Most Law & Order: SVU fans know that series star Ice-T started out as a rapper before becoming an actor, but many may not be aware that he also fronts a Grammy-winning metal band. For more than three decades, Ice T has been the vocalist for Body Count, a hardcore metal band hailing from Los Angeles. In 2021, Body Count took home the Best Metal Performance award at the Grammys, for the song "Bum-Rush," which was the second single from their most recent album, 2020's Carnivore.
In a post-win tweet, Ice-T gave "a very special shout out to all the BC Fans Worldwide. For over 30yrs you've stayed loyal. Celebrate with us Tonight! Thanks for the love and continued support. 'Keep It Hardcore' 4Life." Most of the rapper and actor's fans may not even realize that Body Count has been around for 30 years, but they have an extensive catalog of brutal hardcore-influenced metal songs to prove their legacy. Scroll down to read more about that band and check out some of their songs throughout the years.
Body Count was born in the early '90s, with him and his fellow Crenshaw High School alum Ernie C (lead guitar), Mooseman (bass), Beatmaster V (drums), and D-Roc (rhythm guitar) teaming up over their love of heavy metal and hard rock music. Ice-T became the vocalist, even though at the time he did not feel like he had the right voice for metal, as he already had an established career as a rapper.
The band debuted at Lollapalooza in 1991, with part of Ice's set being his solo hip-hop songs, and the other half being Body Count. The set was a massive hit, and in 1992 the band released their self-titled debut album.prevnext
Ice-T has said in the past that the two biggest influences on Body Count have been Black Sabbath and Slayer, with hardcore punk and crossover thrash music — like Suicidal Tendencies — playing a significant role as well. In a previous interview, Ernie C explained, "We wanted to be a big punk band [...] Our first record is almost a punk record."
The band has paid homage to their influences on multiple occasions, recording their own version of the Suicidal Tendencies hit "Institutionalized" and doing a double cover of Slayer tracks, "Raining Blood" and "Postmortem," from Slayer's classic Reign in Blood album. Body Count has also covered "Ace of Spades" by Motorhead and "Hey Joe," written by Billy Moses and made famous by Jimi Hendrix. They wrote their own version of Jay-Z's "99 Problems," as well.prevnext
Style and Sound
Body Count has often been credited as giving birth to the rise of rap-metal — in some cases nu-metal overall — for its use of hip-hop-style vocals over heavy, thrashy music. Arguably, Ice-T is not necessarily rapping in the majority of Body Count songs, but his bold and aggressive delivery has a cadence that is reminiscent of rapping, thus the band gaining the rap-metal label.
While they've been placed in a lot of genres over the years, the most fitting description of Body Count's sound would be crossover thrash, which is essentially a blend of metal, hardcore, and thrash.prevnext
"Cop Killer" Controversy
Just as the band was starting to ride high on their budding success and popularity, a major controversy came crashing down on their heads. One of the songs on their debut album was titled "Cop Killer," and was intended to be a criticism of corrupt police officers. However, many police organizations across the nation took offense to the songs.
Notably, George H.W. Bush, who was President of the United States at the time, criticized Warner Bros. Records for even considering allowing the song to be released. Ice-T eventually opted to pull the song off the album because he "didn't want my band to get pigeon-holed."prevnext
Deaths of Beatmaster V, Mooseman, and D-Roc the Executioner
Sadly, over the course of Body Count's tenure as a powerhouse metal band, three of the original members have died. In 1996, Beatmaster V died of leukemia shortly after the band finished recording their third album, Violent Demise: The Last Days.
Mooseman, who'd left the band in 2004, died in 2001 after being shot in a drive-by shooting. At the time of his death, Mooseman had been a member of Iggy Pop's band The Trolls.
Finally, D-Roc the Executioner died in 2004, with his cause of death being attributed to complications from lymphoma. Ice-T and Ernie C are the only remaining original members of the band.prevnext
Following the death of D-Roc, Body Count released their fourth album, Murder 4 Hire, which dropped in 2006. The band then opted to lay low for a while, with Ernie C issuing a statement on their tentative plans. "We will carry on the band," he said. "I don't know if it will be Body Count, but in some form, Ice and I will always play together."
Over the next several years the band's activity was sporadic. In 2009 they played a set for the 15th anniversary of Vans Warped Tour. They also wrote an exclusive song for the Gears of War 3 video game, titled "The Gears of War," in 2011.prevnext
Return to the Stage
In 2012, six years after their last album, Ice-T announced that Body Count would be putting out a brand new album, Manslaughter, which came out in January 2013. The album was the band's first and only record with Summerian Records and featured guest vocals from Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta on one track.
A few years later, Body Count signed to Century Media Records and released Bloodlust (2017). That album featured guests like Megadeth's Dave Mustaine, Lamb of God's Randy Blythe, and former Sepulture frontman Max Cavalera. It also earned the band their first Best Metal Performance Grammy nomination, for the song "Black Hoodie."prevnext
Last year, Body Count released Carnivore, which led to their Grammy win this year. The album has been critically acclaimed and featured a new tune with Jasta, as well as tracks with Evanescence singer Amy Lee and former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo.
Notably, Carnivore also featured a song with late Power Trip frontman Riley Gale, who died in 2020, and was also a nominee with his band in the Best Metal Performance category in 2021.prev