Ice-T Says No Lives Matter But Those Of The Wealthy To Those In Power (Video)
In 1992, Ice-T took off his MC hat to become the lead of Punk Rap band, Body Count. The group featured an aggressive, in your face style, that combined the full force of Hip-Hop and Punk Rock. What started off as a side project for the Original Gangsta, ultimately became one of the defining moments in his career, largely due to the single, “Cop Killer.” The song was a vitriolic response to the abuse being suffered, primarily by young Black men, at the hands of the police.
Backed by screaming guitars and furious drums, the song’s chorus shouted “COP KILLER, better you than me. COP KILLER, fuck police brutality! COP KILLER, I know your family’s grievin’ … FUCK ‘EM!. COP KILLER, but tonight we get even.” The song was served up in a world that had recently witnessed the beating of Rodney King on video tape by several police officers, and their subsequent acquittal. It came after groups like N.W.A., and Ice-T, himself had long documented the police brutality regularly encountered by Blacks in inner cities and beyond. At the time, the country was incredibly divided, with parts rioting and others aggressively seeking to silence messages like those being proffered by Body Count, Tupac and others.
Fast-forward 25 years, and it’s deja vu all over again. For the last several years, the Black Lives Matter movement has grown, in response to a rash of well-documented killings by the police of unarmed Black victims. At the same time, the country has elected (maybe…) a president who campaigned on a platform of hate and divisiveness that took a page out of the books of Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush (who was president at the time Body Count released their eponymous album) and others who preyed on fear in order to obscure and further their agendas. So, what better time for Body Count to re-form to take aim and increase the tally of their rap sheet?
Their new single, “No Lives Matter,” picks up right where “Cop Killer” left off. Ice-T opens with a fiery monologue, where he says “It’s unfortunate that we even have to say ‘Black Lives Matter.’ I mean if you go through history, nobody ever gave a f*ck. I mean, you can kill Black people in the street; nobody goes to jail, nobody goes to prison.” After asserting that the retort “All Lives Matter” dilutes the issue at hand regarding the taking of Black lives with impunity, he continues, “The issue isn’t about everybody. It’s about Black lives, at the moment. But, the truth of the matter is they don’t really give a f*ck about anybody, if you break the sh*t all the way down to the low f*ckin’ dirty ass truth.”
While it’s not certain who Ice means by “they,” it’s very likely that it’s the billionaires running our country, as the president and his cabinet, under the guise of working for the common person. As he enters the verse, Ice says “Honestly, it ain’t just Blacks. It’s yellow, it’s brown it’s red. It’s anyone who ain’t got cash, poor whites that they call trash.” From there, he launches into a powerful chorus that exhorts unity. “They can’t f*ck with us, once we realize we’re all on the same side. They can’t split us up, and let ’em prosper off the divide.”
While Body Count’s sound is more abrasive than ever, the content is also more refined. At its core, the song re-frames the country’s current divide as a class war, rather than one about race or religion. In many ways, that is the message toward which leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X had moved, as well as more recent activists, such as Bernie Sanders and the many who made up the Occupy movement (remember that?). While Body Count was controversial back in the day, in the cacophony that is the internet, they may struggle to be even be heard this time around, but the song is definitely food for thought.