90. Body Count, ‘Body Count’ (1992)

In 1992, I was pissed off all the time, for no good reason. I went to a cushy, little (expensive) liberal arts college, where I could take all the classes I wanted from a competent and caring faculty. I had a lot of friends for the first time in my life. I worked a menial job, but for spending money. Cigarettes were $0.99, and gas was cheaper. A taco at taco bell cost $0.39. Rock music was never better. Yet. I gravitated toward anger…reveled in it. I lived in rage. No surprise I gravitated toward furious music, and especially the bands that had things to be angry about.

Everyone who was alive at the time will remember the controversy of IceT’s revenge fantasy “Cop Killer”. I don’t know how many people know how controversial that song still is. Spotify carries the “Body Count” album, but not that single, because popular opinion forced TimeWarner to reissue the album without that track. You can find “Cop Killer” on Spotify, but not Body Count’s version. Rather there is a cover of “Cop Killer” by Nagły Atak Spawacza, a Polish hip-hop outfit consisting of

*drumroll*

White dudes.

Of course I bought ‘Body Count’. Things in Los Angeles were jumping off in 1992. South Central LA in the late 80s and early 90s was a war-zone pitting the police against young black men**. Cops kicked the shit out of Rodney King on the news. Was killing cops the answer? I didn’t know. Did Body Count have a legitimate beef? Hell yes. The righteous anger of “Body Count”, “There Goes the Neighborhood”, “Bowels of the Devil”, and “The Winner Loses” were a magnet to me. Because I was a young man, and grief is an emotion that young men weren’t supposed to have, I couldn’t really identify with the sadness of these songs. On re-examination, and after coming to terms with the garbage that is masculinity, this album bleeds futility and nihilism. This is a sad album.

As I look back I can see that I was so occluded by the fog of masculinity that I forgot that there was another side to the album.

Ironically, as “Body Count” pointed an enraged finger at the oppressor, they also adopted the oppressor’s role. The album is rife with misogyny. How were we so repulsed by fantasized violence against cops, but not violence against women? This album includes the most ridiculously bad and unhinged song of any album on this list (I hope)—“Momma’s Gotta Die Tonight”. The song is about a young man violently murdering his racist mother. It’s fucked up, kind of gross, and I’d really rather never listen to it again. “Evil D**k” is about what IceT’s cock has been up to; it has a mind of its own, and he really isn’t accountable. “KKK B***h” is about revenge fucking the daughter of a KKK leader…she’s no more than a vessel for the rage. Most surprising, unlike “Cop Killer”, these songs are still available on Spotify***.

**This war isn’t over, btw, and has been pretty one-sided for some time now. Black Lives Matter.*

**I’m not advocating that these songs should be pulled, just that they are gross and we should all be ashamed of them.

Cover image by source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18756898

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