First a caution and warning: some rough content approacheth.
I steal. Everyone knows it. I lift anything from any blog I see, simply based on whether I like it. So it came as a bit of a suprise to my own self when I was reticent to lift this
from Reese the Law Girl's site. (Just yesterday, I been doing some catching up.) And I wasn't quite sure why I was reticent. Part of it might have been the race thing-- hey, I'm white. What biz I got broadcasting a NWA track? Maybe it was the Muppets thing-- I mean, it was cute enough, but, really, is this appropriate? Doesn't this blunt the meaning of the track a bit? (Yeah, I think too much. Haven't you been paying attention?) Or it could have been the F-word issue. (Probably not.)
In the end I lifted it because I realized what was really bugging me is that they didn't finish the track, which is a pretty silly reason to object, but here's the thing: "Fuck Tha Police" has long been one of my favorite rap songs.
Now, don't get me wrong, I don't like rap as a rule. I find most of it to be stupid and self-aggrandizing, and as a "cultural" movement, it does more to solidify and cement the sterotypes and biases that are at the root of racism than it ever has to right any wrongs. Worse yet, it works both ways. And it makes some young guys wear some STOOOOPID lookin' clothes. And no, I don't mean "stoopid" in a good way. (Although I have found myself occasionally getting jealous because, as a bald white man, I will NEVER look cool in black pajama pants and a white athletic tee.)
Still. "Fuck Tha Police" has long been my VERY favorite rap track.
Why? Partly because it really does what rap always claimed to do, which is hold a magnifying glass up to some of the rotten conditions this society places on black people, especially black men. At the time, the police, especially the LAPD, really did have that reputation for (and practiced) racially segregated harrassment. And for all the propaganda about how professional and noble cops are, I doubt there's anyone out there who's had any dealings with cops who can say they have NEVER felt harassed. (And that's if you're white.) The imagery and language start getting a bit more extreme than I think is appropriate towards the end, but then, the Rodney King riots weren't that much further down the road. Things were, in reality, approximately that bad.
It's also because of an incident from my abortive stint in grad school. First semester, second year. I had two sections of freshman comp of my very own, and a mentor who had given me permission to go off book and teach them however I saw fit. So at one point, I asked the kids (college aged students, but I always refered to them as My Kids) to bring in something they thought qualified as literature. (They were supposed to be prepared to argue as to how what they brought in fit some perameters, but most of them forgot about that part.) One young lady brought in a rap number called "Paranoid."
So I gave it a spin. It was all about pimping in the hood and selling drugs and popping caps and being scared about getting shot by the enemy or the cops (oddly, very little about the latter), and at one point the narrator bemoans his possible death, on the grounds that one of his ho's had given birth, and "If I die, my little boy will be a bastid . . ."
After the track ended, discussion ensued. The girl who brought it in, who was not just white but mountain white, could only shrug and say "I like it." I had my objections, but most of them were just my suspicion that the narrator/sonmgwriter was just a fucking liar. And a couple of things just didn't . . . OK Call me a stickler, but the guy's living or dying wouldn't change the fact that his kid was already
a bastard. And the kids conceded that this was a salient point. Class ends, bell rings, and as always a few of them stuck behind to continue the discussion as I collected my things to head back to the grad office. Just as I was saying "I mean, if you want a RAP song that's RELEVANT, try 'Fuck Tha Police . . .'"
When my mentor passed by outside the door.
I froze for a milisecond, wondering had he heard? Was he shocked? Was I in for a disciplinary action? When he took two steps back, stuck his head in the door, and said "Yeah, that's a good one!"