Written by Fantasma el Rey
Ice-T is truly a household name today with his acting spots in movies and on television, not to mention his role as icon of rap music and street toughness. Live In Montreux turns back the clock to 1995 when Ice-T had two major music projects burning bright. He had his established rap career and his fledgling and very controversial heavy metal band Body Count which made headline new with its “Cop Killer” ditty. On this two-disc DVD set we get to see Ice-T in full effect as a rap hustler spitting fire and Ice as he runs down a list of some of his best-known rap tunes.
Ice-T has a sound all his own, being able to deliver his lyrics with an aggressive attack while DJ Evil E drops mellow, funky beats behind him. It’s a combination that works well and has become Ice-T’s distinct style. Ice can move and command a crowd with the best of them getting in the audience’s face at points and calling them on their lack of enthusiasm. All the while he gets his words and his point across demanding to be heard without having to say, “hey, motherfuckers, look at me.” And the word “motherfucker” is one of his often-used favorites.
The Montreux set consists of many tunes off the Power album, which has been a favorite of mine for years. Yes, the under-aged Fantasma learned a lot from the New Jersey-born, Los Angeles-bred, former gang member/ pimp/street hustler and U.S. Army soldier turned rap-world icon. I learned the art of commanding your curse words and how to use them best in certain situations. Ice-T runs through such “Power” tunes as “High Rollers,” “I’m Your Pusher,” the title track, and the always fun “Girls L.G.B.N.A.F.” “High Rollers” and “Pusher” find Evil E laying down solid beats filled with funky guitar, bass, and horns sampled from ‘60s and ‘70s funk/soul classic such as Curtis Mayfield’s “Pusherman” and “Theme From Superfly.” And if you don’t know what “Girls L.G.B.N.A.F.” means, I’m not going to tell you. You’ve go to hear for yourself.
Other songs performed include tales of street life like his first hit “6 N The Morning” and “Peel Their Caps Back,” a violent tune about retaliation and its pointlessness as well as the autobiographical “I Ain’t New Ta This” and “That’s How I’m Living.” “Living” is a true autobiography in rhyme as Ice sets to lyrics and beats the story of his birth, upbringing, street life, military stint, and finally his climb to the top of the rap ladder.
Interesting in Ice-T’s live show is a thing he likes to call “Virtual Reality,” a bit in the show where “one minute you’re watching, the next you’re part of it.” Here Ice brings up four lads and gives them a chance to rock the mic and get the crowd moving. If they can’t, well Ice throws them back into the mob. A couple of kats do all right but the “winner” winds up making an ass out of himself and somewhat pissing off Ice and gets tossed back into the crowd.
Ice also calls on the ladies to come up and shake their “thang.” Hilarious for the fact that Ice and crew bust a move with the “bitches” before confessing that they all suck and need to get the hell off the stage. Ice then closes the set with a medley of his best-known tunes, “Original Gangster;” “New Jack Hustler” from the film New Jack City which he had a part in; and Colors, the title track from the movie of the same name.
Amusing and entertaining indeed. For seventy minutes Ice-T has the crowd in the palm of his hand and closes the show with a hint at the second half of his set: a performance with his rock/metal unit Body Count. But alas, my fiends, it is not to be as there is no performance on this disc by said unit. What makes the letdown complete is disc two’s “bonus footage” of Body Count in action. “Dis” two is packed with home movies of B.C. on stage filmed from backstage with shitty sound and bumpy shots, rounded out by behind-the-scenes home movies of Ice and B.C. making music videos for B.C. songs and messing around at Ice’s pad shooting hoops.
I was pissed at this point. The majority of the bonus footage would have been interesting if we had been shown the B.C. half of the Montreux show. Instead we get bad footage of a B.C. set from somewhere around 2003. Seriously, what the fuck is this about? Is a Body Count set coming soon with Ice-T bonus footage? I’d love to have the second half of the Ice-T set with Body Count. The Body Count live DVD should have the extras given here and this should be a single disc release. So other than disc two’s letdown Ice-T’s Live In Montreux is a good single disc by a rap master at the height of his game. Fans of all ages will enjoy seeing Ice-T perform and raise hell.