In 1986, N.W.A. rocked the world when they popularized West Coast hip hop. However, just as soon as they took over the airwaves, they were banned from the airwaves.
In spite of being banned from most mainstream American radio stations, N.W.A. managed to sell over 10 million records in the U.S. alone. The group was active from 1986 to 1991 and for those five years, young suburban white kids got a dose of what life was like for a black man growing up in the hood.
The group’s lineup, consisting of MC Ren, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, and Ice Cube, shook the very conscious of this country when they released the song F**k the Police.
The track took the form of a jury trial in which the members all pleaded their cases against police harassment. Simply put, it was brilliant.
In three verses, the group exposed the racist paradigm of law enforcement in 1980’s America.
F*ck the police coming straight from the underground
A young nigga got it bad cause I’m brown
And not the other color so police think
They have the authority to kill a minority
Fuck that shit, cause I ain’t the one
For a punk motherf*cker with a badge and a gun
Sadly, not much has changed for the better since N.W.A. first brought this notion to the mainstream. Black Americans are arrested, prosecuted, jailed, and killed at a far greater rate than all other races; outside of Native Americans.
Almost 30 years later, N.W.A. member, Ice Cube, has changed a lot. He now has a wife and four kids, and he’s since converted to Islam, although he does not regularly attend services at a Mosque.
So where does this OG rapper stand on police brutality now?
Despite playing the role of police officer in many movies, O’Shea Jackson, aka Ice Cube has kept his stance on police brutality. In an interview last year ith AllHipHop.com, Ice Cube explained why he plays cops in movies.
I just feel like as an actor you really gotta do what you can and really you gotta be a part of good movies. If you just sit around and you’re waiting for certain types of movies, you probably really won’t work a lot. So it’s just a thing where I don’t sweat it because it’s make believe, it pays me a whole lot of money. I get to play a cop, and get paid like a movie star.
In an interview with Conan O’Brien this week, Jackson set the record straight on where he stands in regards to today’s police brutality.
“You wrote the iconic song that was a lightning rod, F the Police,” says Conan. “And you wrote it as a response so many years ago, to police brutality. And, there was almost a feeling in this country like, ‘okay,’ by people who weren’t in touch, that ‘we’ve gotten past that.’ And, that’s all we read about in the news today, is that that issue has not gone away. How does it feel that you were talking about that twenty-some-odd years ago, and it’s still ‘the issue’ right now face America?”
“It doesn’t feel good,” responds Jackson. “The issue is still relevant.”
Jackson then rationally approached the topic and calmly laid out his position. “We gotta hold people accountable, whether they’re in uniform or out of uniform. If they abuse people, we gotta hold them accountable,” he said.
But one thing has changed drastically since the days of N.W.A., and that is the invention of the camera phone. Modern technology has allowed every American with a phone to be able to hold police accountable by recording their abuse.
Jackson sees that as a benefit, and he intuitively noted that “The public shame of a cop stepping over the line is starting to penetrate these issues, these cops. Hopefully we get to some kind of understanding.”
So, while this OG may be wearing a badge in a fictional movie, not a lot has changed about him. He’s still out there, fighting the man. Hat’s off to you Ice Cube, thanks for keeping it real.