Body Count: Murder for Hire: DVD

I’m all for giving propers where they’re due, so I’ll start right off the bat by saying that Ice-T is easily one of the most influential and important figures in the history of rap. His early work (and that of Schooly D) provided the blueprint for future street prophets like NWA, Geto Boys, Cypress Hill, and a million others. I have nothing but respect for the man, whose albums have enjoyed much airplay in any home I’ve ever lived in and every car I’ve ever owned. That being said, Body Count has always been a terrible band, one where the sum of its parts has yet to equal something consistently worthwhile to listen to. Yes, “Cop Killer” was an important tune, and I’ll gladly concede that point; but the sad fact is the bulk of the band’s work has been uninspired at best and boring at worst. I had completely forgotten this fact until Todd handed me this DVD for review. All the other requisite parts for bringing the rock are there. The performances are great, with everybody in the band putting in work to tear the roof off whatever club they’re playing at, Ice offers up pointed political commentary and demonstrates that years of starring on a hit TV show hasn’t made him soft in the slightest. But the songs remain the weakest link—ditties that sound like they were thrown together at the last minute. The lyrics are especially bad, which is more than a little perplexing considering Ice’s rhyming skills. I’m sure the ideas that inspired “Evil Dick,” “KKK Bitch,” and “Momma’s Gotta Die Tonight” were on point, but somewhere something got lost in the transition from thought to fully realized lyrical content. There’s some entertaining stuff on here, especially a festival crowd’s reaction to Ice’s and Jello Biafra’s commentary about Bush, and it’s nice to see that the Law and Order people are supportive of Ice’s other career, but the reason one watches a music video is to enjoy the music. Sadly, I found myself skipping the tunes and enjoying the in-between stuff instead. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.intermediavideo.com)