Peter Frampton On His Farewell Tour, Living With I.B.M. & Reclaiming 'Peter F**king Frampton'

Peter Frampton

Photo by Austin Lord


Peter Frampton On His Farewell Tour, Living With I.B.M. & Reclaiming 'Peter F**king Frampton'

On the tail end of his Farewell tour, the classic rock luminary opens up his ongoing creative renaissance, tackling inclusion body myositis one workout at a time and some of the most rewarding music friendships of his life

GRAMMYs/Sep 20, 2019 - 11:19 pm

The first thing you notice when speaking to guitar-rock pillar and GRAMMY winner Peter Frampton is what a sweet, upbeat guy he is. Calling me directly from a break on his Peter Frampton Finale—The Farewell Tour, Frampton is in cheery spirits as he recounts how Eric Clapton asked him to perform at Crossroads Guitar Festival, which takes place this weekend in Dallas. 

Frampton's own tour, his ostensible last-ever one, wraps up in mid-October, but he could always add on more dates—it just depends on his overall health.

In February of this year, the "Baby, I Love Your Way" singer revealed to CBS This Morning that he had been living with a disease called inclusion body myositis (IBM), a progressive muscle disorder characterized by muscle inflammation, weakness and atrophy. For a performer like Frampton, who has been playing guitar since he was eight years old and is best known for his early work with '60s supergroup Humble Pie and for popularlizing the "talk box" as a solo artist (among other things), a diagnosis like this could be brutal. But it's only making him work harder: In June he and the Peter Frampton Band released All Blues, a collection of grooving classics featuring guest spots from the Fabulous Thunderbirds' Kim Wilson and guitarists Larry Carlton, Sonny Landreth and Steve Morse (Dixie Dregs, Deep Purple).

And there's more music coming. When asked how this diagnosis has changed his professional life, he says frankly, "It's forced me into to not being lazy. I've never made three albums, four albums in a three-month period in all my life. It's very enjoyable to know that we can do that. I just want to do more of it. Whether it comes out or it doesn't come out, it's for me. I'm doing it for me. That's the only way an artist should work is to do it for yourself."

Below, Frampton dives deeper into his ongoing creative renaissance, his state of mind in dealing with the day to day of I.B.M. and why he's now totally fine with you calling him "Peter Fking Frampton." 

Where are you on the touring timeline right now?

Well, right now we're in our second break. We've got four days off. Then we would've had a week off, only then Eric Clapton asked me to be on Crossroads. We're doing that on Friday. That's wonderful.

I looked at the remaining tour dates. According to Ticketmaster, your final tour date is on Oct. 12. Is that actually the case? Might you add some more?

Well, this is the thing. Yes, that is the last date of the official Farewell Tour. At that point, I'm going to reassess within November how I am, how my playing is and how much my playing is being affected by IBM. First of all, I don't ever want to stop playing.

That's obvious because of my passion for so many years. They say music is my life, but guitar playing is what I do for all my life. I do not want to go out and not play as well as I can play today, if you know what I mean. Because right now I'm doing really well. I'm really enjoying playing. But things are starting to change. I have to be realistic.

Have you found that by continuing to play every day that you’ve in some ways slowed what might be a typical progression of this disease? 

I was on a plateau, we call them. But now it has started to speed up. It's such a slow moving thing. It's like watching paint dry, thank goodness. But I am noticing changes. Yes, in legs and arms. That's just the way it is. As far as there is no specific drug yet for IBM. It's the only myositis that doesn't have a drug, a known drug. I will be starting in October my first, when this tour finishes, I'm going straight to Baltimore to Johns Hopkins to start a drug trial.

Right. I'm sure that they have talked to you about what that entails, but what specifically does that look like when they say there's a drug trial for this?

I'm not a doctor, but basically they test your muscles the first visit. Then you go away and they take, it's a needle biopsy, and they send you away for three months. Nothing, you don't get the drug yet. Then you come back three months later and do the same thing to see how you have progressed in three months or what or not, or plateaued or whatever in that time. Then the second visit is when they do that. Then they give you the drug. Then it's eight months I believe on the drug. You come back and you do it again. That's when they get all the results from everybody as to progression, plateau, whatever at that point.

I also read that you do work out every day to strengthen your muscles. Is it tricky to work that into the touring schedule?

Well, it was an imperative thing for me. Whether I want to or not, every day I have someone that travels with me that it was necessary added expense. I've never had, that's like a luxury. Have a trainer on the road with you, but it sounds like very over the top. But for me it's a necessity. Health-wise it helps some, I can't tell you how much it helps exercising. It's just strengthening what you have left and confusing the IBM. Because now you're a little bit stronger than that last week maybe. You've just got to go at it full force.

Even if you don’t tour regularly—or at all—after The Farewell Tour, will you still record? Based on your output this year, I get the sense that you will.

Yes. We've done 3.6 projects right now. We have 0.4 to finish on the fourth project, which is a solo album. Then once we've done that, I think I just want to record and play as much as I can while I can with my incredible band. They are incredible as you can tell by the blues record. That's no session, well they are session players. Because if they're not playing with me, they could play with anybody. Because their that caliber of player. I'm so lucky to have them.

I know we joke but, but we would say, "Well, we've done four albums in three months, why don't we do, next is the Christmas album." I've never done a Christmas album. Maybe there'll be a Christmas album. Maybe there'll be an Easter album. I don't know at this point. All I know is I want to write and record whether they be my songs or cover other people's songs. I just want to have fun with my band in the studio for as long as possible. Yeah, that's it. I mean I have the studio in Nashville. I'm so lucky. It doesn't cost me anything to go in there, which is wonderful.

As somebody who has such a long, storied history with the guitar, do you ever feel a sense of frustration in the moment if and when your playing level isn’t what it used to be, due to the progression of IBM?

Yes, I do. Luckily, my frustration level is not high because I'm able to do pretty much everything I could do last year today. It's just getting a little bit more difficult. I'm 69. I think even Segovia, the legendary classical player, I remember he would and he would come to England and play. I remember seeing him once and he made a flub. He was in his 70s. He stopped. He put the guitar down. No, I mean he verbally put the guitar down and said, "She is not treating me well today." He made a joke about it, which I thought was so great and so positive. I know how to act if that sort of, but luckily I haven't had any really frustrating moments yet. I'm lucky.

Yes, absolutely. Backing up for a second to your recent release, All Blues, I would love to know what the genesis was of your deciding to go in this direction, sonically speaking?

Well, two-fold really. I wanted knowing what I had and knowing how it progresses, I just wanted to get into the studio as soon as possible. The easiest way to do that was to do covers. Then we had just done 71 shows last year. Maybe 50 of them were with Steve Miller Band. Steve I've known since I was 20. He came to England. I was obviously big friends with his producer/engineer, Glyn Johns, who'd worked with Humble Pie and The Stones and everything. It was all a very small circle.

I've got to meet Steve in 1970. We've been friends ever since. When we decided to go out and do a tour together, we actually ended up doing two summers together. He would ask me up to play some blues every show during his act. I really got back into it. It reminded me of Humble Pie days. That's part of my playing too. On the way home, I just said to the guys in the bus, I said, "When we get home, what do you think we take like a week, 10 days off. We just go into my studio and we do a blues album. Send me all your favorite blues numbers. Let's make a huge list and see how many we can do.”

That's what we did. We did not record that much, but in time we got a lot of tracks. We had enough for over 35 blues songs. We attempted 23, we kept, or 24 like that. There's another bunch, there's another album's worth of a blues album, but I wouldn't put that out next. Then we moved on to again, because I didn't have time to write, we did an instrumental record of covers of all different styles or whatever. Now we've done two blues albums, an instrumental album. Then I said, "I'm starting to write here guys. Why don't we go back in a couple of weeks. I've written a half a dozen songs." We went back in. We did some new stuff as well. That's the one we have to finish. It's like I say it's three quarters done, whatever. Then we'll move on to something else. But it's just, the more I play ... what's the thing, if you something you lose it?

If you don't use it, you lose it.

Right. If you don't use it, you lose it, right? The more I played, the better and longer I'll be able to play. That's why I want to go straight into the studio again when we come off the road. Maybe do another couple of 10-day sessions with my band or something. I don't even know what that will be yet. It's just so much fun to take them in the studio and create.

It sounds like this has been something of a creative Renaissance for you. Does that sound true?

Yes, absolutely. It's forced me into to not being lazy. In my later career life, now become prolific in a way that I ... I've never made three albums, four albums in a three-month period in all my life. It's very enjoyable to know that we can do that. I just want to do more of it. Whether it comes out or it doesn't come out, it's for me. I'm doing it for me. That's the only way an artist should work is to do it for yourself.

Because yes, you hope that other people will like it. But that's not the way I work. I did for a very short period in my career. It was the worst time trying to worry about what people might want from me. Instead of as always how I started was, you don't follow a trend, you make a trend by being a unique, hopefully. That's what I still maintain. I don't do things for anybody else but myself and the band. We're all on the same page. Who knows what we'll come up with.

One of the things that also struck me about just your career as a whole is the friendships you’ve formed. You’re such an affable guy. That quality seems to have birthed some really rewarding relationships and friendships in your career. Who were some of the most rewarding relationships that you can think of right off the top of your head when you look back.

Well, the first person that I met because Humble Pie first came over in '69 and we opened for Mountain. Those guys became really close friends. Felix Pappalardi, who produced Cream, I really looked up to. He was a mentor. He had a tragic end to his life, but he was someone that I really respected. He was an early mentor of mine and Leslie West, they were just good friends. They looked up the Humble Pie for that first tour. I mean the people that have meant the most to me, obviously George Harrison taking me under his wing and inviting me in to be part of the session group of these incredible players as I was leaving in 1970, '71 was a giant thing for me in my life to be accepted by all these top session musicians.

Beatles, it's tough when you're trying to work out a part for a track and you look up and half The Beatles are in the room.

No pressure.

It's intimidating, but they were such, and are ... Ringo is still one of my closest friends. I think he's someone that's, him and Bill Wyman of The Stones discovered me in this band The Preachers when I was 14. He became my older brother basically. David [Bowie], obviously, we went to school together. He was three years older than me. But we maintain friendship right until the end. Yeah, he was always, even then for the instrumental record, I told him I was going to do an instrumental record. He said, "Perfect." I said, "But I need," there was this one track, I needed a great sax player. I knew that Dave is cutting edge with musicians or was, always was. Even a sax player too, Dave. He loves sax playing. He recommended Courtney Pine from England. I called up Courtney Pine. David was even helping when I did my instrumental album.

Wow. That's amazing. Well, I’m afraid I can’t let you go without asking an obvious question. And I apologize if you’ve heard it a million times before. But the name “Peter Frampton” is a bit of a favorite to reference in pop culture, like, say, in Reality Bites, and then the obvious example of High Fidelity. I really do wonder to what extent people approach you and just say, "Is that Peter Fking Frampton?" If that does happen, how do you respond and what's your feeling around that? Do you laugh?

Well, I think one of my daughters walked out of the cinema, she was upset. So I didn't see it.

Oh, my gosh. I'm sorry.

But I said, "It's okay. It's okay." Then yes, for a while there it was, but it's still there. But after a while we started having one of our crew members dress up like the master of ceremonies at the circus and come out. He's a great character, Cody. He would go say, "Are you ready da, da, da?" Go, "Are you ready for Peter Fking Frampton?" He would announce me like that and they would go nuts. It was kind of a shock to start with, but I see it as a term of endearment.

I guess it's like the Affordable Care Act was then called by the right, Obamacare and Obama used it. It's the same thing, really.

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Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More



Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More

The Nigerian-American singer and actor sat down with the Recording Academy to talk about what inspired his latest album, 'Walk With Me'

GRAMMYs/Jul 8, 2019 - 10:04 pm

In 2015, Rotimi stepped into the New Orleans Superdome for the first time to experience the magic of ESSENCE Fest. Four years later, in 2019, the "Love Riddim" singer returned to the celebration as a performer, something he said was spoken into existence.

"Last year me and my manager had a conversation and I said, 'Listen, I'm going to be on the [ESSENCE] mainstage this year. 365 days later, we did it," Rotimi told the Recording Academy at the 25th annual ESSENCE Fest.

Rotimi, also an actor on Starz' "Power," has evolved since his last album, 2017's Jeep Music, Vol.1. The singer said he really hit home with its follow-up, the recently released Walk With Me, a project he worked hard for, putting in hours in the studio after filming on set.

"Walk With Me is the first time I actually felt like I was giving myself as an artist, and personally I feel like with everything else I have going on I wanted to show people that this is really what I do," he said. "I wanted people to understand who Rotimi is, who Rotimi was before, who I want to be and just understand my growth and the journey and my passion for what I do."

Part of why the album felt like such a representation of him is because it embodies beats of his African roots, something he said was very present growing up Nigerian-American. 

"I grew up with a lot of Fela Kuti and I grew up with Bob Marley," he said of his musical roots. "But I also grew up with Carl Thomas and Genuine and Usher, so there was a genuine mixture of who I am and what I've grown up to listen to. The actual Walk With Me project was a mixture of influences of Akon and Craig David."

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Quarantine Diaries: Joan As Police Woman Is Bike Riding, Book Reading & Strumming D'Angelo

Joan as Police Woman


Quarantine Diaries: Joan As Police Woman Is Bike Riding, Book Reading & Strumming D'Angelo

As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the music industry, the Recording Academy reached out to a few musicians to see how they were spending their days indoors

GRAMMYs/Apr 7, 2020 - 07:21 pm

As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the music industry, the Recording Academy reached out to a few musicians to see how they were spending their days indoors. Today, singer/songwriter Joan Wasser of Joan as Police Woman, whose forthcoming covers album, COVER TWO, includes tracks by The Strokes, Prince, Talk Talk, and more, shares her Quarantine Diary.

Thursday, April 2

[10 a.m.-12 p.m.] Went to bed at 4 a.m. last night after getting drawn into working on a song. Put on the kettle to make hot coffee while enjoying an iced coffee I made the day before. Double coffee is my jam. Read the news, which does not do much for my mood. Catch up with a few friends, which does a lot of good for my mood. Glad it goes in this order.

[12 p.m.-2 p.m.] Make steel cut oats with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, fresh ginger, fresh turmeric, a sprinkling of cinnamon and cardamom, and of course, coconut butter to melt on top. If you’re not into coconut butter (sometimes marketed as coconut "manna"), I’d suggest just going for it and getting it (or ordering it) and putting it on your sweet potatoes, your oats, anywhere you’d put butter. I’m not vegan but I do enjoy hearing the tiny scream uttered by a strawberry as I cut into it. 

Contemplate some yoga. Contamplate meditating. Do neither. Resume work on the song I want to finish and send today. I have a home studio and I spend a lot of my time working on music here. The song is a collboration sent to me from Rodrigo D’Erasmo in Milano that will benefit the folks who work behind the scenes in the music touring system in Italy. 

[2 p.m.-4 p.m.] I traded in a guitar for a baritone guitar right before all this craziness hit but hadn’t had the time to get it out until now. I put on some D’Angelo, plugged into my amp and played along as if I were in his band. Micahel Archer, If you’re reading this, I hope you are safe and sound and thank you immensely for all the music you've given us always. 

[4 p.m.-6 p.m.] Bike repair shops have been deemed "necessary," thank goodness, because biking is the primary way I get around and I need a small repair. I hit up my neighborhood shop and they get my bike in and out in 10 minutes, enough time to feel the sun for a moment. 

I ride fast and hard down to the water's edge and take in a view of the East River from Brooklyn. There are a few people out getting their de-stress walks but it is mostly deserted on the usually packed streets.

[6 p.m.-8 p.m.] Practice Bach piano invention no. 4 in Dm very, very, very slowly. I never studied piano but I’m trying to hone some skills. Realize I’m ravenous. Eat chicken stew with wild mushrooms I made in the slow cooker yesterday. It’s always better the second day.

[8 p.m.-10 p.m.] Get on a zoom chat with a bunch of women friends on both coasts. We basically shoot the sh*t and make each other laugh. 

Afterwards I still feel like I ate a school bus so I give into yoga. I feel great afterwards. This photo proves I have a foot. 

[10 p.m.-12 a.m.] Record a podcast for Stereo Embers in anticipation of my new release on May 1, a second record of covers, inventively named COVER TWO. Continue to work on music (it’s a theme).

[12 a.m.-2 p.m.] Tell myself I should think about bed. Ignore myself and confinue to work on music. 

[2 a.m.-4 a.m.] Force myself into bed where I have many books to choose from. This is what I’m reading presently, depending on my mood. Finally I listen to Nick Hakim’s new song, "Qadir," and am taken by its beauty and grace. Good night. 

If you wish to support our efforts to assist music professionals in need, learn more about the Recording Academy's and MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.

If you are a member of the music industry in need of assistance, visit the MusiCares website

Report: Music & Culture Infrastructure Can Create Better "Future Cities"

Hero The Band perform at the Recording Academy Atlanta Chapter Annual Membership Celebration
Photo: Marcus Ingram/WireImage


Report: Music & Culture Infrastructure Can Create Better "Future Cities"

How sound planning for a creative future in our urban areas makes all the difference for artists and musicians

GRAMMYs/Oct 24, 2019 - 01:27 am

The future, as they say, is now. And for music makers around the world, building a future for themselves often starts at home, in their local creative community and in the city where they live. While technology has expanded communication and made the world smaller, cities continue to grow, making planning for the future a critical cultural mission of the present.

To that end, a new report by global organization Sound Diplomacy titled "This Must Be The Place" examines, "The role of music and cultural infrastructure in creating better future cities for all of us." The 37-page deep dive into community planning and development highlights the importance of creative culture in what it calls "Future Cities."

"The government defines ‘Future Cities’ as 'a term used to imagine what cities themselves will be like," the report states, "how they will operate, what systems will orchestrate them and how they will relate to their stakeholders (citizens, governments, businesses, investors, and others),'"

According to the report, only three global cities or states currently have cultural infrastructure plans: London, Amsterdam and New South Wales. This fact may be surprising considering how city planning and sustainability have become part of the discussion on development of urban areas, where the UN estimates 68 percent of people will live by 2050.

"Our future places must look at music and culture ecologically. Much like the way a building is an ecosystem, so is a community of creators, makers, consumers and disseminators," the report says. "The manner in which we understand how to maintain a building is not translated to protecting, preserving and promoting music and culture in communities."

The comparison and interaction between the intangibility of culture and the presence of physical space is an ongoing theme throughout the report. For instance, one section of the report outlines how buildings can and should be designed to fit the cultural needs of the neighborhoods they populate, as too often, use of a commercial space is considered during the leasing process, not the construction process, leading to costly renovations.

"All future cities are creative cities. All future cities are music cities."

On the residential side, as cities grow denser, the need increases for thoughtful acoustic design and sufficient sound isolation. Future cities can and should be places where people congregate

"If we don’t design and build our future cities to facilitate and welcome music and experience, we lose what makes them worth living in."

For musicians and artists of all mediums, the answer to making—and keeping—their cities worth living in boils down to considering their needs, impact and value more carefully and sooner in the planning process.

"The report argues that property is no longer an asset business, but one built on facilitating platforms for congregation, community and cohesion," it says. "By using music and culture at the beginning of the development process and incorporating it across the value chain from bid to design, meanwhile to construction, activation to commercialisation, this thinking and practice will result in better places."

The report offers examples of how planners and leaders are handling this from around the world. For instance, the Mayor Of London Night Czar, who helps ensure safety and nighttime infrastructure for venues toward the Mayor's Vision for London as a 24-hour city. Stateside, Pittsburgh, Penn., also has a Night Mayor in place to support and inform the growth of its creative class.

Diversity, inclusion, health and well-being also factor into the reports comprehensive look at how music and culture are every bit as important as conventional business, ergonomic and environmental considerations in Future Cites. Using the Queensland Chamber of Arts and Culture as a reference, it declared, "A Chamber of Culture is as important as a Chamber of Commerce."

In the end, the report serves as a beacon of light for governments, organizations, businesses and individuals involved in planning and developing future cities. Its core principals lay out guideposts for building friendly places to music and culture and are backed with case studies and recommendations. But perhaps the key to this progress is in changing how we approach the use of space itself, as the answer to supporting music may be found in how we look at the spaces we inhabit.

"To develop better cities, towns and places, we must alter the way we think about development, and place music and culture alongside design, viability, construction and customer experience," it says. "Buildings must be treated as platforms, not assets. We must explore mixed‑use within mixed‑use, so a floor of a building, or a lesser‑value ground floor unit can have multiple solutions for multiple communities."

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Nearly 30 Years After Their Debut, Body Count's 'Carnivore' Is The Thrash-Metal Band's Most Fully Realized Album

Ice-T In 1993

Photo by David Corio/Redferns


Nearly 30 Years After Their Debut, Body Count's 'Carnivore' Is The Thrash-Metal Band's Most Fully Realized Album

Led by iconic rapper Ice-T, the L.A.-based seven-piece keep their socially conscious themes consistent and the music louder than ever on their seventh studio album

GRAMMYs/Mar 10, 2020 - 10:06 pm

In early 1992 Ernie Cunnigan visited the Burbank office of Howie Klein. The guitarist (who goes by Ernie C.) and the then-president of Reprise/Warner Bros. Records were listening to the upcoming self-titled debut from Cunnigan’s band, Body Count, fronted by his Crenshaw High School buddy Tracy Marrow, already famous as rapper Ice-T. Ice, with the savvy creative connectivity that guides his multi-hyphenate media career to this day, introduced his forthcoming metal band in 1991 via tracks on O.G. Original Gangster, his fourth album.

It's not unusual for high school pals to form a band. What was unusual, though, was that Body Count was a hardcore thrash metal band comprised of all-black musicians, with point-blank lyrics that were both insightful and incite-ful concerning racial and social inequities and the climate of America. Listening to the 18-track debut, Klein praised it, while voicing concern about the lyrics of "Momma's Gotta Die Tonight," a song about the matricide and dismemberment of a racist parent. Turns out it was the last track, a ditty called "Cop Killer," that should have given the executive pause. 

While Klein was and remains stridently opposed to censorship and is a dedicated free speech advocate, Body Count, per the era, was released with a parental advisory sticker (as was Original Gangster). Less than two months after Body Count dropped, Los Angeles exploded in fiery violence in reaction to the acquittal of four policemen in the beating of Rodney King, as well as the shooting death of black teenager Latasha Harlins by a Korean grocer. (The grocer was given only probation.) It was the worst possible climate for "Cop Killer," with lyrics including "Fk the police, yeah!" and shout-outs to then L.A.P.D. chief Daryl Gates, Ice's "dead homies" and King. The blowback went all the way up to then-President George Bush, and though Time Warner supported Ice-T in his fight against the song's opponents, he eventually pulled the cut from new pressings of the album.

Currently, streaming services including Spotify and Apple Music offer the version sans the group's most (in)famous song, replacing "Cop Killer" with "Freedom Of Speech" from Ice's 1989 solo album, The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech...Just Watch What You Say, edited to add samples of Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady" and the voice of political punker Jello Biafra. On YouTube, "Cop Killer" has more than 1.5 million views, with most of the comments thoughtful and positive, understanding the intentionally incendiary messages Body Count was delivering. Ultimately, if Body Count isn’t a classic record in the way that critics consider Nirvana’s Nevermind or Public Enemy's It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back to be, it’s an important and groundbreaking one. As Ice-T has said, Body Count is: "a protest record,” not the norm in the metal world, but still the way BC's songs operate today.

Indeed, 28 years later, things haven’t changed. Biafra is also on Body Count's powerful new album, Carnivore. Police actions like "stop and frisk" (the NYC law enforcement program that was proven to disproportionally target black and Latino men) wasn’t legally discredited until 2014. Body Count’s one-time bassist, Lloyd "Mooseman" Roberts III, was murdered in South Central Los Angeles in 2001 in an accidental drive-by; in the last 12 months, 126 black men were killed by guns in L.A. County, as opposed to 23 white men. And Ice-T and Body Count are still raging against the machine.

Ice-T enjoys pushing buttons lyrically, and if they’ve sometimes been heavy-handed or misguided ("KKK Bitch" or "Bitch In The Pit"), Ice-T is a politically eloquent, passionate and personal songwriter, which can be too easily overlooked given Body Count's volume-heavy metal chops and Ice's delivery, a speedy vocal style that’s been traditionally more aggro-rapping than melodic singing.  

That said, Carnivore is Body Count’s best album to date; it’s the most fully realized musically, and there’s a cohesion to the vocals and music that led Body Count bassist Vincent Price to lay out the band’s growth in a Metallica timeline: "Manslaughter [2014] was basically Kill ‘Em All; Bloodlust [2017] was our Ride The Lightningand Carnivore’s our Master Of Puppets."

He's not wrong, and though Ice-T’s more than 20-year stint as detective Odafin "Fin" Tutuola on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit has precluded lengthy Body Count tours, the buzz is loud for this seventh album.

Ice-T may be the original gangster, yet he’s patient, articulate and fervent in explaining songs and motivations to audiences and the press alike. "When I'm Gone," featuring Amy Lee of Evanescence, was inspired by the killing of Nipsey Hussle. It’s a reminder, as he says in the tune, to "tell the people that you love, that you love them now. … Don't wait; tomorrow may be too fking late."

His prolific musical social criticism and seemingly left-leaning views are thoughtful and targeted, despite the vitriol of so many Body Count songs. In the nearly 30 years since founding his revolutionary band, Ice-T observes, "I think you’ve got less racism; less people, but more avid racism. It’s unnerving to think that we’ve come so far but there’s still so far to go." As he advised in a 2017 interview, "Don’t just be angry. Know what you’re talking about so you don’t alienate someone who should be an ally."