Body Count (band)

Last updated
Body Count
Body Count performs at a concert in Prague, 2006.
Background information
Origin Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active
  • 1990–2006
  • 2009–present
Past members

Body Count is an American metal band formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1990. The group is fronted by Ice-T, who co-founded the group with lead guitarist Ernie C out of their interest in heavy metal music. Ice-T took on the role of vocalist and writing the lyrics for most of the group's songs. Lead guitarist Ernie C has been responsible for writing the group's music. Their self-titled debut album was released on Sire Records garnered much attention due to a controversy around the song "Cop Killer".

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles is often called by its initials L.A.. It is the most populous city in California; the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City; and the third most populous city in North America, after Mexico City and New York City. With an estimated population of nearly four million people, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean-like climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood, the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis.

California U.S. state in the United States

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents across a total area of about 163,696 square miles (423,970 km2), California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.


Body Count’s label, Sire Records, and their parent company, Warner Bros. Records, defended the single, Ice-T 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. Since then, they have released five further albums on different labels.

Three out of the band's original six members are deceased: D-Roc died from lymphoma, Beatmaster V from leukemia and Mooseman in a drive-by shooting.

Dennis Miles, aka D-Roc the Executioner, was an American musician who played rhythm guitar for the heavy metal band Body Count. Miles also played guitar for his own band, Pitch Blaack. He referred to his style as "ghetto metal".

Lymphoma hematologic cancer that affects lymphocytes that reside in the lymphatic system and in blood-forming organs

Lymphoma is a group of blood cancers that develop from lymphocytes. The name often refers to just the cancerous versions rather than all such tumors. Signs and symptoms may include enlarged lymph nodes, fever, drenching sweats, unintended weight loss, itching, and constantly feeling tired. The enlarged lymph nodes are usually painless. The sweats are most common at night.

Leukemia group of cancers that usually begin in the bone marrow

Leukemia, also spelled leukaemia, is a group of blood cancers that usually begin in the bone marrow and result in high numbers of abnormal blood cells. These blood cells are not fully developed and are called blasts or leukemia cells. Symptoms may include bleeding and bruising, feeling tired, fever, and an increased risk of infections. These symptoms occur due to a lack of normal blood cells. Diagnosis is typically made by blood tests or bone marrow biopsy.


Pre-formation (1990–1991)

Ice-T's interest in heavy metal stemmed from sharing a room with his cousin Earl, who was a fan of rock music and only listened to the local rock stations. Ice-T particularly enjoyed heavy metal, citing Edgar Winter, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath as his favorite bands. [1] Ice-T attended Crenshaw High School, where a few classmates shared his interest in the genre, including musicians Ernie C, D-Roc the Executioner, Beatmaster V, and Mooseman. Ice-T began a solo career as a rapper, and later decided to form Body Count with these friends. [1] [2]

Ice-T American rapper, songwriter, actor, record executive, and record producer

Tracy Lauren Marrow, better known by his stage name Ice-T, is an American musician, rapper, songwriter, actor, record producer, and author. He began his career as an underground rapper in the 1980s and was signed to Sire Records in 1987, when he released his debut album Rhyme Pays; the second hip-hop album to carry an explicit content sticker after Slick Rick's La Di Da Di. The following year, he founded the record label Rhyme $yndicate Records and released another album, Power, which went on to go Platinum. He also released several other albums that went Gold.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily from the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly from a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Edgar Winter American rock and blues musician

Edgar Holland Winter is an American musician, songwriter, and record producer. He is known for being a multi-instrumentalist — keyboardist, guitarist, saxophonist and percussionist — as well as a singer. His success peaked in the 1970s with his band, The Edgar Winter Group, and their popular songs "Frankenstein" and "Free Ride".

Ice-T co-wrote the band's music and lyrics with lead guitarist Ernie C, and took on the duties of lead vocalist, even though he felt that he did not have a great singing voice. [3] The original line-up consisted of Mooseman on bass, Beatmaster V on drums and D-Roc on rhythm guitar.

The bass guitar is a plucked string instrument similar in appearance and construction to an electric or an acoustic guitar, except with a longer neck and scale length, and typically four to six strings or courses.

Drum kit collection of drums and other percussion instruments

A drum kit — also called a drum set, trap set, or simply drums — is a collection of drums and other percussion instruments, typically cymbals, which are set up on stands to be played by a single player, with drumsticks held in both hands, and the feet operating pedals that control the hi-hat cymbal and the beater for the bass drum. A drum kit consists of a mix of drums and idiophones – most significantly cymbals, but can also include the woodblock and cowbell. In the 2000s, some kits also include electronic instruments. Also, both hybrid and entirely electronic kits are used.

Rhythm guitar guitar technique; part of the rhythmic pulse in conjunction with other instruments from the rhythm section

In music performances, rhythm guitar is a technique and role that performs a combination of two functions: to provide all or part of the rhythmic pulse in conjunction with other instruments from the rhythm section ; and to provide all or part of the harmony, i.e. the chords from a song's chord progression, where a chord is a group of notes played together. Therefore, the basic technique of rhythm guitar is to hold down a series of chords with the fretting hand while strumming or fingerpicking rhythmically with the other hand. More developed rhythm techniques include arpeggios, damping, riffs, chord solos, and complex strums.

Touring and debut album (1991–1992)

Ice-T introduced the band at Lollapalooza in 1991, devoting half of his set to his hip hop songs, and half to Body Count songs, increasing his appeal with both alternative music fans and middle-class teenagers. [4] Some considered the Body Count performances to be the highlight of the tour. [5] The group made its first album appearance on Ice-T's 1991 solo album O.G. Original Gangster . The song, "Body Count", was preceded by a spoken introduction in which Ice-T responds to allegations that he had "sold out" by incorporating rock elements into his rap albums by pointing out that rock music originated with African-American artists such as Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Little Richard, in addition to stating that "as far as I'm concerned, music is music. I don't look at it as rock, R&B, or all that kind of stuff. I just look at it as music. [...] I do what I like and I happen to like rock 'n' roll, and I feel sorry for anybody who only listens to one form of music." [6]

Lollapalooza Music festival in the United States

Lollapalooza (Lolla) is an annual four-day music festival based in Chicago, Illinois at Grant Park. Performances include but are not limited to alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock, hip hop, and electronic music. Lollapalooza has also provided a platform for non-profit and political groups and various visual artists. The four-day music festival in Grant Park hosts an estimated 400,000 people each year and sells out annually. Lollapalooza is considered one of the largest and most iconic music festivals in the world and one of the longest running in the United States.

<i>O.G. Original Gangster</i> 1991 studio album by Ice-T

O.G. Original Gangster is the fourth studio album by American rapper Ice-T, released May 14, 1991 by Sire Records. Recording took place from July 1990 to January 1991 in Los Angeles, California. Its production was handled by seven producers: Afrika Islam, Beatmaster V, Bilal Bashir, DJ Aladdin, Nat The Cat, SLJ and Ice-T himself, who also served as executive producer. It features guest appearances from Body Count, Prince Whipper Whip and various Rhyme Syndicate artists, such as Donald D, Evil E and Randy Mac.

Chuck Berry American recording artist; rock-and-roll guitarist, singer, songwriter

Charles Edward Anderson Berry was an American singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as "Maybellene" (1955), "Roll Over Beethoven" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music" (1957) and "Johnny B. Goode" (1958), Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive. Writing lyrics that focused on teen life and consumerism, and developing a music style that included guitar solos and showmanship, Berry was a major influence on subsequent rock music.

Body Count's self-titled debut album was released on Sire/Warner Bros. Records on March 31, 1992. On the strength of the album, Body Count toured internationally, developing a strong following. [1] When the group performed in Milan, Italy, some of the punks in the crowd began spitting at Ernie C. [1] Ice-T attempted to calm the situation by telling the crowd not to spit, but the spitting continued. [1] As the band prepared to play "Cop Killer", Ice-T identified an audience member who spit in his direction; Ice-T responded by rushing into the crowd and punching the spitter. [1] As the band began to play, some of the audience began fighting with Ice-T. Body Count escaped the crowd mid-song, and the promoter immediately shut the concert down. [1]

Outside the venue, angry audience members trashed the band's tour bus. The band hailed a taxicab, but its driver abandoned the cab when the mob surrounded the taxi, leading the promoter representing Body Count to steal the taxi in order to escape, abandoning it and their tour coats a mile away from the venue. [1] They hailed another cab, and the driver attempted to take them back to the venue until the band screamed at the driver to take them to the hotel. [1] The incident was the subject of much controversy and coverage on Italian television. The band appeared on a Milan radio station, where the disc jockey told his audience, "Some clowns tried to ruin his concert. We should be angry at them. Ice-T is a guest in our country, we invited him to do all these sold-out shows, and we love him!" [1] Several Italian fans apologized for the behavior of the Milan audience. [1]

Controversy over the song Cop Killer (1992)

The song "Cop Killer", intended to criticize corrupt police officers, encountered controversy, as it was seen as an attack against the entire police force. [3] [7] According to Ice-T, "I thought I was safe. I thought within the world of rock'n'roll, you could be free to write what you want. Hell, I was listening to Talking Heads singin' 'Psycho Killer.' Fuck it, I'll make 'Cop Killer'! But, that was the cross of metal with something that was real. Now we’re not just killing your family, we’re killing somebody so real that everybody just went, 'oh shit.'" [8]

The Dallas Police Association and the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas launched a campaign to force Warner Bros. Records to withdraw the album. [9] Within a week, they were joined by police organizations across the United States. [9] Some critics argued that the song could cause crime and violence. [9] Many defended the song on the basis of the group's right to freedom of speech. In The Ice Opinion: Who Gives a Fuck, Ice-T wrote that "The people who did have a platform were way off backing me on the First Amendment. That's not where all the anger should have been directed. The anger should have been generated back at the police. [...] Because people jumped on the wrong issue they were able to drive this thing totally through Warner Brothers." [3]

Over the next month, controversy against the band grew. Vice President Dan Quayle branded "Cop Killer" as being "obscene," and President George H.W. Bush publicly denounced any record company that would release such a product. [9] At a Time-Warner shareholders' meeting, actor Charlton Heston stood and read lyrics from the song "KKK Bitch" to an astonished audience and demanded that the company take action. [9] The criticism escalated to the point where death threats were sent to Time-Warner executives, and shareholders threatened to pull out of the company. Finally, Ice-T decided to remove "Cop Killer" from the album of his own volition. [3] [7] [10] In an interview, Ice-T stated that "I didn't want my band to get pigeon-holed as that's the only reason that record sold. It just got outta hand and I was just tired of hearing it. I said, 'fuck it,' I mean they're saying we did it for money, and we didn't. I'd gave the record away, ya know, let's move on, let's get back to real issues, not a record but the cops that are out there killing people." [10]

"Cop Killer" was replaced by a new version of "Freedom of Speech," a song from Ice-T's 1989 solo album The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech...Just Watch What You Say . The song was re-edited and remixed to give it a more rock-oriented sound. Ice-T left Warner Bros. Records the following year because of disputes over the Ice-T solo album Home Invasion , [3] taking Body Count with him. Despite the controversy, the album received some praise, including A- reviews from Entertainment Weekly and The Village Voice , who later ranked the album among their list of The 40 Best Albums of 1992. [11] Variety reported that the album had sold 480,000 copies by January 29, 1993. [12]

Continued albums: Born Dead, Violent Demise and Murder 4 Hire (1993–2008)

Ice-T performing with Body Count in 2006. Icet.jpg
Ice-T performing with Body Count in 2006.

In 1993, Body Count recorded a cover of "Hey Joe" for the Jimi Hendrix tribute album Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix . [13] The band released their second album, Born Dead in 1994 on Virgin Records. Prior to the recording of Body Count's third album Violent Demise: The Last Days (1997), bassist Mooseman left the group and was replaced by Griz. Drummer Beatmaster V died of leukemia soon after the album was completed, [14] and a new drummer named O.T. filled in the position. Bassist Griz left the band later on, and in the meanwhile, former bassist Mooseman was shot in a drive-by shooting in February 2001 after recording an album and preparing for another tour with Iggy Pop in his band the Trolls. [14] In late 2004, rhythm guitarist D-Roc died due to complications from lymphoma, leaving only Ice-T and Ernie C from the original line-up. [14]

Ice-T has stated that "For me, honestly, after something like that, you can either come to a dead stop or you can go on. [...] It was so emotional. We were in the middle of making a new record together and he goes and dies? It was like, 'damn!' Soon enough, though, everybody was like, 'c'mon c'mon you gotta do it.' It was make-or-break. The key essence of Body Count is it's a band made up of friends. It's not about going out and hiring the best drummer or the best guitarist. If we don't know you, you can’t be in the band." [8]

In July 2006, Body Count released their fourth album, Murder 4 Hire on the indie record label Escapi Music. [8] Its album cover, featuring Uncle Sam holding a cardboard sign reading "Will Kill for Money," compares the United States military to contract killers. [15] The then-line-up included drummer O.T., bassist Vincent Price and rhythm guitarist Bendrix. The band then took an extended hiatus for a couple of years; in regards to the future of Body Count, Ernie C stated, "We will carry on the band. I don't know if it will be Body Count, but in some form, Ice and I will always play together." [14]

Gears of War 3, Manslaughter, Bloodlust and Carnivore (2009–present)

On September 6, 2009, Body Count made an appearance at the Vans Warped Tour 15th-anniversary party at Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles. The group played a 20-minute set, covered Slayer, and closed with their controversial classic "Cop Killer". [16] Also on the bill were NOFX, Katy Perry, Pennywise, Bad Religion and Rise Against. Mike Sullivan of ExploreMusic caught up with Ernie C at the 2010 edition of the Vans Warped Tour. While briefly chatting, Ernie C divulged that the band was recording its fifth studio album. [17] Body Count wrote an exclusive song, "The Gears of War", for the video game Gears of War 3 , and performed it at a party promoting the game. [18]

On December 9, 2012, Ice-T announced on Twitter that Body Count would begin production on a fifth studio album in January 2013. [19] The following day, Ice-T revealed that Body Count has signed with Sumerian Records. [20] Ice-T suggested that the album was going to be titled Rise! [20] or Manslaughter. [21] [22]

On May 10, 2013, Ice-T announced that work on the fifth studio album had begun and that it would be titled Manslaughter . The album was released on June 10, 2014. [23] On May 13, 2014, Ice-T played the song "Talk Shit, Get Shot" as a teaser for the new album.

Their sixth album, titled Bloodlust , was released in March 2017 via Century Media Records. [24] On December 28 2016, Ice T posted a preview of the first single "No Lives Matter" to Twitter. Guest musicians confirmed to appear on the album are Max Cavalera, Randy Blythe and Dave Mustaine. Upon the release of Bloodlust, it was confirmed that Ice T's son Tracy Marrow Jr, aka Little Ice, is now a part of the band, performing backing vocals.

In May 2018, Ice-T revealed to Loudwire that Body Count will enter the studio around September to start recording tracks for their seventh studio album Carnivore. On the meaning of the album title, the rapper said, "It's basically: 'Fuck vegans.' We figure, anything carnivorous pretty much kicks ass. We're carnivorous! I'm not [really] saying 'Fuck vegans.' Everyone's so pussy right now, [so] we're carnivores." [25] The recording sessions began in April 2019. [26]



Ice-T's lyrics focus on reality-based themes, including gang life, because he felt it would be scarier than the fantasy-based horror themes of most heavy metal bands. [1] The band's third album, Violent Demise: The Last Days , featured album cover art depicting the hand signs of these gangs. [1] According to Ice-T, "We named the group Body Count because every Sunday night in L.A., I'd watch the news, and the newscasters would tally up the youths killed in gang homicides that week and then just segue to sports. 'Is that all I am,' I thought, 'a body count?'" [3]

When the band's debut album was released, Ice-T defined it as being "a rock album with a rap mentality." [27] Like Ice-T's hip hop albums, the group's material focused on various social and political issues, with songs focusing on topics ranging from police brutality to drug abuse. Ernie C has stated that "We were just a band that played the songs that we knew how to write. Everybody writes about whatever they learned growing up, and we were no exception. Like the Beach Boys sing about the beach, we sing about the way we grew up." [28]


Body Count's musical style derives from the dark, ominous tones of traditional heavy metal bands such as Black Sabbath and thrash metal bands such as Slayer [1] , as well as hardcore punk's aggressiveness. The band's music is described as crossover thrash, [29] hardcore punk, [30] [31] speed metal [32] [30] [31] and thrash metal. [33] [27] [34] According to Ernie C, "We wanted to be a big punk band [...] Our first record is almost a punk record." [28] The presence of a rapper in a heavy metal band has been credited for paving the way for the rise of rap metal and nu metal, [35] [36] [37] [38] even though Ice-T does not rap in most Body Count songs and considers it to solely be a rock band. [1] According to Ernie C, "A lot of rappers want to be in a rock band, but it has to be done sincerely. You can’t just get anybody on guitar and expect it to work. [...] Ice and I, on the other hand, really loved the music we were doing, and it showed." [28]



Body Count (band)


Studio albums

Album detailsPeak chart positionsCertifications
Body Count
  • Released: 1992
  • Label: Sire
  • Format: CD, CS, LP
26121825 US: Gold
Born Dead
  • Released: 1994
  • Label: Virgin
  • Format: CD, CS, LP
Violent Demise: The Last Days
  • Released: 1997
  • Label: Virgin
  • Format: CD, CS, LP
Murder 4 Hire
  • Released: 2006
  • Label: Escapi
  • Format: CD, CS, LP
  • Released: 2014
  • Label: Sumerian
  • Format: CD, CS, LP
  • Released: 2017
  • Label: Century Media
  • Format: CD, CS, LP
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that country.


YearSinglePeak chart positionsAlbum
1992"There Goes the Neighborhood"8635Body Count
"The Winner Loses"
"Cop Killer"
1993"Hey Joe"6731 Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix
1994"Born Dead"52324428Born Dead
"Necessary Evil"4145
1997"Truth or Death"Violent Demise: The Last Days
"I Used to Love Her"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.


Music Videos

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<i>Body Count</i> (album) 1992 studio album by Body Count

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Bloodlust is the sixth studio album by American heavy metal band Body Count. The track "Here I Go Again" is a re-recording of a demo track from Ice T's Return of the Real sessions. In its first week, it debuted at #3 in the UK Rock and Metal Chart. The track "Black Hoodie" was nominated for Best Metal Performance at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards. The second track, No Lives Matter, deals with innocent African-American citizens who have been killed by cops. The third track, All Love Is Lost, is about husbands who are having an affair with their mistresses behind their wives backs and features Max Cavalera on guitar and vocals. The video features actress and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star Kelli Giddish playing the role of the vindictive wife who kills her husband because he's cheating on her.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Marrow, Tracy; Century, Douglas (2011). "Freedom of Speech". Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption—from South Central to Hollywood . Random House. pp. 127–140. ISBN   978-0-345-52328-0.
  2. Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Body Count Biography". AllMusic . Retrieved 2007-10-08.
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