CastilloThroughout metal’s history, bands have occasionally written songs named after themselves. Motorhead has one. Iron Maiden has one. Black Sabbath has one and a half. But only one group has had the nerve to compose five songs about themselves, and obviously that would be AMG house band, Body Count.

“Body Count’s In The House” (from Body Count, 1992) – The first of BC‘s many anthems is probably the definitive one. The track begins with police sirens and an entry-level groove metal riff, leaving no doubt who the band is before Ice-T even opens his mouth. Lyrically, the song mostly focuses on the band’s name and location (“the house”), save for the breakdown where Ice introduces each band member, leading up to the now-classic “…and I’m Ice muthafuckin’ T, bitch!” This song has been the band’s live opener for years, and rightfully so.

“Body Count” (from Body Count, 1992) – The track “Body Count” first appeared on Ice’s solo album O.G. Original Gangster, a year or so before Body Count was released, making it the band’s first appearance on record. The song makes use of some Sabbath-style dynamics, opening with gentle acoustic guitar while Ice-T calmly discusses some issues that have been on his mind. This tranquility is shattered by Ice shouting “SHIT AIN’T LIKE THAT!”, as Mooseman’s bassline leads the band to full power. From that point on, Ice is in beast mode, ranting with furious anger about everything from gang warfare to racial inequality to police brutality. However, despite name-checking drummer Beatmaster V and guitarist Ernie C during their respective solos, he makes no mention of the band itself. In hindsight, it’s entirely possible that the band is named after this song, not vice versa.

“Body Count Anthem” (from Body Count, 1992) – On an album that already contained “Body Count” and “Body Count’s In The House,” somehow the band felt it necessary to add “Body Count Anthem,” just in case. This one has no lyrics save for gang shouts of “Body Count!” and “BC!” over a pounding tribal riff, before launching into an ill-fitting speed metal section. Oh, and Ice-T yells “muthafucka!” in there somewhere. Of all the self-referencing BC songs, this one’s probably the crappiest.

“Body M/F Count” (from Born Dead, 1994) – Just like their debut, Body Count‘s sophomore record Born Dead begins with sampled police sirens and a gloriously stupid riff. This time, however, that riff adds some stuttering double kick to the mix, suggesting that someone in BC may have heard Fear Factory‘s Soul Of A New Machine. The song’s sole lyric is “Body Count/Body muthafuckin’ Count,” proving that sometimes, less truly is more. While Born Dead has many other tracks that reference the band, this is the only one that mentions them in the title.

“You’re Fuckin’ With B.C.” (from Violent Demise: The Last Days, 1997) – Violent Demise is basically a concept album about murdering everybody who did not enjoy Born Dead, and “You’re Fuckin’ With BC” is every bit as defiant as you’d expect. The track opens with Ice-T bellowing “DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU’RE FUCKIN’ WITH???!!,” and of course, his gang-vocal posse has the answer. Ice then launches into a series of increasingly ludicrous claims concerning his band’s criminal record, including “banana clip loader, L.A.P.D. got my fuckin’ folder” and “laser scope’n, hostage ropin’, known to get your safe open.” (The infamous “dusted with a musket” verse from 2014’s “Talk Shit, Get Shot” is coming from a similar place spiritually). Ice also makes the bold claim that his band was “on the cover of Murder Monthly,” but I searched their back issues on Amazon and found no evidence of this. Regardless of historical accuracy, “You’re Fuckin’ With B.C.” is the absolute pinnacle of Body Count‘s lyrical grandstanding.

Strangely, none of BC‘s post-Violent Demise albums have featured any anthem-type tracks. It’s possible that, after five attempts, they decided (correctly) that doing more would be extremely redundant. Perhaps, after 20-plus years, the band is confident enough that people are aware of who they are. Maybe, after the tragic deaths of 3 original members and the cruelty of the music business, Ice-T is no longer quite sure who you’re fucking with, or if they’re still in the house. Only time will tell.

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  • Ah Dr., your old avatar seems fit to this particular discussion. I always felt Mr. Olmos would’ve the gravitas to pull off a career in hip-hop. On topic, as good as Manslaughter was, I kinda felt it missed one of those self-referential anthems. Nonetheless, great analysis.

    • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

      I agree about Manslaughter. If they’d done a track called “I Can’t Believe It’s B.C.” or something, that would’ve put it over the top. (also, I could’ve done without the Jasta and Coco guest spots).

  • Johan Dams

    Cool article. As an old hip-hop guy back in the day, Body Count actually got me into metal. But I never thought of all their songs with the band name in the song title. Ice T is a crazy MF. Also funny that he plays a cop in Law & Order SVU.

    • I’ve always seen that show as a writers’ competition to give him the corniest, cringiest one-liners and see if he can still pull them off convincingly.

  • Ernesto Aimar

    Now there’s the influence Ice T had over Hammerfall

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    Well done “Dr.” Fisting. Well done.

  • Gabriel PérezMolphe

    “Black Metal”…

    • Oh man I remember that. It was funny to see the entire subgenre blow a collective gasket over what Ice T said.

      • Gabriel PérezMolphe

        On the other hand, they also freak out because Deafheaven have major scales

  • The only thing that was missing was him looking directly into the camera afterwards.

    • Óðhinn

      Don’t get me started on his acting.

      I had a role last year where I had to look into the camera during one scene. I was unaware of it beforehand as it was a direction given on the day. I actually found it difficult to do in the moment since an actor usually tries to avoid looking at the camera and generally plays to the other actors on set. It took me a few takes to get it right.

  • Martin Knap

    It’s really interesting when you play all 5 tracks at the same time.

    • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

      If you listen to 3 in a row, Ice-T shows up at your house.

      • Thais Munk

        Do you get dusted with a musket then? Or is that only if you’ve talked shit about Body Count?

        • He probably will just start to repeatedly notify you of his status as being in the house. Your house.

  • De2013

    Very well written and your timing Sir couldn’t be any better; (body) counting down to see them this Wednesday m/

  • ZEbyiUWvbe

    I collect songs where band name/album title/song title are the same. This article gave me another one: Body Count/Body Count/Body Count. So, thanks!

    In case anyone’s interested, limiting myself to metal, so far I have:

    Black Sabbath
    Angel Witch
    Iced Earth
    Iron Maiden
    Seven Kingdoms
    Bad News
    Skaur (first edition of their debut album was called “Skaur”, second edition was called “Nordnorsk Svartmetall”)

    • Jono_M

      Angel Witch had the special distinction of releasing the song Angel Witch on their album Angel Witch. If Riot/Narita went by Narita initially, they could’ve done the same.

    • ronin1572

      Don’t forget Manowar, Overkill, and Children of Bodom. Then again every song Manowar writes, regardless of name, is about Manowar.

      • ZEbyiUWvbe

        Manowar, Overkill, and Children of Bodom
        Neither of those have a “self-titled” album … so, no go.

  • Óðhinn

    I listened to Body Count for a while in the early 1990s, but didn’t really even think about them for years. Their latest album got some positive reviews so I decided to check it out. To be honest, the lyrics were so bad, and highly ignorant, that I couldn’t stand to listen to the album. It’s too bad because the musicianship (without Ice-T’s lyrics) is good. Is it that Ice-T has changed, or maybe I have changed? Or perhaps I’ve just matured, and Ice-T knows that his target audience is young males? Lyrics about playing Xbox and beating women from a wealthy celebrity in his 50s feel wrong to me on so many levels. At the very least, his lyrics disingenuous and ruin a classic Suicidal Tendencies song. At their worst, they promote domestic violence against women. Either way, I’m no longer buying what he’s selling.

    • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

      There’s been some discussion of Ice’s lyrics and personal politics before on this site. I agree that a LOT of what he’s saying is promoting some pretty negative stuff. Although, it’s not like “Mama’s Gotta Die Tonight” or even the original “99 Problems” had a healthy world view.

      I still stand by my original assessment that Ice is simply trying to provoke and mess with white people.

      • Óðhinn

        Yes. You could be right. I think his lyrics have always been ignorant and violent to some degree. I was thinking yesterday that perhaps it was a bit easier to understand his need for revenge against police and the KKK due to the fact that African Americans have been oppressed in America (even though the lyrics were over the top), than shooting somebody because they are vegetarian or a hipster. And perhaps it’s just that I was more likely to think his lyrics were cool back in the early 90s.

        • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

          Exactly. “Cop Killer” was ridiculous, but it was also legitimate given the circumstances at the time (or even today). The whole killing vegans thing, not so much.

          • I remember an interview where he basically argued that if you can’t get the “joke” you shouldn’t be listening to body count.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    I think this band is quite literally a joke and shouldn’t be taken too seriously…
    I don’t mind jokes, Cop killer was pretty funny 20 years ago…getting a bit lame now

  • Clayton Haga

    what about overkill they wrote at least five songs about overkill