Body Count is an American Hardcore Punk and Thrash Metal band formed in Los Angeles in 1990. The group was founded by rapper Ice-T. Ice founded the group out of his interest in heavy metal, and took on the role of vocalist, writing the lyrics for most of the group's songs, while the music was written by his high school friend, lead guitarist Ernie C. Three other classmates (rhythm guitarist D-Roc, also one of Ernie's guitar students; bassist Mooseman; and drummer Beatmaster V) rounded out the band, and after debuting on the song "Body Count" from Ice's 1991 album O.G. Original Gangster, their self-titled debut album was released on Sire Records in 1992.
The song "Cop Killer" was the subject of much controversy. Although Sire Records' parent company, Warner (Bros.) Records, defended the single, Ice chose to remove the track from the album because he felt that the controversy had eclipsed the music itself. The group left Sire the following year.
After a long hiatus (partially caused by the deaths of D-Roc, Mooseman, and Beatmaster Vnote ) that saw the group only release one album in seventeen years, in 2012 Body Count signed with Sumerian Records and released their fifth album Manslaughter in June 2014. After the Manslaughter tour ended, they signed with Century Media for their sixth album Bloodlust, which was released in March 2017.
In 2018, Body Count was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance for the song "Black Hoodie" from their album Bloodlust. Although many predicted that they would be the likely recipients of the award, it was instead given to Mastodon. Their seventh album Carnivore was released in March 2020, peaking at a very respectable #28 on the Billboard Top Album Sales chart, second only to the original Body Count album, which hit #26, and the lead single "Bum-Rush" won the 2021 Best Metal Performance Grammy.
They are currently working on their eighth album Merciless, with a release date to be determined.
- Body Count (1992)
- Born Dead (1994)
- Violent Demise: The Last Days (1997)
- Murder 4 Hire (2006)
- Manslaughter (2014)
- Bloodlust (2017)
- Carnivore (2020)
- Merciless (TBA)
- Ice-T: lead vocals
- Ernie C: lead guitar, backing vocals
- Sean E. Sean: sampler, backing vocals
- Vincent Price: bass, backing vocals
- Ill Will: drums
- Juan of the Deadnote : rhythm guitar, backing vocals
- Tracy Marrow Jr. a.k.a. Little Ice: hype man, backing vocals
- Raw Breed - rapping on "My Way" (Violent Demise)
- Trigga tha Gambler - additional rap vocals on "Invincible Gangsta" (Murder 4 Hire)
- Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed) - vocals on "Pop Bubble" (Manslaughter) and "Another Level" (Carnivore)
- Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) - guitar and spoken word on "Civil War" (Bloodlust)
- Max Cavalera (Soulfly, ex-Sepultura) - vocals on "All Love is Lost" (Bloodlust)
- Randy Blythe (Lamb of God) - vocals on "Walk with Me..." (Bloodlust)
- Riley Gale (Power Trip) - vocals on "Point the Finger" (Carnivore)
- Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer) - drums on "Colors 2020" (Carnivore)
- Amy Lee (Evanescence) - vocals on "When I'm Gone" (Carnivore)
- Anti-Police Song: "Cop Killer" is by far their most famous example, but since they started putting out music again in 2014, they've done several. Bloodlust had "Civil War", "No Lives Matter", and "Black Hoodie", while Carnivore has "Point The Finger" and "Bum Rush".
- Careful with That Axe: "But you see, I live in South Central Los Angeles, and unfortunately...SHIT AIN'T LIKE THAT!"
- Cluster F-Bomb
- Controversy-Proof Image: The backlash against the song "Cop Killer" didn't hurt Body Count. In a subversion, the album actually went Gold because of the controversy. Although they continued to release albums, none of them have had as much mainstream success as their debut.
- Cop Killer: The band sang the trope namer.
- Cover Version: "Hey Joe", done in the style of Jimi Hendrix' version of the song. Appeared on a Hendrix tribute album and Body Count's Born Dead album. Manslaughter had a cover of Suicidal Tendencies's "Institutionalized" that updates the song to the point of view of a grown and somewhat angry man who faces situations that cause him to rage (unsurprisingly, Ice plays this 'character' in the video). They also covered Slayer's "Raining Blood" on a Periscope broadcast while recording the Bloodlust album, and it was so well-receieved that they put it on the record, combined with "Postmortem". Carnivore features them covering Motörhead's iconic "Ace of Spades".
- Darker and Edgier: Bloodlust is significantly heavier and features more rapping than any of their previous albums, while Carnivore continues in the same vein.
- Dating What Daddy Hates: Entire concept of "KKK Bitch":''She said "I love you, but my daddy don't play, he's the fuckin' Grand Wizard of the KKK'
- Death Row: "Dead Man Walking"
- Drugs Are Bad: "The Winner Loses," where Ice-T's friend is a cocaine addict who robs people for money and ultimately ODs
- Filk Song: "Gears of War", based on the series of games of the same name.
- Five-Man Band:
- For Great Justice: The song "Born Dead" states that BC stands for "truth, justice and FUCK THE AMERICAN WAY".
- Hollywood Voodoo: The song "Voodoo".
- Humans Are Bastards: The general theme of their album Bloodlust.
- Instrumentals: "C Note" and "Mr. C's Theme"
- Intercourse with You: "Bring It to Pain", "KKK Bitch," "Evil Dick", "Black Voodoo Sex".
- It Will Never Catch On: Ice has admitted people tried to dissuade him from forming the band, but he ignored them and debuted Body Count on the first Lollapalooza tour, not telling anyone what he was going to do. Every show, he did half an hour of Ice T, then half an hour of Body Count, which started the band's buzz.
- Kent Brockman News: "Now Sports":"This weekend, seventeen youths killed in gang homicides
- Loudness War: Their first four albums aren't so bad, but their records from Manslaughter onward suffer from this.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: An 8 or so most of the time.
- Mr. Exposition: Ice takes on this role for the intro to the album version of "Raining Blood."Interviewer: Ice, explain Body Count.Ice T : Body Count is a band I put together just to let one of my best friends Ernie C. play his guitar. He's always been playing guitar, we all went to Crenshaw High School together in South Central Los Angeles. And I had the idea, let's make a metal band, let's make a rock band, because I had been to Europe and I noticed that the kids would mosh off of hip-hop. So we put the band together, and I used the three bands that were my favourites at the time to set the tone. We used the impending doom of a group like Black Sabbath, who pretty much invented metal; the punk sensibility of somebody like Suicidal, who basically put that gangbanger style from Venice, California into the game; and the speed and the precision of Slayer, one of my favourite groups and always will be.
- Mugging the Monster: In "Momma's Gotta Die Tonight", about a teenager murdering his racist mother, and "Cop Killer", about murdering crooked, racist police.
- New Sound Album: Their debut was mostly Hardcore Punk, Born Dead was mostly Thrash Metal, and Violent Demise was mostly Heavy Metal. Murder 4 Hire returned to the band's thrash/hardcore roots. Manslaughter, meanwhile, features many modern metal elements such as groove metal/metalcore breakdowns and even subtle djent influences, as well as more prominent rapped vocals (prior albums had maybe one or two songs with rapping, and their debut and Born Dead had none at all, while Manslaughter features rapping on 4 songs). Bloodlust, on the other hand, features their heaviest material to date as well even more frequent rapping than its predecessor, featuring rapping on the majority of tracks, and Carnivore continues this trend.
- Precision F-Strike: "Fuck the police! Fuck the police!" Also doubles as a Shout-Out to the similarly titled song from N.W.A.
- Police Brutality: "Cop Killer" is about this. "No Lives Matter" and "Black Hoodie" from Bloodlust also qualify, as does "Point The Finger" from Carnivore.
- Power Ballad: "The Winner Loses"
- Prison: "Bowels of the Devil"
- Rap Metal: Often pegged as this thanks to Ice-T being their frontman, but they didn't actually have any songs with rapping until their third album, after which they gradually incorporated it more with each record. Even then, Ice opts for thrash/hardcore-style shouting, spoken word, or occasional clean singing as well, so they aren't a full-fledged example.
- Spoken Word in Music: When the vocals aren't yelled/chanted, sung, or rapped.
- Spoof Aesop: From "KKK Bitch":"So what we really tryin' to say is Body Count loves everybody.
We love Mexican girls, Black girls, Oriental girls,
It really don't matter. If you from Mars, and you got a pussy,
We will fuck you. You know, that's all we're sayin', word."
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The main character in "Momma's Gotta Die Tonight" sets his mother on fire, beats her to death with a Louisville slugger, chops up her body, and spreads the parts across the country.