It is not because Ice-T doesn’t really ‘get’ metal, but BODY COUNT‘s back catalogue is a hotch potch of cliches which never really comes close to pushing at the boundaries of what the rap legend is capable of. KKK Bitch is STEEL PANTHER strolling mistakenly into South Central, Born Dead is anthemic rebellion cased in a veneer of street authenticity and the less said about I Used To Love her the better. Whether it’s due to the election of a US president who seems to revel in exploiting and widening racial tensions, only one man knows, but on Bloodlust Ice-T seems more focused than ever. The result is a collection of visceral tunes on which his eloquence and insight shine through.
Bloodlust is also a much crisper sounding album than any of BODYCOUNT’S previous efforts. It seems like others recognised something significant lurking at the genesis of Bloodlust too, as Dave Mustaine, Randy Blythe and Max Cavalera all stop by for a cameo. MEGADEATH head honcho Mustaine lights the touch paper with a spoken word introduction to opening track Civil War; a scene setter, a mood piece, a statement of intent.
No Lives Matter also starts with a few words of wisdom, this time from Ice-T himself who tackles criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement and in doing so, gives the clearest indication of why now is the time for his most coherent opus to date. Oh, so you think that music and race issues exist is separate universes? Learn your history, son. Just take a look at Memphis in the 1960s. In particular, take a look at Stax Records, birthplace of the all the best soul. In a racially divided city, Stax Records was one of the few places where black and white worked freely together without the antagonistic undercurrents so prevalent elsewhere in the city. In their downtime between sessions, Stax musicians used to socialise at the Lorraine Motel which became infamous as the site of the assassination of Martin Luther King. King was in town as a result of the racially-divisive Memphis sanitation workers strike when he was shot.
Ice-T knows that. Ice-T knows that music is art and Ice-T also knows that at a time when some sections of society are feeling increasingly under attack, music is an entirely appropriate response. Take Black Hoodie for example. It takes the theme of police racism and with a few deft phrases, raises some uncomfortable concepts; “Then the cops roll up, I don’t know why he ran, maybe traffic warrants, I still don’t understand, he’s only gone a block and then we hear shots.”
Whether its the senseless murder of Sophie Lancaster or someone being shot because of their skin colour or choice of clothing, fatal violence stinks. Ice-T knows that too. That’s why Ice-T and BODY COUNT created Bloodlust. Listen, think, learn.
Bloodlust is set for release on March 31st via Century Media Records.
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