Almost 30 years after N.W.A. released the immortal “F**k Tha Police”, Ice Cube drops “Good Cop, Bad Cop.” Tragically, 3 decades later much of the issues that Cube and his band mates rapped about in the 80s still exist today.
“Good cop, good cop filling out your report/Bad cop asking you to distort”
Cube raps about good cops, bad cops, pandering cops, junkie cops and crooked cops. While Ice Cube can acknowledge that there are good cops, he’s not too impressed with them. What good is a good cop if he works with bad cops and does nothing to stop them? Cube raps “Good cop, good cop f**kin’ wit that bad cop/What’cha doing boy? Turn in that blood clot.” In Cube’s eyes the good cop is complicit. He admonishes the bad cop when he asks where is their humanity, but just before that question he devotes three bars to the good cop: “Good cop, good cop, where is your dignity?/Where’s your empathy?/Where is your sympathy?”
Visually Cube continues his critique of the American police force. In the video Cube is arrested several different times in several different scenarios. Each time Cube wears different clothes and appears to be from a different economic class. The imagery reminds us that money, often thought to be the great equalizer, does not exempt someone from the ills of racism and prejudice. The world was given a timely, all-too-real example of this last week when NBA superstar Lebron James’s house was vandalized. The criminals wrote the n-word on Mr. James’s mansion.
“Black Lives Matter is not chit chatter”
The song and video are angry and aggressive, but why shouldn’t they be? Cube has spent a career expressing his frustration with institutionalized racism. After thirty years the fight against said racism continues. Frequently that fight is halted by arguments over whether or not racism still exists. Movements like AllLivesMatter and BlueLivesMatter seek to critique BlackLivesMatter. Ultimately they detract from the goal which is to rid our public institutions of racism. Cube states his belief in the BLM movement with the quoted line above.
All of its weighty and important messages aside, the video is very well made. Gabriel Hart (aka Video God) directed the four minute video. The opening montage and the closing feature particularly strong, cinematic imagery.
“Good Cop Bad Cop” was released on the 25th anniversary of the Ice Cube album “Death Certificate.” The special edition of the album is available here.