Ice-T's hardcore band have been around for some years now, and they are still famous for one thing more than any other. The song Cop Killer caused a furore when it was initially released on Body Count's debut album. Eventually the song had to be removed, and the artwork for the album changed. It is this more than anything else that Body Count are remembered for.
Since the release of that album no fewer than three of the original members of the group have passed away either through illness, or drive by shooting (an illness that at one time almost appeared to be localised in South Central Los Angeles). Live In LA sees a newly formed Body Count hitting the stage in 2004 in a memorial show for their fallen members.
From the opening chords of Body Count's In The House through to the closer Mama's Got 2 Die 2 Nite the pace is nothing short of feverish. Instead of syncopated vocals and hip-hop beats, this is a full on Hardcore show. This being Ice-T's take on Hardcore means that occasionally there are breaks in proceedings for such things as guitar and drum solos (much more the preserve of a Metal show), but for the most part this is very much a heads down, what you see is what you get performance.
The camera work is fairly shoddy and at times, the sound lets it down (the drum solo can only be described as two minutes of flam) but the power of the band comes shining through. Those of you familiar with the videos that Flipside used to put out (Minor Threat/Minutemen in particular) will feel a twang of recognition in the presentation.
Almost all of Body Count's career is represented during the show, so there are often contrasts between the overtly political (There Goes The Neighbourhood) and the humorous (Evil Dick). Of course Cop Killer is here as well, and perhaps tellingly, it is at this point that the crowd really erupts.
Also on the DVD is an interview with Ice-T himself, which for the most part is fairly innocuous. Ice does raise pertinent points though, such as why there have been no real all-black Hardcore bands since Body Count. He also discusses a forthcoming album, which satirises the direction towards bling, and fake gansta poses that hip-hop and rap have taken.
In doing so he pretty much answers his own question. If you had a choice between playing dingy clubs and lugging your own gear, or driving around in a Merc and hauling gold jewellery around which would you take? His point is valid of course; it is a shame that there aren't more bands like Body Count, Bad Brains or Fishbone around. Hardcore is a political movement, and Black American youth need a real voice now more than ever.
What it all boils down to though is one question: the Body Count DVD, does it rock? The answer is: Yes.