"Body Count is an American heavy metal band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1990. The group was founded by Ice-T, best known for his contributions to the hip hop genre. Ice-T founded the group out of his interest in heavy metal, and took on the role of vocalist for the group, writing the lyrics for most of the group's songs, while the music was written by lead guitarist Ernie C.
Body Count is the eponymous debut album of American heavy metal band Body Count. "Cop Killer" was originally intended to be the album's title, as evidenced by the tattoo on the original cover. Released on Sire Records in 1992, the album material focuses on various social and political issues ranging from police brutality to drug abuse. The album presents a turning point in the career of Ice-T, who co-wrote the album's songs with lead guitarist Ernie C and performed as the band's lead singer. Previously known only as a rapper, Ice-T's work with the band helped establish a crossover audience with rock music fans. The album produced one single, "There Goes the Neighborhood."
Body Count is best known for the inclusion of the controversial song "Cop Killer," which was the subject of much criticism from various political figures, although many defended the song on the basis of the group's right to freedom of speech. Ice-T eventually chose to remove the song from the album, although it continues to be performed live. Although the album received mixed reviews, it was ranked among the Village Voice's list of the 40 Best Albums of 1992, and is believed to have helped pave the way for the mainstream success of the rapcore genre, although the album itself does not feature rapping in any of its songs.
The album encountered controversy before its original release. It was originally set to be distributed under the title Cop Killer, named for the song of the same name, which criticizes violent police officers, and was interpreted as an attack against the entire police force. At a Time-Warner shareholders' meeting, actor Charlton Heston stood and read lyrics from the song "KKK Bitch" to an astonished audience and demanded that the company take action. Sire responded by changing the title to Body Count, but did not remove the song. In an article for the Washington Post, Tipper Gore condemned Ice T for songs like "Cop Killer," writing that "Cultural economics were a poor excuse for the South's continuation of slavery. Ice-T's financial success cannot excuse the vileness of his message [...] Hitler's anti-Semitism sold in Nazi Germany. That didn't make it right." The Dallas Police Association and the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas launched a campaign to force Warner Bros. Records to withdraw the album. CLEAT called for a boycott of all products by Time-Warmer in order to secure the removal of the song and album from stores. Within a week, they were joined by police organizations across the United States. Ice T asserted that the song was written from the point of view of a fictional character, and told reporters that "I ain't never killed no cop. I felt like it a lot of times. But I never did it. If you believe that I'm a cop killer, you believe David Bowie is an astronaut," in reference to Bowie's song "Space Oddity".
Tracklist: 1. Smoked Pork, 2. Body Count's In the House, 3. Now Sports, 4. Body Count, 5. A Statistic, 6. Bowels of the Devil, 7. The Real Problem, 8. KKK Bitch, 9. C Note, 10. Voodoo, 11. The Winner Loses, 12. There Goes the Neighborhood, 13. Oprah, 14. Evil Dick, 15. Body Count Anthem, 16. Momma's Gotta Die Tonight, 17. Out In the Parking Lot, 18. Cop Killer.
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