This song was written in a ska/dub style similar to that of Operation Ivy, the band Rancid lead singer Tim Armstrong and bassist Matt Freeman played with in the late '80s. The lyrics in the first verse were taken from another Rancid song called "Motorcycle Ride" from their 1994 album Let's Go. The song is a classic case of lyrical dissonance, describing a kid who lives a life of crime (probably a drug runner) and is killed by a rival in the end.
Paul Jackson of the influential ska band The Uptones played the Hammond organ solo on this track at the behest of Tim Armstrong, a big fan of the group, which is also from northern California.
The video for "Time Bomb" was directed by Marcus Raboy, who's also directed clips for several mainstream artists such as Shakira, Luther Vandross, The Dixie Chicks, and Santana. Raboy has also directed rapper Ice Cube in two movies: Friday After Next (2002) and The Janky Promoters (2009).
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