We’re not against the police. We’re not against the police department, but we are against police who commit misconduct.
Rap music, especially in Los Angeles, has been known for chronicling the relationship between Blacks and the police. From N.W.A. to Ice-T, the Geto Boys to Tupac, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, rap lyrics about police brutality and even revenge against the police is nothing new.
But now there is this big brouhaha over a recently released video titled “Fuck Tha Police” calling for revenge for the fatal police shooting of Ezell Ford in South Los Angeles on August 11. The video has prompted the LAPD’s union to issue a warning to officers to be on “heightened alert and pay extra attention to your tactics and surroundings.”
Whether you’re one of them or not, a lot of people have the attitude of “fuck the police.” That is not breaking news in Los Angeles and I kind of find it hard to believe that LAPD officers are shocked over a video that says just that. I know for a fact that they’ve seen and heard worse.
Look, no one was beheaded or shot in the video. The lyrics are not going to be acted upon as command hallucinations for all who hear it to pick up arms and try to kill the first police officer they see. If rap had that affect on the people who listen to it, killing the police would be the least of our concerns given the subject matter of today’s rap lyrics. And I’ll add that using character assassination by labeling the people in the video as gang members doesn’t help the cop’s cause because after all it is called gangsta rap for a reason.
The song and the video are simply a continuation of a tradition of social commentary on the how many Blacks feel about the police. Call it freedom of expression.
How many cops have pulled up on the side of a car in Los Angeles that was playing N.W.A., Tupac, or some other artist with less than friendly lyrics about the police? The cops didn’t automatically come to the conclusion that the driver was going to pull out a gun and start shooting at them then, so why now?
Look, people display their dislike for the police in many different ways. Some people choose to put on Guy Fawkes masks, go down to police headquarters and yell and scream at the top of their lungs. Others choose to stand in the middle of the street and flip off every police officer they see. And some choose to write a rap song and shoot a video.
At the end of the day, it’s all just an expression of an attitude that is shared by many as evident on the video’s likes and comments of support on YouTube. As far as I’m concerned it’s just another day in L.A. and you’re going to always have folks screaming fuck the police, they scream fuck a lot of other things too. But for the most part, all they do is scream.