Former N.W.A. rapper Ice Cube co-wrote one of the most defining protest songs against police brutality ‘fuck tha police’ and, at a moment of soaring tension with US law enforcement, the rap legend did not hold back.
“The police tried to tell us what we can’t play!” Ice Cube, likely referring to past rather than present bids to muzzle him, told a rain-soaked crowd Saturday night at Quebec City’s summer music festival.
Ice Cube ripped into “Fuck tha Police” and to the delight of the predominantly youthful and white fans, asked them to raise their middle fingers as images of armed officers flashed on a screen.
The 1988 song by his former group, gangsta rap pioneers N.W.A., initially stunned listeners with its merciless indictment of police treatment of African Americans yet has become one of the best-known songs in hip-hop.
But Ice Cube’s decision to play the song was especially defiant two days after a sniper shot dead five officers in Dallas amid demonstrations over the latest two killings of African Americans by police.
Ice Cube on social media has kept the focus on police brutality, sharing stories of abuses and urging President Barack Obama to rein in police, declaring his campaign with the hashtag #Theorisation. Yet Ice Cube relegated “Fuck tha Police” to early in his set in Quebec City — which he affectionately called “QC” — as he focused more on entertaining and proving his bona fides.
“I don’t care about the rain; I can do this all night!” the 47-year-old rapper turned actor said as he showed off his strut.
Ice Cube invited “the ladies” of Quebec City to dance to Kool and the Gang’s infectious “Jungle Boogie” and, after performing his classic “It Was a Good Day,” left the stage to James Brown’s “The Boss,” an appropriate closing song with its blend of funk and audacity.