Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Freedom Of Speech.... Just Don't Diss The Police

If you go back to early 70's at a Kool Herc block party the thought of the M.C. being the front runner of their culture in years to come and even the thought of releasing records would have never crossed their minds. Then in the early '80's when many artists were coming out trying to follow the Sugar Hill Gang or Kurtis Blow's lead of getting a record deal the thought of saying, FUCK THE POLICE on a record would have been just as hard to fathom, the end of Grand Master Flash, Melle Mel and the Furious Five's video for 'The Message' with a squad car pulling up and putting them into the back seat for no reason was probably a risky move at the time. Although six short years later there were five young black west coast rappers going straight to the point, obviously i'm referring to the legendary N.W.A.and that notorious track and nothing in hip hop has been the same ever since.

There have been countless incidents of police brutality proven over the past few decades but with minimal convictions on police officers and you can just imagine the amount that never get witnessed or caught on tape. This has prompted hundreds of tracks dissing the police by rappers who have been dealing with unfair treatment by their P.D. for years and finally had the chance to put their anger on record.

After N.W.A. released 'Fuck The Police' on 'Straight Outta Compton' they have been under close watch by the F.B.I. and Ruthless Records and Priority received letters by the assistant director of the F.B.I. Milt Ahlerich stating that law enforcement took exception to the the lyrics in 'Fuck The Police' stating that their lyrics are "advocating violence and assault" against police officers. Police departments around America were sending faxes to the P.D. of whatever city N.W.A. were touring and were forced to remove 'Fuck The Police' from their playlist. The group was swarmed by off duty cops at a Detroit show after chants of 'Fuck The Police'. N.W.A.'s 'Niggaz4Life' that sold 954,000 copies in the first week and hit no.1 on the album charts was temporarily banned in the U.K. Police seized 25,000 copies from Island Records before the courts refused to destroy the records and the police had to pay some damages to cover Island's cost to get the records back to the stores. Island then sent out letters to the stores informing them on the courts decission. I couldn't believe my luck when the copy I bought over the net from a UK store had the letter in the sleeve.

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There was the unfair arrest and conviction of the late Vallejo rapper Mac Dre who was sentenced to five years for supposedly being responsible for robbing a string of banks in his area (The Crest). The police were going around questioning young black men for the robberies and after Dre released a track called 'Punk Police' giving a shout out to the Romper Room Gang and dissed the Vallejo Police chief by name the V.P.D. and the F.B.I. started monitoring his moves. A police informant that told police that the two of them were planning to rob a bank was the passenger in Dre's car on a trip to Fresno and taped their conversation, between the unproven claims by the informant and the lyrics to 'Punk Police' Mac Dre was sentenced.

LA rappers Rodney O and Joe Cooley were arrested by Santa Monica police officers while being interviewed for 'Rap Sheet' magazine. They were ordered to stay down on the ground for 25 minutes and accused of fitting the description of suspected car thieves, as one police officer put it "Well, you're black, aren't you?". Below is the article out of Rap Masters 1993 wrap up edition with more information.


Ice T's 'Cop Killer' track off of Body Count's album caused a heap of drama and resulted in him leaving Warner. After 2 Pac left Digital Underground he was arrested for jay walking by Oakland police officers, they gave him shit for his name and put him face down on the concrete and beat him leaving a scar on his cheek he took to his grave. This happened just after he released a track called 'Trapped' on his debut album '2Pacalypse Now' with a video of DJ Fuze playing a cop gets killed. The incident did give him $42,000 after he settled with the O.P.D. (He originally filed a one million dollar lawsuit.)

2Pac also got into trouble in October '93 for shooting two off duty cops. He saw the cops harassing a black guy at the side of the highway in Atlanta and got into a fight with them and of course he shot them, one in the arse and the other in the leg. The charges were dropped against Pac when it came out that the two cops were intoxicated and using stolen guns from the evidence room.

On April 11 1992 a guy named Ronald Ray Howard shot a Texas trooper in the neck killing him after he was pulled over while driving a stolen car with a busted headlight with weed and coke in his system. Apparently Ronald was a huge gangsta rap fan that had hundreds of tapes at home and was listening to 2Pac and Ganksta N.I.P. tapes.

Ronald's lawyer Allen Tanner tried using that to win the case, completely blaming gangsta rap for the death of the trooper saying "The music puts you in a quasi-hypnotic state" and "If not for that music pounding, do you think he would have killed that officer?". Pac got interviewed by the defence lawyer in prison trying to use different things Pac has said in interviews and on records against him.On January 26th '99 Ronald Ray Howard was again sentenced to the death penalty in a retrial.

Who can forget the four cops who were caught on tape for beating up Rodney King on the 3rd of March '91, After the 'not guilty' verdict on April 29th '92 L.A. was a warzone and led to a few records being made, The main one that comes to mind is Ice Cube's 'Tear This Muthafucka Up' off the 'Predator' album. Willie D also did a Rodney King track on his 'Goin' Out Like A Soldier' album the only difference was his was a diss track to Rodney King who I heard was recording a rap album a while ago?

In 1994, C-Bo was arrested and charged with illegal use of a fire arm after stopping a fight by firing bullets in the air, the fight apparently was between two rival gangs and somone was killed that night. He served 15 months before being parolled in '96 but he was sent back to prison after being arrested for parole violation for having a firearm and marijuana on him in Cincinnati. He was then released again on parole on the condition that he doesn't promote 'gang lifestyle'. He then released the album 'Til My Casket Drops' and on March 3 was charged with threatening and promoting violence against public officials and promoting gang lifestyle, criminal behavior and violence against law enforcement. One of the main quotes that was brought up from the album was "When they try to pull you over, shoot 'em in the face, y'all" from the track "Deadly Game". The charges were dropped but still remains one of the only rappers that has been jailed over lyrics, of course X Raided remains the main victim of this.

HHC May '94

2Pac - Trapped
Ice Cube - We Had To Tear This Mothafucka Up
Willie D - Fuck Rodney K
C Bo - Deadly Game


travis said...

Nice little article and thanks for the shout out.

BULLANT said...

Thanks, and no probs on the shout out, the tracks you put on your blog are fuckin' crazy, I think we have pretty simular taste in hip hop?

Keep that shit up.