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Body Count is as exciting as it is offensive

Body Count
Sire Records Company.

By John Jacobs
Offensive lyrics, violent themes, heavy metal, and thousands of nasty words. What more could you ask for? It's all on the debut, self-titled album from Body Count, Ice-T's metal band brainchild. They have produced some seriously hard-core music.

"Hard-core" only begins to describe this album: The CD begins with a 46-second track, "Smoked Pork." Can you guess what the main character does in those 46-seconds?He does it again in "Cop Killer," a song dedicated to "all of our friends" at the Los Angeles Police Department. In this song, Ice-T mentions two major figures in the recent riots in Los Angeles, Rodney King and Daryl Gates. Other themes on Body Count include gang violence, police brutality, drug addiction, sex, and racism.

In one song, "Momma's Gotta Die Tonight," the protagonist burns his racist, hateful mother and beats her to death with a baseball bat when she slaps him because of his white girlfriend. He cuts her into pieces and takes her body parts to Arizona, New York, Miami, and Ohio.

Offensive?Yes, especially if you love your mother.

You might not find everything on this album offensive. Musically speaking, it includes some great songs. "Body Count Anthem" has a fantastic rhythmic metal sound to it, as does "There Goes the Neighborhood," in which Ice-T lashes out at people who stereotype black musicians as rappers.

In his last album, Original Gangster, Ice-T convincingly portrayed himself as a tough-as-nails ex-gangster, ex-con, and ex-killer. "Street Killer" and "The Tower," for instance, make Ice-T sound like he is made of iron.

Did Ice-T really kill someone when he was 15 years old? Did he really stab an attacker while in prison?Were half of his friends victims of gang killings, and the other half thrown in prison for unjust and petty reasons?Probably not. Yet Ice T's music is still a good social commentary on the violence of life in South Central Los Angeles, and worth listening to for that reason.

Ice also portrays himself as a man with a mission: to "free his brothers' minds from their entrapment." He makes himself out to be a man who has been through it all -- and lived -- and wants to see an end to the problems that ravage his community.

Original Gangster is great rap. I caught myself enjoying it more than Body Count. But BC is also good, even if it does pander slightly to the classic speed metal sound. Either way, Ice-T puts out some serious music that you can blast from your stereo. Even if you might not sound as hard-core and tough as Ice-T, I guarantee you will feel that way.