" who's in a room with him. She says she's gonna show him what voodoo is all about, so out comes the voodoo doll that looks a little like him and she stabs it in the eye. Ice-T shouts, "My eye! Bitch!" Typical. Then she cuts off the fingers. "My fingers! (fill in the blank)!" This song smells sheepishly like Ice-T wanted something to sing about besides bitches, jail, hustlin', drugs, or killin'. There's really no substance to it, but Ernie C. does his usual fine job in rippin' out some sick licks and jams.
"There Goes the Neighborhood." Now c'mon, I can't believe this is the first time a song was thus named. I remember seeing the video for this song and feeling the immediate need to own the album. This song is the buzz saw of the album, and although it does nothing more than explain the fact that blacks can play heavy metal just as well as whites, it says it like a muther fucker. Every other line is "fuckin' niggas," an admirable additive to deep string-breaking riffs.
And then, there's "Cop Killer," now only available on mp3 if you're lucky. Holy shit. The sheer blatant reference to the unflinching random killing of police officers should leave you feeling like you bit into a raw jalapeno. It's like, "Whoa! Yo yo yo yo! Hot hot hot! Heart attack!" There's a part of the song where Ice-T encourages everyone to have some courage and stop being a pussy. Then, he gets everyone to sing along. "Cop Killer" over and over and over again until it's fully conditioned into your mind. It's truly incredible to hear someone promoting the decisive and indiscriminate act of killing cops. Any cops. The message of the song is almost literally "go and kill some mutha fuckin' cops right fuckin' now." It's unbelievable, and you've gotta love it. It's so fucking hard-core it makes me lose my mind every time I think about it. Needless to say, Warner Brothers pulled the album and put out a new Body Count album minus the song in question. Well hell, we still got him talkin' about killing his mother!
The whole album should make you wanna crank it while doin' 90 down the freeway, banging your head and smashing your steering wheel. You should wanna kill cops, fuck bitches, and, frankly, fuck up every god damn thing you can get your hands on while listening to this album. There's a very strong possibility that Ice-T is Satan himself, but if he is, then Satan makes a lot of good points on the road to kicking your ass. Unfortunately, there's really nothing special to the music in terms of being a breakthrough in any way except for the fact that it's a bunch of black guys kickin' out hard-core speed metal. For me, it's just refreshing to hear people goin' the fuck off in every way they see fit. (Can I just say right now that Insane Clown Posse has to be the biggest joke-of-a-band ever semi-foisted upon the public? I don't know why that came up. I think it was in terms of me saying it was always refreshing to hear people goin' the fuck off. ICP sorta does that, but they're god-awful in so many ways. And that's my opinion after listening to a few songs of theirs four years ago. There.)
What Ice-T had effectively done with this album is push the envelope even further towards defining our belief in the idea of free speech in this country. Yeah, he might've seemed overly crass to the point of making a fool of himself, but that's his god damn right. If you don't wanna hear it, FINE, but there's something to be said about keeping the lines of communication open at all times. Opinions are like assholes, so what would happen if we closed 'em off? Or sewed 'em shut? We'd get stopped up and explode. Hmmm. I love anal analogies.
The bottom line is: Ice-T had a message, Body Count was the messenger service, and they delivered' to the deepest end of your bowels.
As a side note, while looking up Body Count on the web I found this http://www.bk2k.com/bushbodycount/home.html which is a list of all the people connected to the Bushes who all met their demise through unnatural deaths.
Check out the Cody Wayne blog: Rancor and Disdain!