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Body Count Cop Killer

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Published on Jul 15, 2012

"Cop Killer" is a song by American band Body Count, from its 1992 self-titled debut album. The lyrics are sung from the point of view of an individual who is outraged by police brutality and decides to take the law into his own hands by killing police officers. The song's words were written by Body Count's lead vocalist, Ice-T, while its music was written by the band's lead guitarist, Ernie C. Ice-T has referred to it as a "protest record." The song was written in 1990, and was partially influenced by "Psycho Killer" by the Talking Heads.

The song provoked much controversy and negative reactions from political figures such as then-President George H.W. Bush, then-Vice President Dan Quayle and Tipper Gore, co-founder of Parents Music Resource Center. Others defended the song on the basis of the band's First Amendment rights. When Ice-T began to feel that the controversy over the song had eclipsed its musical merit, he chose to recall the album and re-release it without the inclusion of the song, which was given away as a free single
Ice-T referred to "Cop Killer" as a "protest record," stating that the song is "[sung] in the first person as a character who is fed up with police brutality."Ice-T has also credited the Talking Heads song "Psycho Killer" with partially inspiring the song."Cop Killer" was written in 1990, and had been performed live several times, including at the 1991 Lollapalooza tour, before it had been recorded in a studio.

The recorded version mentions then-Los Angeles police chief Daryl Gates, and Rodney King, a black motorist whose beating by LAPD officers had been caught on videotape. Shortly after the release of Body Count, a jury acquitted the officers and riots broke out in South Central Los Angeles. Soon after the riots, the Dallas Police Association and the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas (CLEAT) launched a campaign to force Warner Bros. Records to withdraw the album
Following its release, the song was met with strong opposition, with critics ranging from President Bush to various law enforcement agencies, with strong demand for the song's withdrawal from commercial availability, citing concerns of promoting anti-police sentiment. Conversely, Ice-T defended the lyrical content of the song as did various other proponents who did not believe that the song posed any risk and remained in support of the song continuing to be released and sold.

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