Bloodlusting for Some Law and Order, Honestly
The best perspectives on social injustice, life on the streets and discriminatory afflictions obviously come from those with an actual background in those subjects. For all the artists and bands out there creating songs and concept albums centered around experiences of which they know little, it’s easy to say that Ice-T doesn’t fall into that category. His track record for dealing with racial, classist and economic tyranny is as long as it is rife with struggle, so his lyrical contributions as the co-founding frontman of Los Angeles thrash metal act Body Count on these topics are fully authentic. With all that has happened in the world since Body Count’s 2014 release Manslaughter, the subject matter of their newest Bloodlust makes it some of their most important to date.
Musically, Body Count doesn’t digress from their usual thrashed heavy metal tendencies. The album even includes contributions from and nods to some of heavy metals hardest hitters, like right-winger Dave Mustaine of Megadeth lending a guitar solo and uncomfortable PA system message regarding martial law on the album opener “Civil War.” Randy Blythe of Lamb of God shares forceful vocals on one of Body Count’s most brutal songs yet, titled “Walk With Me.” God Forbid’s Doc Coyle cowrote the gang violence track “This Is Why We Ride” and Max Cavalera of Soulfly cowrote and vocalized the ode to exes of “All Love Is Lost.” They even do a somewhat sad re-imagination of a Slayer track, calling it “Raining Blood/Postmortem 2017.”
Despite the star-studded guest appearances, Bloodlust’s worth does lie in its lyrical content. The first single off of Bloodlust, the blatantly titled “Black Hoodie,” hinted strongly at expectations for the album upon its release as its basis is built around the killing of unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin in 2012.
Body Count goes even deeper into systemic inequities and hard times with “No Lives Matter,” which adds the obvious level of classism to the Black Lives Matter movement, and again with “This Is Why We Ride” and “Walk With Me,” both tackling the issues of criminal behavior due to monetary dearth. Most of the songs on Bloodlust in some way or another address social issues in this same vein, making up for the few pitfalls — like the awkward “woop woops” in “Black Hoodie.”
A person of color speaking on minority microaggressions and disdain-for-the-police is the highest authority in this realm, and hearing it done in a genre not normally taken on by people of color places its importance on a higher level. The irony of Ice-T’s television day job isn’t entirely lost on us, though.