Listen up mofos, Ice T and his gang are back and this time they’ve brought a large slice of humour.
The legendary Body Count may be three original members down but they still kick the most spectacular ass.
It’s eight years since last album Murder 4 Hire hit the streets and in that time the band’s larger than life frontman has become as well known for playing Detective Odafin Tutuola on the NBC police drama Law and Order as he has as a singer. Body Count had almost become a thing of the past so it’s great to see the band back together and putting out a new album. Make no mistake the wait was worth it too, this a killer of a release with the metal meets bad boy rap taking on a whole new dimension. The T man might be a little bit rounder and less confrontational than he was a couple of decades ago but with age comes maturity and this is one guy who has aged like a fine wine.
Manslaughter shows no loss of focus or power compared to previous outings for the band in fact if anything it has more. It’s the subject matter and clever lyrics that really show what a class act this is though. From social commentary on military recruitment and testimony to the personnel that don’t make it back home to witty observations of how women are perceived at gigs, this album has it all. You do get the sense that Ice T has changed tack without really altering his opinions on most subjects. His dry humour and street slang sometimes mask the real meaning of what he’s trying to say but when you do get it you can’t help but nod in approval.
Halfway through this already ear pummelling record we get something approaching near genius, a reworked and reworded version of Suicidal Tendencies Institutionalized 2014. Where the first verse might raise a few hackles among those so myopically feminist as to not see the humour, the second and third are undeniably and riotously funny. Anyone who can write a lyric about being lectured by a vegan about eating a ham sandwich to this kind of music and keep his tongue firmly in his very pissed off cheek gets my vote for anything, even the presidency (if I was American). If you listen to this song and don’t at least smile then you are Jack Dee.
Far from being just the Ice T show the band put in a more than solid shift too. Everything is tight precise and the guitar work cuts loose just enough to let you know that Ernie C can mix it with the best of them. Some of the groove and beats on Talk Shit, Get Shot are so infectious even a hazmat suit wouldn’t protect you from them. The only downside might well be what also makes this album so great, its ability to connect with angry young people means it has an edge that some may find uncomfortable. You do have to dig deep and really look to see what the message is behind some of the songs on Manslaughter, but when you do get it it’s so very worth it.
The finest Body Count album to date, a snarling, street wise observation of life in our screwed up digital age.