Thursday, April 23, 2009

Remember Body Count?


Before he was a kick-ass cop on Law and Order: SUV, Ice T was head of a kick-ass heavy metal group called Body Count. If Public Enemy and Pantera had a baby, you may get close to describing Body Count's sound. Body Count was a group with something to say. It was the early 90's in Los Angeles and relations between African-American men and law enforcement was notoriously strained. Before the Rodney King trial verdict and the subsequent LA riots tore the city apart, Body Count's self-titled first album provided a snapshot of this heated period in American history. Through songs like "There Goes the Neighborhood" and "The Winner Loses," Body Count captured the anger many African-American men were experiencing at the time and shed light on the madness of crack addiction and white flight. One song "Cop Killer," which Ice T has described as a protest song against police brutality, drew the ire of civil rights groups, politicians and Moses a.k.a. Charleton Heston. The song's uproar led Warner Music to drop the group from its label. (Body Count's second and last album, Home Invasion, was released on Priority Records.) In spite of or because of its controversy, Body Count's fierce use of protest politics made metal heavy again.

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