BODY COUNT FEATURE
tom THE HI
collaborations between rock bands (Slayer. Faith No More, Sonic Youth and Therapy?
among them) and rap acts (including House Of
Pain. Onyx. Cypress Hill and lee-T). Whether black rappers were reluctant to dally with a ‘white’ musical genre is a moot point (Ernie C says that there was no resistance in the die-hard rap community to the logic of the Body Count project). yet there was this inexplicable delay. considering how mutually reinforcing rock and rap patently are. before the crossover potential was fully explored.
Eventually. in April 1992. came Body Count. with a whole album of the politics of the black underclass repackaged into a driving, pumping, authentically rocking hardcore. The Wayne’s World white geeks in the ’burbs could get into this. Over to ‘The Real Problem’. one of the soundbites that dot Body Count’s album: ‘The problem isn’t the lyrics on the records, it’s the fear of the white kids liking a black artist. But the real problem is the fear of the white girl falling in love with the black man.’ A weak excuse for the frankly pathetic
‘We’re different from Living Colour - the only similarity there is that we’re black, if that’s a similarity. The music’s totally
different. Some of the attitudes are different. Ours is more street. I think we’re a totally raWer bandﬂ
‘KKK Bitch’. but a neat summation of Body Count’s democratic manifesto.
‘Discrimination in music. it goes on all the time. Separation. Everyone’s always trying to categorise music. Even us. They always say that we’re a ‘black rock hand”. But we’re the same as Henry Rollins and everyone else. it just so happens that we’re black. But you don’t have to put that in front of the music. because that doesn't have a colour to it. The only reason people can tell we’re black is just by the issues we talk about in the music — we looked at music from a different standpoint. Like. we’re different from Living Colour - the only similarity there is that we’re black. if that’s a similarity. The music’s totally different. Some of the attitudes are different. Ours is more street. I think we‘re a totally rawer band.‘
This is where Body Count score heavily. Theirs is scarey. scarring. visceral rock. Rock to mosh to and think about. The lyrics and the image are almost like a caricature. heavy-handed and more laughable than disturbing. Ernie C calls the first album “a South Central opera’.
To wit. lavish. over-the-top and exaggerated. The second album. which they begin recording in LA in the new year. over two years since they finished the first one. is to be called Born Dead. ‘That has to do with the kids that are born at the bottom. without a silver spoon in their mouth that rise above that. Or the kids in Somalia that are born dead and we have to help them out. It’s just a concept.’
And. it seems. autobiographical. Body Count are a triumph over adversity. Hard-rocking muthas whose background (musical and social) is their bedrock. A thrash-metal band vilified for having an agenda when most other (white) rockers spout macho bullshit that. if not actually. racially/sexually offensive. is offensive in its sheer vacuity. Sticking to their guns and getting straight to the point. Body Count are the real article.
’Compromise isn’t part ofthe deal.’ says Ernie C. ‘We’re totally committed. There’s so many people that believe in just getting the messages across — the racism message. the anti-drugs message. You gotta be committed to that kind of thing. you just can’t abandon that ship. Cos there’s no one else that’s gonna lead it.’ LJ
Body Count play The Forum, Livingstone, on Sun 19 and Barrow/and, G/asgmv on Mon 20.
The List 17 December l‘)‘)3 —l3 January l‘)94 11