We all saw it. We all knew all about it. But seeing it again made it much more nauseating for some reason. Of course, I’m referring to Rodney King’s
heartfelt scripted plea for peace and call for blacks, whites, little children, old folks, Asian gun shop owners, Mexicans, cops, Yorkshire Terriers, daffodils, dinosaurs, stingrays, alligators, and all the rest of God’s creations to get along and stop hurting each other. Sure, it was a year after you emerged from a well-circulated ass-whupping that left you resembling Mitch Green after a run-in with Mike Tyson at Dapper Dan. And a few days after a jury said the officers who whooped your half-dead ass on camera did no wrong. It was only a matter of time before someone in rap put the whimpering motorist on blast – it was in the air.
1992 was the most controversial year hip-hop has ever witnessed from a musical standpoint (more on that next week). While church-going, marching, Civil Rights era black folks (C. Delores Tucker and Calvin Butts) went after the “bitches, hoes, 8 Ball, and my dick” rap, politicians went after the cop-killin’, kill whitey stuff. Ice-T’s “Cop Killer” controversy paralyzed Time Warner and made rap a more visible target than ever. Paris, Almighty R.S.O., and Live Squad were dropped from Tommy Boy Records due to inflammatory content. Sampling lawsuits reached their peak and changed the way records were made. The East Coast – West Coast drama had just begun and Dr. Dre capped the year by appearing on the cover of The Source with a pistol to his temple. But nobody came out bolder and harder than Geto Boys defect, Willie D. Although we all said “Fuck Rodney King” in our heads, nobody was willing to make a record about it, at least not at a time that sensitive. Willie D wasted no time – the record was out five months after Rodney’s
genuine government-subsidized “Tito, pass me a tissue” soliloquy. Willie wasted Rodney at the end of the song, finishing the job the night-stick twirling quartet didn’t finish – then put a foot in Jesse Jackson’s ass in the following skit.
Enough rhetoric. All respect due the most powerful record of 1992 next to “Cop Killer.” And pour out a 40 in memory of people who had nothing to lose – or at least acted like it. Assimilation is in, making noise is out.