Friday, July 27, 2012

Ice T's 'NRA'

With the Northern base closures in the years after the Cold War, it was inevitable that the great Metal vs Rap (the real hardcore stuff) would be something to discuss in public school.

Ice-T, in the news for defending the tradition of preparing to defend life and property, was the first cross-over as I recall it.  I am not talking about the always dubious Anthrax covering a song with Public Enemy (or the crossover Aerosmith did with Run DMC ), but actually making the attempt, as a "rapper" in writing something metal-core.

“Cop Killer” isn’t very good as a record, but when one tired of Headbangers Ball, and put on the earphones for the local radio, Heavy Metal From Hell and heard the first licks of Bodycount, and Ice-T’s narration:

You know, sometimes I sit at home, you know, and I watch TV
And I wonder what would be like to live in some place like
You know, The Cosby Show, Ozzie and Harriet
You know, where Cops come and got you cut outta the tree
All your friends died at old age
But you see.. I live in South Central,
Los Angeles
And unfortunately... SHIT
You try to ban the A.K. 
I got ten of 'em stashed  
With a case of hand grenades

, anyway, it was pretty good to have a crossover.

I mentioned to a ‘rap’ friend that Bodycount was a legit song, and he passed me his copy of Original Gangster—I didn’t really get it, but the use of the Halloween theme on a tune was cool. 

“And I ask myself who has the power
The whites, the blacks, or just the gun tower?”

Charlton Heston, with National Review and NRA bonafides, was livid as a Time-Warner stockholder when he learned of Cop Killer, and that pretty much finished off Ice T the musician.  He later went to work for the Man on Law and Order.

Heston had a point; maybe Ice T did then too.  Heston didn’t mention anything about Slayer, also on Time-Warner, pushing the then multi-media popular theme of serial killer chic.

And things have worked out as they have.
Alice in Chains, on their first album Facelift, offered‘We Die Young’ to a question Ice T did not ask. 

“I'd just temporarily moved in with Susan Silver because Sean and I had just had a fight. So I was riding the bus to rehearsal and I saw all these 9, 10, 11 year old kids with beepers dealing drugs. The sight of a 10 year old kid with a beeper and a cell phone dealing drugs equaled "We Die Young" to me.” Jerry Cantrell, Alice in Chains.

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