March 2012 – Woke up on my 29th birthday, “Cop Killer” inexplicably in my head. Haven't heard the song in years. Pondered a connection, couldn't put it together. Considered the mysterious currents that waft around our various cortexes, delivering seemingly arbitrary snippets of a life's worth of detritus to the forefront of our consciousness, only to have it recede again into the synaptic stew from which it bubbled. Made coffee. Downloaded the first Body Count album. Pretty much as ridiculous as I remember it being, though I still rather enjoy it. The musicianship is fairly bumbling and the lyrics are clumsy, but it's not without its charm. It all sounds like the point where New York crossover thrash was slowing down a bit, but hadn't quite devolved into groove metal and rap-rock. Except performed by people who were not at all well-versed in the ways of their instruments.
Some of it's just not awesome. “Voodoo” kinda just sounds like the worst of Danzig's lyrical conceits, taken to a weird, dramatic extent. Ice T's attempt to sing on “The Winner Loses” is also pretty goddamn atrocious. It's almost good, it's so bad. Almost. But there were other moments that, while as subtle as a fart at a funeral, were actually pretty on point. The lingering race question weighs heavily on the album. It reflects in “Cop Killer,” “KKK Bitch,” “There Goes The Neighborhood,” etc. And while it's never addressed in an especially nuanced fashion, it is interesting to hear the variety of ways in which it's brought up. It's really easy to hear the over-the-top vulgarity of the album but there's something to a lot of these songs, a bluntness that's a little more in touch with reality than a lot of metal tends to be.
But it's honest. They weren't saying what a million hardcore bands hadn't already said, but they brought this sort of thing to larger crowds than ever before (if you don't count “I Shot The Sheriff” or whatever). They made cop-killing catchy. They tried to show things as they were, to pull back the mask. They may have outlived their moment in the sun, some of them at least (R.I.P. Beatmaster V, Mooseman, and D-Roc the Executioner). And their legacy won't ever shake Law & Order. But for a minute there, they made something threatening. Something that was, as the man said, deep. Because it was about racism and shit.
Post Script - so I just did a search and realized our man Cobras already posted this one, beating me to the punch by three years or so. But I already typed the motherfucker out, so yeah.