Does Every Rapper Hate the Police?
I don't want to talk about history.
I don't want to talk about politics.
I don't want to talk about race.
I don't want to talk about socioeconomic status.
Today we are going to talk about free speech.
And we are going to talk about art.
Editor's Note: Obligatory Explicit Language Disclaimer.
Last week, Rolling Stone Magazine rolled out with this terrible take:
"When right-wing pundits change the subject to hip-hop, they're pulling from an old playbook."
by Simon Vozick-Levinson
Jason Aldean's In a Small Town lyrics:
Cuss out a cop, spit in his face Stomp on the flag and light it up Yeah, ya think you're tough
Well, try that in a small town See how far ya make it down the road Around here, we take care of our own You cross that line, it won't take long For you to find out, I recommend you don't Try that in a small town
You may say, "but, but when you watch the video or hear them in context-"
This was my succinct response on social media: "Rolling Stone is wrong again. Rappers have free speech. Death Metal singers have free speech. Jason Aldean may suck, but he has free speech too. Rolling Stone has again shown their lack of journalistic integrity and belabored the point that they’re just another partisan corporate media entity."
I am going to walk right into Simon Vozick Levinson's trap. Can you name the top rappers of all time?
Let's defer to the experts at Beats, Rhymes, & Lists for the rankings, I will add the sample COP lyrics below:
From the song Cops Shot the Kid
Cops Shot the Kid
Lyrics repeated over 50 times.
From the song Where I'm From
And government? Fuck government! Niggas politic they selves
Where we call the cops the A-Team
'Cause they hop out of vans and spray thing
From the song Changes
It's war on the streets and a war in the Middle East
Instead of war on poverty
They got a war on drugs so the police can bother me
4. Andre 3000
From the song Hootie Hoo
For the squares out there: Urban Dictionary
5. The Notorious B.I.G.
From the song Runnin' (From tha Police)
Look around, look around, punk police
Run as fast as you can, but you can't catch me
Look around, look around, punk police
Me have to blast back, 'cause they blast at me
From the song I Am
I am a ghetto nigga, you can tell in a talk
On the corner selling the snort
It's hell in New York
Won't stop for a minute cops telling you walk
From the song The Adventures of Moon Man and Slim Shady
Prayers to George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery (yeah)
How the fuck is it that so many cops are dirty? (Huh?)
Stop, man, please, officer, I'm sorry
But I can't breathe when I got you on top of me
Your goddamn knee's on my carotid artery (fuck)
8. Ice Cube
From the song Endangered Species (Tales From the Darkside)
They kill ten of me to get the job correct
To serve, protect, and break a nigga's neck
'Cause I'm the one with the trunk of funk
And "Fuck tha Police" in the tape deck
Editor's Note II: Cube was the only rapper I ever saw live in concert. Man he whipped those Lollapalooza Kids into a frenzy.
From the song Sound of Da Police
That's the sound of da police!
That's the sound of the beast!
10. Kendrick Lamar
From the song Alright
Lookin' at the world like, "Where do we go, nigga?"
And we hate po-po
Wanna kill us dead in the street for sure, nigga
From the song In Cold Blood
Cops rollin up on us, my neighborhood's like a sauna
Pistol-grippin, insurin won't nobody run up on us
But if they do, fuck 'em, we murderous nickel-dome 'em
12. Lil Wayne
From the song Mrs. Officer
And she know I get high, a-bove the law
And she know I'm raw, she know I'm from the streets
And all she want me to do is fuck the police
Editor's Note III: Now a generation ago, Rush Limbaugh made one of his biggest mistakes right here. On the Rush Limbaugh Show, he read lyrics aloud to the song Big Man with a Gun by Nine Inch Nails as an example of Gangsta Rap. Hysterically, to me, someone didn't do their homework at the EIB Network. Nine Inch Nails were hardly gangsta rappers and the gun Trent Reznor was talking about was his penis.
I know Lil Wayne wasn't threatening the police, he wanted to have marital relations with a police officer. Still illegal inside of a police car.
13. Lupe Fiasco
From the song Handcuffs
Cuffed to a bench and
They playing good cop, bad cop
One of the them pretending
14. Chuck D
From the song Hazy Shade of Criminal
Police 'posed to keep the peace
But I can't trust 'em, so I keep my piece
Editor's Note IV: I would have personally put Chuck D in the Top 3, but I haven't paid close attention to rap in a while.
15. MF Doom
Basically the whole song Police Myself
The song is actually pretty clever and insightful.
16. Black Thought
From the song Can't Stop This
And it's hard, 'cause opportunity be scared to knock
And mo' people in the 'hood found dead from cops
Than guns that drop, that sprayed off random shots
But what'cha know good, people say they in the hood fo' good
You ain't a prisoner, the world got mo' to it
17. Kool G Rap
Basically the whole song Fuck a Cop
Not clever. This song goes right for the jugular.
18. Ghostface Killah
From the song Run
Ayo, I jumped from the eighth floor step, hit the ground
The pound fell, cops is coming
Running through the pissy stairwells, I ain't hear nothin'
Buggin', only thing I remember was the bullshit summons
19. Method Man
From the song A Better Tomorrow
We want justice, police supposed to protect and serve
And then they shoot us down like wild animals The nerve of them cold-hearted killers With blue suits slaying our black youth The earth cries from all the blood that's being spilled
20. LL Cool J
Freestylin' on Instagram
Jumping up and down on police cars and vex
After Chauvin killed George Floyd, we got next
Molotov cocktails, anarchy on the set
The rich took the loot so now we loot shit
Feeling like a caged tiger that’s whipped to do tricks
That’s why I started fires and yelled and threw bricks
They tried to run me over and arrest me and shit
Editor's Note V: The list goes a 100 deep, but I think I made my point. I did want to note a few "other" rappers.
From the song Skepta Interlude
From the song All Falls Down
I say, "Fuck the police, " that's how I treat 'em
We buy our way out of jail, but we can't buy freedom
49. Killer Mike
From the song Yankee and the Brave
I got one round left, a hunnid cops outside
I could shoot at them or put one between my eyes
Chose the latter, it don't matter, it ain't suicide
And if the news say it was that's a goddamn lie
I can't let the pigs kill me, I got too much pride
And I meant it when I said it, never take me alive
94. Brother Ali
From the song Officer Down
Out with the mindset
That we can't police ourself
'cause we savages
We don't need you
You create the problems we can see through
Off topic, I thought it was funny that Kanye and Drake were so low. Killer Mike and Brother Ali should have been much higher, and, unless I missed it Beats, Rhyme and Lists does not like Diddy, I didn't see him on the list at all.
I am going to re-iterate this once again, either all artists get free speech, or no artists get free speech. We are not giving free speech only to one side of the partisan debate.
I prefer my anti-cop songs to be a bit more tongue in cheek:
Night of the Living Rednecks by the Dead Kennedys
Near the end of most of my music articles, I try to sneak in a plug for my favorite punk band Alice Donut.
You're probably saying to yourself "I bet Alice Donut never sang about the police."
From 1990's album Revenge Fantasies of the Impotent
From the song Come Up With Your Hands Out
With the Disclaimer: "This story is absolutely true-
And can be verified by numerous respected and reliable sources."
These are the words that finish both the song, and the article:
...She was grinding her buttocks against the cash machine when the SWAT team finally arrived.
A man with a megaphone says, “Come up with your hands out immediately. Put the gun down.”
Her final words were “Eat shit asshole.”
She fired two shots. She was immediately gunned down dead in a typical show of massive, sudden, and decisive force.