Review

Divorced from the controversy that surrounded its release, Body Count's self-titled debut is a surprisingly tepid affair. Apart from the previously released "Body Count" (which appeared on Ice-T's 1991 album O.G. Original Gangster), the record is devoid of serious commentary, trading intelligence for a lurid comic book depiction of sex, violence, and "Voodoo." All of Ice-T's half-sung/half-shouted lyrics fall far short of the standard he established on his hip-hop albums. The controversial "Cop Killer" -- which is nothing more than a standard thrash metal chant -- stands out because it is one of the few tracks that doesn't rely on garish, cartoonish imagery. There's the saga of "Evil Dick," which tells Ice-T to not "sleep alone." There's "KKK Bitch," where he crashes a Ku Klux Klan meeting and screws the grand dragon's daughter. There's "Voodoo," where a witch doctor cripples our hero with a voodoo doll. There's "Mama's Gotta Die Tonight," where Ice-T offs his mother cause she's racist. By the time the band works around to the power ballad "The Winner Loses" and Ice-T is crooning, "My friend's addicted to cocaine," it's unclear whether the record is a parody or a flawed stab at arena metal. Either way, Body Count is a humorous curio from the early '90s that will appeal either to metalheads or listeners with a twisted sense of humor. [After "Cop Killer" was pulled from the album, it was replaced with a bland version of Ice-T's rap classic "The Iceberg" recorded with Jello Biafra.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

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