It’s been 25 years since Ice-T and Body Count released “Cop Killer,” which we can only assume is the only thrash metal crossover song that Tipper Gore has ever brought herself to listen to. Released right before the 1992 L.A. riots, “Cop Killer” became a cultural lightning rod, with its anti-police lyrics being denounced by everybody from local law enforcement up to President George H. W. Bush himself. To celebrate the song’s anniversary (and controversy), Ice-T recently gave an interview to Noisey, discussing its impact and legacy.
“The first time I knew was when the President was talking about it,” Ice-T said, recalling the first time he realized what he was in for. “I was home at the house and someone saw Dan Quayle on TV and they called me and said ‘Yo, The President is talking crazy about you man.’” He also noted his frustration at the way the song was characterized as “rap”, saying, “They lied when they came after the song by calling it a rap song because that was a quick way to get a racial reaction. If they had of said ‘rock’ a lot of white people are like ‘Well, I like Fleetwood Mac, maybe I will like this song.’”
Unsurprisingly, the conversation quickly turned to modern music, and modern political anger. When asked whether today’s rage was the same as the stuff powering him in in 1992, Ice-T was dismissive: “Nah, these kids are soft. Right now there is no rage. We are dealing with a very delusional state of the world and the only thing that woke the world up is Donald Trump’s maniac ass.” Still, he notes, there’s some hope: “It’s getting serious but I think the music will reflect that. I’ve been calling it a pop bubble of bullshit.”