"Murder 4 Hire" (Escapi Music; 2006)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Ice-T's "metal" band returns with another collection of tunes guaranteed to offend most of the people most of the time.

Addressed on "Murder 4 Hire" are topics like murder, cheating spouses, corrupt governments, murder, false assumptions, nagging women, murder and (did I mention?) murder.

Although the oft-mentioned murder theme gets a little repetitive after awhile, "Murder 4 Hire" kinda grows on you. Sure, you've got to have a tolerance for metal rap; this is Ice-T after all. But, for the most part, the trash metal of this CD is a little infectious.

In addition, when he's not rapping/singing about murder, Ice-T makes some volatile comments here, ripping apart corrupt politicians, religious zealots and aggravating loved ones. He doesn't offer many solutions to the problems he outlines here (with the exception of the previously mentioned "murder") but his anger and frustration is palatable.

The closing number, "Mr. T's Theme," is a cool instrumental that sounds like (gasp!) somebody's theme song.

"Murder 4 Hire" isn't for everyone. Those who don't like their metal with any rap will want to stay away, as will those who don't appreciate controversial lyrics. Fans of previous Body Count records may find this one a little tamer but still caustic enough to hold their attention.

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"Live in L.A." DVD (New Media Studio; 2005)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Live in L.A." is exactly what's promised in its very simple title. It's the band, led by rapper / TV star Ice-T, kicking ass at the legendary Troubadour Theater in Los Angeles, CA. 

It's an intense, explosive performance. The guitars are brutal yet sharp like the edge of a rusty tin can lid. Ice-T, who first takes the stage dressed like Michael Meyers from the "Halloween" films, is a powerful front man who's more adept at rap than metal but still delivers an edgy, aggressive performance. And the band's unique blend of speed metal and rap metal drives the audience into a moshing frenzy. 

Those who enjoy the previous Body Count CDs will also enjoy this DVD. The live performance captured here is not only tight and furious, it's well-photographed, edited and recorded. The image and sound are excellent without being glossily perfect which, of course, would have taken away a lot of this DVD's charm.

Also included is a CD containing two new tracks from the band's forthcoming full-length album. 

I hesitate to even bring up the negative points because I'm wondering if it's just a problem with my promo version or if all the retail versions are identical. But here it is: At the blandly illustrated start menu, you only have one option: Play. And that's what it will do. Like an old VHS tape, "Live in L.A." can only be played from the beginning to the end. You can't skip from one song to the next, you can't pick your favorite song and play it. You can't even access the bonus footage (an interview with Ice-T, a photo gallery and more) without going through the entire concert first. 

This sometimes happens with promo copies and that may be the case here. Retail copies may have chapters and better navigation. I honestly don't know. Even if they don't, however, it shouldn't be a deal breaker. The performance and music here are still worth a look.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2008 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 25 Feb 2019 21:42:45 -0500.