brutality in the US has been a vice that has generated some considerable amount
of contention among the law enforcers and the citizens in the US. This article
will strive to examine five rap songs that address the issue. It is understood that
protest music and songs against the vice of police misconduct have been a
tradition even before the inception of hip-hop. Music has always been a conduit
for the expression of dissatisfaction that comes from the public with police
brutality and misconduct (Osumare,
That is from J.B. Lenoir’s “Alabama
blues” way to Rick James “Mr.
Policeman” in the year 1981. As the music built up to become a major cultural
force, the artists were more outspoken and unafraid to speak out on anything
concerning the problems that the societies faced. Some of the most common songs
for this article review and analysis include the following; Geto Boys – Crooked
Officer of 1993, 2Pac’s Trapped of 1991, LL Cool J’s Illegal Search of 1990,
O.C’s Constables of 1994 and Main Source- Just A Friendly Game Of Baseball of
1991 (Belle, 2014).
response of Geto Boys to police brutality was a step further than the song of
N.W.A, ‘Fuck the Police’ this song can be seen as a precursor to the infamous
song of Ice T, ‘Cop Killer.’ Although it uses a language that is intolerant, it
brings the idea home. That is because of the high degree of freedom of speech
that the citizens of the US enjoy. Some lines of the song’s rhymes run this
” Mr. Officer, crooked officer/ I
wanna put your ass in a coffin, sir / Cause you done fucked with niggas like
myself for too long / It’s time to grab my motherfucking nine and get it on…”.
mocking chorus sang by Big Mike ascertains the kind of appropriate response to
police violence and racial profiling against the young African American males.
Some of the pieces of LL Cool J’s Illegal Search of 1990 are like the
“What the hell are you looking for?
/ Can’t a young man make money anymore? / Wear my jewels and like freak it on
the floor / or is it my job to make sure I’m poor?”
Like the song Geto Boys, the rap song to uses
intolerant language to demonstrate the kind of disgust and feeling the
musicians want to address.
the artist is nowadays popular for his acting career and his celebrity standing,
he remains to be an icon of hip-hop. 2Pac’s song, ‘Trapped’ is another
masterpiece of the artists expressing their feelings on the issue of police
brutality. The song runs like this,
“They got me trapped / Can barely
walk the city streets/ Without a cop harassing me, searching me/ Then asking my
identity/hands up, throw me up against the wall / Didn’t do a thing at all…”.
2Pac addresses the vice
rather directly without blurting out his feelings using intolerant language. In
his song, ‘Trapped,’ 2Pac narrates in details the plight of the citizens,
especially the blacks, on the hands of police. He provides the perspective to
the most sung out theme of police brutality. This song is still relevant from
1991 to date. That is quite unfortunate considering that the relevance could be
a pointer that the vice is still dominant.
The main source delivers yet another
song about the menace of police brutality. With some of the lyrics going,
Aww shit, another young brother hit/ I better go over my man’s crib and get the
pump/cause to the cops, shootin brothers is like playing baseball / And they’re
never in a slump…”
The source uses a rather different approach to
address the problem and to express himself. For instance, in the clever track,
Large professor incorporates the baseball game as a satirical simile to show
and talk about “another national sport” that is, the harassment of young
African American males by the police. The source portrays the fact that the
vice has been perpetual to insinuate that it is sort of a sport to a certain
clique of people. O.C’s Constables of 1994 also offers another typical tale of
the unjustified police brutality with a hook of KRS. A sample of the lyrics
goes this way,
“They clocking, shocking and knocking me/
Wantin’ a reason for whocking me/ But aint committin’ no crime/ Soon as they
stopping me O.C. roll if a dolo went solo / Cop car come screechin in my
presence is a second yelling “Freeze!…”.
Jay Z is also not left behind, but his 2004
track of 99 problems addresses the vice. In the lyrics, the rapper demonstrates
that the main reason for the police stopping blacks is because of the supposed
low social status that they have in the society. Jay Z portrays that the fact
that a person is young and black, he is treated less of a human by the police.
the songs that have been analyzed above, the analysis is persuading of the fact
that rap songs are the most common genres that are used to address the problem
of police brutality. One of the reasons is that rap hip hop songs provide the
liberty of addressing some of the issues that the society have to battle with,
without the limitation of the language used. Most of the lyrics in the rap
songs above are written in a bold and rather abusive or intolerant tempo (http://blogs.longwood.edu/turnurejr/2013/04/29/hip-hop-vs-the-police/).
article titled, ‘Hip-Hop vs. The Police demonstrates the issue most openly. The
article purports that the on-going war between the rap music and the police
have escalated into war. This was going on for decades. The antagonism and war
between the two parties have been demonstrated and expressed through the
hip-hop rap songs. The hip-hop genres rely mostly on imagery about war,
characterizing the police as an occupying force. However, Tupac Shakur has been
able to take a different approach to the issue. Although the artist strives to
talk about the problem at hand, he does it in a more peaceful manner.
Stereo Williams also comes up with an article
entitled, ‘hip-hop’s History with Police Brutality: Why We Should Live in the
now.’ Williams brings on board the fact that the contemporary rappers have
taken the task of addressing the brutality of police; the question that lingers
is whether they are qualified to do so. That is because hip-hop has morphed
from being a credible source of information to become a source of hype and
venting. However, he gives credit to the contemporary artists that they are
still addressing issues in the society but rather in a different way, mixing
hip-hop with entertainment.