Ice-T evolves rap into thrash metal

By Jason Fierstein

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Body Count

Born Dead


Ice-T is definitely the boy your mother warned you about. With Body Count, the rapper/thrasher crams yet another insubordinate sermon down the throats of white-bread America. The style has metamorphosized from earlier Ice-T creations, but the song essentially remains the same: angry and savage.

Ice-T and his relatively new project, Body Count, comes in surround sound with deafening lyrics and shredding musical accompaniment. Gripping realities of the urban jungles in South Central Los Angeles are intended to mesmerize those who may not have had the experience of being sprayed by bullets from an AK-47 or seeing their best friend gunned down by rival gangs in a street bloodbath.

Although Body Count's tour-de-force sophomore effort Born Dead starts off by paying homage to the band itself with ego-centric lyrics, such as "Body Count, Body muthaf**ken Count" (over and over again), the lyrical genius of Ice-T, does factor into the album.

On the track "Who Are You?" the songwriter philosophizes: "Yeah, yeah! Murder, death!/ As I search to analyze reality/ the true meaning of life (in true Camus existential fashion)/ our simple existence means nothing/ God has a gun/ the truth, life is a slow noose . When it's time to go, God serves a death blow."

Body Count's lead guitarist, Ernie C, and drummer, Beatmaster "V," cater thrash metal rips and speed drumming, respectively, in the footsteps of other rival thrash bands such as Pantera or Sepultura.

The permutation of Ice-T's sound is alluring and seductive even to the casual listener. The shift from straight street gangsta rap to thrash metal seems almost predictable for Ice-T, as innovation has always been a tenant of the musician's school of thought.

Remember Lollapalooza 1991, that special concert, so long ago, when corporate rock and mainstream insanity didn't spoil the musical and cultural novelty that was coming alive? Ice-T was a forerunning act on Perry Farrell's concept tour. His brash ideas and cutting-edge creationism were the vehicle for fusion of rap and rock 'n' roll early on. It's no wonder that this breakthrough artist continues to evolve and hopefully continues to shock mainstream America.

Body Count's new album Born Dead is now available at your friendly neighborhood record store. It is located next to the Jimmy Buffett section.

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