BODY COUNT came along at an advantageous time (for them) in rock culture. Not only had hip-hop started becoming mainstream, but the so-called "alternative revolution" had just started overcompensating for years of rock and roll's dominance by white males. Labels and journalists bent over backwards to give extra credence to women and minorities in rock — an admirable idea on paper, and one that may have helped even the playing field a little bit.But it also gave a lot of credit to a lot of crap. There were bands getting tons of exposure playing music which, if it'd been performed by dorky white dudes from Encino, would have been rightfully delegated to demo status. BODY COUNT's 1992 debut scored big thanks to the controversy over the song "Cop Killer", but was a barely-competent joke of an album, with bad riffing and threadbare metal stereotypes. "Born Dead" and "Violent Demise: The Last Days" were even worse, and no one cared when the band disintegrated and frontman Ice-T (who hasn't even been able to put together a respectable rap record in years) made his way to television for a successful run on "Law and Order: SVU". A BODY COUNT reunion, then, makes about as much sense as a pedophile convention at a Boy Scout camp. Sure, it's mildly funny, for about three minutes, to listen to a 48-year-old Ice-T ranting about running the streets and yowling off-key about terrorism, girlfriends, and stalking hot chicks. But even if the band could write a song to save its life — which it can't — Ernie C's guitar tone is nothing short of embarrassing, bar riffs crackling through demo-grade fuzz buried in the back of a mix that cranks up every canned drum sound and every overblown nugget of wisdom from Ice. Put simply, there is nothing redeeming about "Murder 4 Hire". Nothing. The songs are stupid, the lyrics are awful (save for one surprising stanza in "The End Game", which alone saves this piece of shit from getting a flat-out zero), the sound is astonishingly bad, the booklet is riddled with typos, the cover art is ugly. The whole project just exudes this aura of cheap don't-give-a-shittedness, pandering to depths of character that would shame the INSANE CLOWN POSSE. It's almost awesome, in a watching-a-car-wreck kind of way, that music this bad can still get released and nationally distributed, but I guess that's star power for you. Download, listen, laugh, and delete.
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