By Mogan Brown
Summer 2014 is officially upon us, and with it has come what I am declaring the Official Summer Jam.
This is the type of banger you hear from open windows and passing cars, as well as in Target while buying sunscreen and PBR. The type of constant you can find familiarity in when black out drunk. You may not know where you are or what day it is, but you sure as shit can raise your drink when it comes on, and let out a collective “Whooo! This is a thing I know!,” amongst your fellow drunks.
Yet while Summer Jams are typically merited on their combination of equal parts pop hook and booty shaking riddims, this year’s Jam (that you’ll no doubt be dancing with your grandma to at your cousin’s wedding) relies more on aggressive homicidal threats presented in a completely literal matter to get the people going.
Hence I bring you Body Count’s “TALK SHIT/GET SHOT.”
For those unfamiliar with the group, Body Count is the heavy metal band fronted by the Original Gangsta himself, Rapper and star of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Ice-T. Most notable for the political Right’s figurehead for censorship via Charlton Heston’s 1992 reading of their song “Cop Killer,” the group became an example of how the world would go to hell if Bill Clinton were elected president. Forming around the same time, Body Count combined raucous heavy metal with phallically aggressive Gangsta Rap lyrics; the two things that equally terrified White America while completely enthralling their children as the coolest things ever.
Body Count’s self-titled album became the center of controversy during the world shifting of the early 90’s. Heston’s speech on moral decency wasn’t just hilarious because it featured “I got my sawed off/ I’m gonna bust some shots off,” by the voice of both Moses and the National Rifle Association, but it became what was considered a valid argument that such filth talk should only be taken literally. It’s obvious powers would eventually brainwash the youth and turn them into a populous of nocturnal, skin eating zombies, transforming our future into a desolate wasteland…one that could only be saved by the Omega Man himself, who got there soon enough to give us the heads up.
These days Ice is known more for his acting on Law & Order:SVU, his authority on the Pimp Game and his love for his cartoon prostitute-resembling wife Coco than for his musical career. That makes it easy to forget that Pre-Body Count Ice was literally the first Gangsta Rapper.
His 1986 album “Rhyme Pays” was the first ever rap record to feature the newly instated Parental Advisory sticker, and his performance of the theme song to the Bloods/Crips documentary “Colors” is what most law enforcement divisions base their knowledge of gang activity to this day.
Put it all together and you have a man who wouldn’t be completely out of place at a cocktail party or on stage during a group encore with Pennywise. He’s almost like a modern day Shel Silverstein, or the guy in those Dos Equis commercials; a man about town, always with something interesting to talk about.
But Ice won’t let his legacy be buried behind fictional police procedures or kangaroo makeup. Ice IS the Godfather of the streets, lest you forget that. And thats why he’s declared martial law on trash talking internet trolls. You see, Ice is a gangsta of the old school. In his day, thugs didn’t get into tweet wars over whose verse was the dopest or who’d had copulated with Rihanna last and complain about it to TMZ.
And that’s the simple theme of the song. Just like “Ape Shall Never Kill Ape,” Ice’s law is simple: You Talk Shit. You Get Shot.
The video opens with a comedic skit of a neighborhood dumbass talking shit about Body Count in a manner so wonderfully simple, that I demand Comedy Central give him his own show immediately. Out of nowhere, Ice appears on the man’s smartphone like Bloody Mary and begins physically choking him, not unlike the scene in the 1990 film “Ghost Dad” when Bill Cosby does the same to a heavy metal dude who phrases his request to speak to his daughter as, “put the bitch on the phone.”
Ignoring the fact that we the audience were denied the gunshots we were promised in the title in lieu of something more supernatural, we are then transported to a damn mosh pit, the type most of us will remember from countless music videos of yore.
“N***as ain’t blew up the spot in a while. Mothafuckas ain’t got shot in a while,” Ice laments. See, he’s an old fashioned guy. He takes his hat off when a woman enters a room, he likes his whiskey neat and and believes that insults should be met with murder. Back in his day, it was social understanding that rumors and opinions of disrespect would be automatically be met with a hail of gunfire, most commonly from a moving vehicle.
But as the years have gone by, the classic West Coast Drive-By have become all but forgotten, and Ice intends to rectify that. In this modern day of Internet Trolling, it’s become so customary for individuals with truly no opinions at all to chronically post negative comments on just about any subject simply as a means of self preservation and under the protection of the anonymity allowed by the internet.
No more, says Ice. No more.
The video portrays this straightforwardly, devoid of metaphor or symbolism. We see a gentleman dressed in slip on shoes and shorts, Hawaiian shirt open over a t-shirt proclaiming “Vegan,” wearing Great Gatsby glasses and a fedora, all while riding a skateboard, cup of coffee in one hand and smartphone in the other. Already, this man has been marked for death for his gentrifying of Brooklyn and crimes against fashion, but Ice has a point to make, allowing the man to live just long enough to commit his crime.
The urban twirp wastes his last few breaths hashtagging his dislike for Body Count with a self satisfactory smirk, perhaps the inspiration for his ironic mustache/soul patch combo which so naturally accentuate his pursed grin into resembling a cat’s butthole.
Then the van appears. Ascending from the heavens comes Ice’s Angel’s of Death, swarming in like the Deus Ex Machina to cleanse the universe of this coward and his bullshit non-opinions. As they open fire, we reflect briefly on this man being executed for his opinions, shot down like Willem Dafoe in Platoon sending his last tweet. But this man is no martyr.
While Ice has for years championed free speech, these yellow bellies have nothing to say. These people rot our world like a dead animal in a crawlspace, and Ice’s maintence men are here to deal with it. They are doing God’s work.
The video goes on to show the streets being washed with the blood of the curmudgeons at large.
Two fashionistas at an outdoor cafe writing negative blogs on a laptop. DEAD! A nondescript business man trying to impress a lady with his tablet. Swiss cheese! It should also be noted that the woman in the last scenario is allowed to live, merely a bystander and therefore not a guilty party.
Had this been twenty years ago, she would most definitely be shown running into the arms of Ice-T due to his pure sexual bravado, instead of merely escaping this street of death. I feel this implies that while his ideals may have stayed the same, and in lieu of proclaiming it directly, this subtle action is his way of saying that Ice truly does love Coco.
While a song that not only glorifies violence, but downright demands it, may seem to carry an overall menacing tone, it’s really the most positive pop song since The Youngbloods urged, “C’mon People Now/ Smile on Your Brother.”
Think of it less as a celebration of public murder and more about the purging of accepted negativity from society. We need to quit tolerating the rampant Haterism we encounter every day that bears no consequence, which will continue to ruin days and prevent us from living our lives until these loudmouth jackoffs start being slaughtered in the streets.
Thanks for keeping it real, Ice. The Summer of 2014 is gonna be awesome.