Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Body Count

  • Body Count [Sire/Warner Bros., 1992] A-
  • Born Dead [Virgin, 1994] Neither
  • Violent Demise: The Last Days [Virgin, 1997] Neither
  • Bloodlust [Century Media, 2017] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Body Count [Sire/Warner Bros., 1992]
Exploiting and burlesquing the style's whiteskin privilege from "Smoked Pork" to "Cop Killer," Ice-T's metal album takes rap's art-ain't-life defense over the top. Not only does he off pigs, he murders his mom--because she taught him to hate white people. Then he cuts her up, sticks her well-catalogued body parts in Hefty bags, deposits same all over this great land of ours, and suggests that listeners with parents on the racist tip follow his example. For Satanism he tangles with a voodoo queen and enters the "Bowels of the Devil," a/k/a the state pen. He wilds with Tipper's 12-year-old nieces, fucks his "KKK Bitch" in the ass when a rally gets his dick hard, and fakes an orgasm for good measure. And like any long-haired frontman worth his chart position, he sings a tender ballad--in which a coke fiend steals enough money to buy the best shit, then goes cardiac when he smokes it. A-

Born Dead [Virgin, 1994] Neither

Violent Demise: The Last Days [Virgin, 1997] Neither

Bloodlust [Century Media, 2017]
There've been other Body Count albums in the quarter century since "Cop Killer" put a police bull's-eye on the pre-Law and Order Ice-T's back. But it took Donald Trump to revive Tracy Marrow's active interest in the metal band he assembled with his Crenshaw High buddy Ernie C. back when he was a hot rapper. In this year of the rock protest song, there hasn't yet been a lyric as bitter, complex, and powerful as "No Lives Matter." From the lead "Civil War," set in the present and let's hope it remains a fiction, to "Black Hoodie," less hard-hitting but wider-ranging than Vic Mensa's "16 Shots," you feel both a mind at work and an entertainer putting himself across. In the title track, Ice includes himself in the humanity whose propensity for murder he's been going on about. In "Here I Go Again" he concocts a horrorcore fantasy so gruesome he figures most people won't want to hear it twice and bets some sickos will put on repeat. A-