Who is this villain, this enemy of the state? Saddam Hussein? Muammar el-Qaddafi? Is he an international terrorist, a spy, a drug smuggler?
Impose death penalty for cop killers
Three national record-store chains, a combined total of more than a thousand stores, have pulled the album Body Count from their shelves. So what is Ice-T doing in the midst of all this outrage? Well, this particular steamy Los Angeles day, he wants to shop for glass doors for his new house in Beverly Hills. One of the motors on his new boat is running a little hot, so he needs to find someone to take a look at it. He checks in at the Porsche repair shop he owns and puts in some time on the Macintosh at his home office, changing the format of his fan-club mailing list.
The hubcap on his Rolls-Royce is rattling a bit, so he swings by the shop. To quote a title from his album O. He stands on the balcony of his new house, a sleek, three-story beauty at the crest of the hills with a breathtaking view of the ocean, and shakes his head.
Then I can tell everyone to kiss my ass. I ce-T born Tracy Marrow thirty-some years ago has kept up an inhuman work schedule for the past eighteen months. Last spring he released O. Original Gangster, his blistering fourth gold album.
He contributed highly acclaimed performances to the movies New Jack City and Ricochet. During the winter, he shot a new film, his first starring role, with costar Ice Cube. The working title was Looters, but in the wake of the L. Aside from keeping his various businesses running, these hectic days, Ice is focusing his energies on completing his new album, Home Invasion, which should come out in October. Despite recent events, the new songs are less overtly political than those on O.
Ice-T reflects on censorship and free speech
The first night mixing the album at L. Producer D. For an L. It lets you know how small this country is. He has advisers, people with their ear to the street.
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Very few people have their names said by the president, especially in anger. Why all this response to this record right now? This is not a rap album underline rap album. It scares them when they see it being kicked back at them. I think by being rock it infiltrated the homes of a lot of parents not used to having their kids play records by rappers. Then they found out the music was made by a rapper. But the main reason they went after this record is because of the shit that was coming down and is still going down today.
But why all this noise? Why all this protest about a record that speaks about killing cops and not protest against the cops killing kids out there in the streets? Is censoring ideas just easier than fighting reality? I have many days of my life that I wanted to just get dressed up and go out there and kill the fucking pigs. They are totally out of control. It is a threat record, and they need to be threatened. Point-blank, does this record condone or glorify killing cops? Neither actually had anything to do with a rap record. Neither of them had anything to do with true politicians, either. These are musicians, nothing to do with Quayle or Clinton or the people who are supposedly worried about this country.
Maybe we should be running for office. Is that just a straight racist ploy? You could say that, but personally I hate to go into that racial shit. Somebody is definitely trying to run for office. But when we were going to do that, Warner Bros. At least let it get out. I got reasons. How has their support been through this controversy? All the record is is an editorial. And these cops, since their so-called disapproval with the record, they have been threatening Time Warner with bomb threats and shit.
These are supposed to be the people that uphold the law, and when they get threatened, they turn into some of the most scandalous people. People forget that you played a cop — a good one — in New Jack City. Nobody came and pinned a medal on you for that. Well, you know, bad news travels so much quicker than good news. To play the cop in New Jack, I had to do a lot of apologizing to my hard-core fans. Me playing that was sacrilegious in the ghetto. You could have hated dope, we all hate dope, but why do you got to give credit to the Man?
I had to get in the movie, and this is the laws of Hollywood: The only way you can run around with a gun is to be a cop. The attitude toward police from my followers has always been the same. I was talking to a friend of mine this morning, a young lady, and she wants to get into law enforcement. But I still have the fear of being killed.
I just wish people would listen to what I say. When I first came out, I had to totally open the door to South Central. People were not aware that there were kids down there talking about this shit. How much do you think this response to the record has to do with the riots? The theory that this record was put out after the riot is one of the first ideas that people had gotten, but they were way off. They initially thought Warner jumped on this riot thing and put this record out, but that was untrue.
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The record was written and released before. My real anger sounds much madder than the voice I put on that record. Did the riots change your attitudes? The riots are the consequence I was talking about. And how do you do that? The cops have to do it. It slows up the message. A frightening era of racial tension in America was triggered on March 3, , after a Los Angeles taxi driver named Rodney King was pulled over by the LAPD following a high-speed chase.
When King got out of his car, four police officers beat him with batons, tazed him, and kicked him while he was on the ground. In total, he was struck more 50 times, and severely injured. A civilian in an apartment across the street videotaped the entire incident and gave the tape to KTLA, which aired it. Within days, it was everywhere. Like Ice-T, all had been former gangsters, with the exception of Ernie C, who stayed off the streets and practiced his instrument. The lyrics addressed gang violence, promiscuous sex, and police harassment.
Six months after they formed, Body Count were playing to crowds of white kids across the country on the touring Lollapalooza festival. Audiences had never seen a group that looked like gangbangers but played music that sounded like a cross between Suicidal Tendencies, Slayer, and Black Sabbath. Intrigued, Warner Bros. They were in it for kicks. But I never glorified violence. In my records I jet you through the fast lane, but always drop you on Death Row. Largely because the nation was in a state of high alert due to the Rodney King trial, an album that might have otherwise been overlooked by all but a few metalheads fell into the crosshairs of conservative politicians and police groups.
Records to pull Body Count and endorsed a boycott of all Time-Warner products as long as the company stood behind the record. Other police forces across the country soon joined in. Then, on April 16, , all four policemen who had beaten Rodney King were acquitted by a mostly white jury, sparking L.
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Over three days of intense violence and looting, 55 people were killed and more than 2, were injured. Through no fault of their own, Body Count found themselves in the eye of the storm and were viewed as a dangerous force that encouraged vigilantism against police officers.
I had been on the streets and had people threaten me and had people after me, and I lived through that. There are ways to deal with that. They were in the homes of kids across the country — and parents, teachers, politicians, and policemen were fuming. Also, the government caused a lot of the problems by vilifying me and letting the people take off on me.