Are more and more rappers being targeted unfairly by the police? Why have numerous rappers placed complaints about harassment and brutality by officers? What’s the reason, and what’s being done to stop it?
Reports as early as 1998, state that the police a.k.a. “Hip Hop Cops” have been lurking into the bank accounts and into the personal lives of rap artist. If you turn on your TV to watch the news you’re likely to see one or more rappers in cuffs. But does this mean they’re guilty? Could all of this harassment and surveillance of artists be due to jealousy? Rappers endure the free for all fast money lifestyle that most individuals would love to indulge in, including the police! Many believe that the traumatic deaths of Biggie and Tupac brought the Cops vs. Rappers beef to a boil.
New York City Police have currently upgraded their list of “Rap Stars” to watch. Hotels and venues are being put on surveillance as well as the clubs artists attend. Rapper Fat Joe was quoted as saying “The cops watch hip hop spots like their searching for Bin Laden.” Their have been rare incidents of the harassment of rock stars or other musicians in different music genres. Complaints of illegal searches by police and constant abuse of power by physical force has become all too familiar by artist. What’s being done to stop it? Artists such as the late great Tupac had to deal with unfair harassment by cops when Oakland Police Department battered and bruised him for giving a false name. He stated his real name but they were convinced that “Tupac” was his stage alias and not his government name. Tupac therefore filed a 10 million dollar lawsuit against the Police Department. While the lawsuit was still active, Police once again mocked and tested Tupac in Atlanta Georgia which resulted in the shooting of two off duty police officers. Further proof of the harassment of rappers continued as The Wu Tang Clan was stopped by SFPD and made lie face down on the ground because the officers accused them of being bank robbers. Speaking of bank robbers, Bay Area Rapper Mac Dre was rung up on robbery charges and forced to serve 4 years in jail for a crime many say he did not commit. It was only after Mac Dre mentioned a crooked officer in one of his songs that he became the target of harassment. Rapper Ice Cube stated that he came up with the NWA song titled “F&%K the Police” after he was blatantly harassed for no reason while driving home.
The brutality and harassment of Rappers has only gotten worst within the last 5 or 6 years. As seen in the street credible DVD titled “Beef III”, Lil’ Scrappy was pushed more than 10 feet off stage by an off duty cop. The police stated that Lil’ Scrappy was told not to used any profanity during his show and was also told not to remove his shirt. Say what? Sounds like they were trying to water down the whole show based on their judgment, not the judgment of the fans, but theirs. Miami based rapper Trick Daddy also stated that his Rolex watch and diamond chain weren’t returned after his overnight stay in slammer, that’s just wrong. The police seem to think that most artists are gang members or have gang affiliates of some kind. The police treat rap concerts almost like a code red terrorist attack. Police authorities have also been quoted as saying they watch the artist for their own safety. For example, 50 cent who has already been shot, police state they watch and follow him to prevent future problems from occurring. Yeah right!
Police also show a bias point of view towards rappers when it comes to rightful justice. The judicial system steady tries to use artist’s names and lyrics against them in court. Take the case of Master P’s brother C-Murder, police tried to used his stage name against him. Corey Miller a.k.a. C-Murder was accused of murder and they tried to sentence him to life based on his name without even having evidence. C-Murder was later released after serving a brief stint in lockdown due to his lawyer being able to prove that evidence was withheld in the case. Texas rap pioneer Pimp C had to undergo the same thing as his lyrics were used against him in court. His street dealing, pimp infested lyrics stood out in court like a white hat at an all black party. He was also sentenced to due time based on a violation of parole. The most recent act to defame a rapper is when police arrested rapper Fabolous after he was shot in the thigh. The van he jumped in for protection was stopped by police, in which they found 2 weapons under the seat. Rapper Fabolous was then arrested while shot and transported to the hospital. If somebody was shooting at you wouldn’t you just get anywhere to get out the line of fire? The police tried to say both weapons belonged to Fabolous but his lawyer proved them wrong. His lawyer stated that his client feared for his life and jumped in the van for cover without the knowledge of the weapons in the van. Fabolous could have possibly been sentenced to football number years (lots of years) just for saving his own life.
I personally think that all this hip hop cop harassment is based on extreme jealousy. Rap is the top genre on the market now so it’s the focus of entertainment so to say, music wise. Police use and abuse their power in so many ways when it comes to the illegal searches, brutality and just blatant rudeness. Instead of watching rappers all the time police should do real police work, which is stopping crimes in progress. They sit at concerts and wait for fights or homicides to occur when they could be out preventing other crimes. While the cops wait backstage for artist to display guns or smoke blunts, violence is going on right down the street. And why can’t the cops respond in time? They’re too busy binocular watching the venues or hot spots of rappers. It must really be hard for the police to swallow the success of entertainers. I mean think about it, police have the top spot when it comes to power, but not the top spot when it comes to currency. Guess they can continue to fake it till they make it. Rap is taking over the music game as we know it, it will always be here, so in the words of Ice Cube “F&%K the Police!”