Ice Cube appeals to ‘good cops’ in new protest song
Nearly three decades after shocking America with “Fuck tha Police,” rap legend Ice Cube is back with what he calls a 2017 version — an appeal to “good cops” to lead.
The gangsta rap pioneer, now also the star of Hollywood action films, is releasing the song on a 25th anniversary edition of his album “Death Certificate” which comes out on Friday.
“Good Cop Bad Cop,” one of three new tracks on the reissued album, salutes the Black Lives Matter movement that has emerged in recent years in response to several high-profile killings of unarmed African Americans by police.
“Good cop, good cop, where is your dignity? Where’s your empathy? Where is your sympathy? Bad cop — where’s your humanity?” Ice Cube raps over a mid-tempo bass-line interspersed with horn climaxes.
“Fuck tha Police,” released in 1988 by Ice Cube’s former band N.W.A., caused a sensation at the time and remains highly controversial with US police groups objecting to its blunt message.
The song comes from the perspective of young African American men in impoverished parts of the Los Angeles area who are angered by police harassment.
“Good Cop Bad Cop” revives lines from “Fuck tha Police” that single out for criticism African American police seen as giving cover to white officers.
Ice Cube, 47, said he wanted to create a contemporary version of “Fuck tha Police” after seeing the box-office success of the 2015 biopic about N.W.A., “Straight Outta Compton.”
“We realized that it’s still the same thing that’s going on, so to me we needed a more up-to-date version of the community talking to the police and to authorities,” he told Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio.
“The first line of defense for us is for good cops to get these bad apples out the bunch, because they’re sucking all the respect that the police used to have,” he said.
Released in 1991, “Death Certificate” again raised controversy with Ice Cube facing accusations of racism.
The track “Black Korea” took aim at Korean American business owners and their sometimes tense relationship with black customers, while “No Vaseline” was a heated dis track against fellow N.W.A members and manager Jerry Heller.