Grim Observations: Body Count – Manslaughter (2014)

Even though you may know him more for the long-running cop drama Law & Order, Ice-T is back with a band that we haven’t heard anything from since 2004. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure that there are people who aren’t even aware that these guys came out with another couple of records after Born Dead. But it may be a good thing that you’ve forgotten, because this actually sounds like a record coming right from that era, and it’s also one of the best mixes of rap and metal that I’ve heard in years. While you might have seen the video for “Talk Shit, Get Shot 3:47” I’m pretty sure you didn’t get a chance to hear the extremely violent nature of “Pray For Death 3:40” which brings about a brutal lyrical nature to hardcore that I haven’t heard for a while. He might play a cop, but he definitely acts like a murderer here. It’s a track that’s completely worthy of the title Manslaughter. While I could care less with the rap metal cover of Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” I definitely find the hefty thrash experience of the title cut (3:13) and “Get A Job 3:01” to work (especially with those great solos) for me quite well. Then we have “Institutionalized 2014 3:46” (a cover of the Suicidal Tendencies classic) which definitely seems to build onto the original as it offers the same tale of an incredibly frustrated individual and provides plenty of dark humor along the way. Then we have “Pop Bubble 3:24” which lashes out at the current state of popular music and features Jamie Jasta (Hatebreed) as a guest vocalist. If nothing else, Manslaughter is a record that allows us to look in a mirror and see what kind of ugly and jaded people we’ve really become in the last couple of decades. But there are still some not-so-serious tracks like “Bitch In The Pit 3:00” and “Black Voodoo Sex 3:58.” Of course, one of the strongest messages on this record is “Wanna Be A Gangsta 3:45” which basically serves as a cautionary tale to all those young guys who see gang life glamorized in music videos and want to try it. When he says, “I know motherfuckers who have been in gangs for years and they’re trying to get out and own a little piece of something” that should get through to people’s heads, not to mention that the owners of record companies got together years ago with the owners of the for-profit prisons in order to create a sort of music that would glamorize violence. All those inmates would end up in those for-profit prisons and both would make plenty of money. Remember, the world is a business. At any rate, I definitely recommend Body Count’s Manslaughter and it’s one of my favorite records of 2014, for sure. I didn’t expect the new one to be this good, and this meaningful. Check it out.

(14 Tracks, 50:00)

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