During 1990 Ice-T started to explore the musical direction of the heavy-rock genre, he had established Body Count but had not released any recordings until the explosion of 'Body Count' track on O.G.. We are introduced to Body Count by way of interview answering a question of selling out as a hardcore rapper by incorporating rock music into his career. He sternly explains that rock music is originally black music and he likes it. Then the introduction continues with narration of Ice-T pondering a better life under the plucks of a guitar string, before the ascension of an unheard sound in hip-hop. The thunderous jam of rock music and the strong-defiance of Body Count hits hard. Beatmaster V hosts a tremendous drum solo as well. The track would also appear in Body Count's début album. In 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous' he showed off a flair in fast-paced conceited rapping as opposed to 'The Tower' which had a modest, discerning slow flow inspiring a mood of ethereal gravity. Ice-T has the ability to placate our emotions through the energy of his music, something that has escaped most artists in hip-hop today who seem to default on a serious, criminal tone despite the triviality of some lyrics. The last page of the album closes with 'Ya Shoulda Killed me Last Year' Ice-T figuratively pokes his tongue out at P.M.R.C.'s failed attempt to shut him down. The spoken word of Ice-T starts with a peace shout out to the Soldiers serving in Iraq in 1991, soldiers on the streets, convicted felons locked down in the U.S. penal system. Then he curses out every abbreviated police and government body from the F.B.I. to the D.E.A., and rounds off his aim at Tipper Gore, President Bush Sr. and his crippled wife.
"Cop Killer" was Body Count's first album title, delivering an insurgent brand of antidisestablishmentarianism. The highly volatile new genre of fused Gangsta Rap and Hardcore Heavy metal, Urban-Rock outfit Body Count had formed to play the role of America's most threatening and contentious recording group ever heard. Body Count was Ice-T (on vocals and production), the original line-up consisted of Ernie C (lead guitar and co-production), Mooseman (bass), Beatmaster V (drums) and D-Roc (rhythm guitar).
They originally formed in 1991 after débuting on Ice-T's O.G. Original Gangster album. The metal outfit were a concentrated high-energy band enforcing the subject matter of Ice-T's rap career in a much more graphic and direct format. They harboured the volatile debates of racism and criminality in his own South Central Los Angeles region focusing in on the LAPD and their destructive pattern of injustices. They recorded the highly-controversial track "Cop Killer" which became a well-sharpened tool of America's national political debates. It served as a focal point or main exhibit of the constitutional right to freedom of speech. Within a few months of their release, this had escalated into parent groups and advocates protesting the content of this song. They eventually bullied parent corporations who financed the recording, sending death threats to Warner Bros. executives and stockholders threatening to pull out of the company. This caused the reissue of the album, calling it 'Body Count' and removing the controversial track. The album's cover art was consequently changed and Warner Bros. were forced to drop him from the label. He answered this by stating the song was written in character and that,
"If you believe that I'm a cop killer, you believe David Bowie is an astronaut."
Return of the Real
Priority Records released Body Count's follow-up, Born Dead which continued on in a similar vein from the debut, the album would also include a cover of Jimi Hendrix's Hey Joe but sales were low, and Mooseman left the group and was replaced by Griz. Body Count's third album Violent Demise: Last Days (1997) received better reviews than their previous efforts, but sales remained low. The band soon began to unravel, Griz left the band soon after the release of Violent Demise, Beatmaster V died of Leukemia, Mooseman was shot in a drive-by in winter 2000 while working for Iggy Pop and in late 2004 D-Roc died due to complications from lymphoma, leaving only Ice-T and Ernie-C from the original Body Count line-up.
Virgin Records released his next album Home Invasion (1993), a politically-oriented album that featured a new female rapper named Grip and Ice T's longtime DJ Evil E as a rapper himself. On VI - Return of the Real, Ice returned to his gangsta rap roots. His 7th Deadly Sin (1999), one of the first records to be distributed via mp3 before appearing in record stores, continued in this vein.
In 2000, Ice-T teamed up with East Coast rap pioneer Kool Keith from the Ultramagnetic MCs to form the Analog Brothers, widely considered an artistically successful experiment. The same year also brought Ice-T's Greatest Hits: The Evidence. More recently, Ice-T formed a new group called SMG (Sex Money and Gunz) with East Coast gangster rappers Smoothe Da Hustler and Trigger The Gambler.
Ice-T has written and performed songs for many movie soundtracks including "Big Gun" for Tank Girl as well as title tracks for Colors, Dick Tracy, New Jack City, Ricochet, and Trespass (with Ice Cube.) (He starred in all of them, save Dick Tracy and Colors.) He teamed with Kid Frost to perform "Tears of a Mother" for the film No Mothers Crying, No Babies Dying.
Ice T, on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He débuted as a rapper in the films Breakin' and Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo in 1984, only two years after his first 12" ("The Coldest Rap," 1982) appeared. In 1991, he embarked onto a serious acting career, playing a police detective in Mario Van Peebles' film New Jack City, followed by a notable lead role performance in Surviving the Game in addition to his many supporting roles. He has also appeared in films such as R'Xmas by Abel Ferrara and Tank Girl. He also starred in 3000 Miles to Graceland in 2001. In more current and recent acting engagements, Ice-T plays Det. Odafin "Fin" Tutuola on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, perhaps an ironic role, considering the early controversy surrounding his group Body Count. Another TV series that features Ice-T is "Players." Ice-T also appears in the movie Leprechaun in the Hood.