Body Count’s Ice-T: My Daughter Can Sing the ABCs Like Cannibal Corpse
Body Count's Ice-T was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. The frontman discussed the band's latest record, Carnivore, which is packed with a wide-range of guests.
The record is bursting with surprises, from a cover of Motorhead's "Ace of Spades," which Ice-T confesses to being a bit apprehensive to tackle vocally, to metallic takes on a pair of the frontman's original rap songs.
When assessing how Body Count was able to turn those two tracks into certified metal songs, Ice-T revealed his daughter Chanel has no problem turning the ABCs into death metal, so it's not too far of a stretch to put a metal spin on rap music.
Read the full interview below.
Carnivore features performances by Jamey Jasta, Dave Lombardo, Amy Lee and Riley Gale. What appeals to you most about other artists adding their textures to your music?
I always felt the coolest part of music was jamming. People coming from hip-hop, there's different MCs getting at the mic at a club one night — everybody is just meshing together. With rock, getting another guitar player in there or another drummer is just the coolest part to me about music as a whole.
When we do a Body Count album we usually try to [write] the album first and then we kind of reach out and say, 'Well, know who's cool and who have we met over the years?'"
All the people we try to put on the records are fans of the band or we're super fans of them. We don't just put people on the record because we think they might have a big fanbase.
We find out during the year when we're getting ready to make records people are like 'Yo, man, I want to be on your new album — anything you guys want, call us.'"
I met Riley out on tour and I just dug the hell out of Power Trip. They play big, heavy riffs like us and it was just a matter of time and the next thing you know we've got "Point the Finger" and it was just natural. The way the record comes together it's just a natural — we're singing about the police and this was his idea. It killed.
Body Count, "Point the Finger" (Feat. Power Trip's Riley Gale)
On paper, Amy Lee from Evanescence collaborating with Ice-T to memorialize Nipsey Hussle sounds curious, to say the least. What makes it work?
Well, it starts off with me wanting to write a song to commemorate my homeboy and when he passed they had a memorial for him that sold out the Staple Center in two hours. My brain was like that's great but could Nipsey have sold out the Staple Center in two hours [when he was] alive.
Once people die all of a sudden this wave of support comes but what about when someone is alive? That's why I wrote this song — don't wait until I'm gone to tell me you love me.
They call it giving people their flowers while they're here so I do the song and I think the song is hot. Then [bassist] Vincent Price was connected somehow through one of the guys that work with our band to Amy and then Vince called me and goes 'I got Amy on the song.'" I go, 'How the fuck did you get her on the song? How did that happen?' He goes, 'Don't worry about it.'
I go, 'I want to hear it,' and when I heard it I was like, 'Dear God.' She just took the song to another level and then she wrote me this really deep email where she said she had lost somebody too soon and it was a real song for her. So, you have two artists singing from their heart about something and that's why I think the song just came off so good.
I've never actually met Amy Lee in person, but I'm a fan of her band and, obviously, she's a fan of us and it just worked out.
Body Count, "When I'm Gone" (Feat. Evanescence's Amy Lee)
Carnivore reconfigures Ice-T originals "Colors" and "6 'N the Mornin'" as metal tracks. What makes your songs adaptable to different styles and different genres?
I think you can turn anything metal if you really listen to it and go for it. My daughter sings her ABCs like Cannibal Corpse. She can belt them out and growl, so I think you can do anything like that. The reason we did 'Colors' and '6 'N the Mornin'' is because when Body Count performs, there's always someone in the audience yelling out an Ice-T song — 'Do 'Colors!'' 'Do '6 'N the Mornin'!'' But we never had it in the set list.
We decided this year we would just do the songs just so we would have them and then when we started to figure out what songs would make the album, these songs were favorites of the people who we let listen to the album. So they made the cut [even though] they were really done just so we would have those songs to play live.
There's a cover of Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" on Carnivore. How did Lemmy affect you, not only as an artist, but also as a person?
I was fortunate and I got to meet Lemmy. I worked with him on a song called "Born to Raise Hell" for a movie called Airheads.
Lemmy's Cameo Appearance in Airheads
When you meet people like Lemmy, you know you are meeting an original. I've always modeled myself as being somebody that's original — this is how I am. There are certain people that are originals to me. Alice Cooper, James Brown, George Clinton, Ozzy Osbourne — certain people are just who they are and they're going to be that way until they die.
So, when I met Lemmy, I'm like, 'Okay, he's authentic as fuck,' and I really dug his energy. Now people are like, 'Where's your [Motorhead] influence?' If you listen to the song 'Cop Killer,' that's Motorhead. The opening guitar parts [in "Ace of Spades"] give you that feeling like you are on a Harley going down the freeway at 80 miles an hour — that's Motorhead.
So what we started doing is giving tributes on the Manslaughter album when we covered Suicidal Tendencies. On Blood Lust, we did Slayer and so Lemmy passed and I thought it was right to give him a tribute so I did my best to sing 'Ace of Spades.'
The crazy thing was when I decided to do 'Ace of Spades,' that was a no brainer. Then the band played it, then I realized that I had to sing it. I never even thought about that. And I'm like, 'Oh my God, I've got to sing this.'
I'm not the greatest singer and thank God Lemmy's not Celine Dion and I was able to pull it off.
Your lyrics have always been designed to instigate thought and awareness about social issues. In what ways do you think you've affected social change?
My main thing that I've always been against is racism. I've always been somebody who says that if we sit down and stop for a minute, we've probably got the same enemies. I think people want to divide us over religious lines, geographical lines, color lines, sexual lines — we want to divide us.
We all can't be on the same page and if we sit back and we talk, we'll find out we're more on the same page than not. Of course, there are people that are totally on the other side of the fence, but I think there's more of us that would like to get along and make this world someplace where we can live together.
That's been my thing and I think,I've done a good job. Hip-hop as a whole has the race together. Music as a whole really has done more for race relations than anything. When you are a rock fan and you like Motorhead and you may not like Body Count, then you see me do a Motorhead cover and then you see my fans join with your fans, that's a big moment.
I remember when I went out on Lollapalooza and me and [Jane's Addiction singer] Perry Farrell used to sing 'Whitey' by Sly Stone together — that was a moment. I've always tried to shut down walls of racism and bigotry. I think that I've done what any one person can do in fighting that fight.
Thanks to Ice-T for the interview. Follow Body Count on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and get your copy of the band's latest album, 'Carnivore,' here. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.
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