Despite the reality that in our times thousands of cameras are no match for tens to hundreds of guns, the message of this song is clear: We must be the watchers of the watchers. And, not only are the police watchers, they are brutal usurpers. Cameras may be a way to have individuals who are part of fascist organizations think twice about having their images broadcast around the web and the world, abusing somewhat helpless people.
It appears as though those in a stuggle today are attempting to draw from the Civil Rights movements of the 1950′s and 60′s, having learned what made them successful. In those days, it was rare and extremely difficult to be able to have common folks carry around cameras to film what was happening at those protests and demostrations. So, the courageous people, from about 50 years ago, had to rely on the few media outlets they had to show the brutal forces exhibited upon them to others around the U.S. and throughout the rest of the world.
With most people being unaware of the plight of Black people in the United States, simply fighting to be included in and counted among a citizenry to which they had given and were giving so much, the images shown in newspapers and on television screens were shocking to millions. This was a catalyst that caused others to demonstrate solidarity with the freedom fighters of that era.
Today, nearly everyone has easy access to recording devices. This presents somewhat of a problem in establishing solidarity among others on the outside of particular struggles. So much footage and pictures exist, that it simply is not shocking anymore. There was a time in the same society when it was shocking to see a woman in public with her thighs exposed; that time is far gone. So with the saturation of images of brutality, society becomes sort of accustomed to those practices. It becomes commonplace.
The phrases “I’m not surprised” and “Can you say that you’re surprised” have even become commonplace. These seem to be statements of dismissal. But even if the saturation of abusive and violent imagery does not end the war against today’s freedom fighters, simple bystanders, or those who are merely moving throughout the landscape, maybe it will create a new effigy for what was once a class of people who were thought to “protect and serve.” Maybe in the end all will be shouting, “FUCK THE POLICE!”
B. DOLAN’s “FILM THE POLICE” pays tribute to N.W.A.’s infamous “F*ck the Police,” serving as a call to action for the digitized media movement while responding to the recent explosion of police brutality all across the world.
This free MP3, courtesy of STRANGE FAMOUS RECORDS, features a reconstruction of Dr. Dre’s original beat, brilliantly reanimated by UK producer BUDDY PEACE. Label CEO, SAGE FRANCIS, opens the song by picking up the gavel where Dr. Dre left it 23 years ago, introducing a blistering, true-to-style flip of Ice Cube’s original verse by SFR cornerstone, B. Dolan. TOKI WRIGHT (Rhymesayers Entertainment) follows up by stepping into the shoes of MC Ren, penning the people’s struggle against cops as a case of “Goliath Vs. a bigger giant.” Finally, Jasiri X (Pittsburgh rapper/activist) rounds out the track by filling in for Eazy-E, reminding us that police brutality disproportionately affects poor people of color.
With the Occupy Movement bringing various forms of injustice to the forefront of people’s consciousness, “Film the Police” is a reminder that cops have been a continued and increasingly militarized presence in public streets. Thanks to the widespread use of smartphones and video cameras, along with the popularity of social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, the power of the media has been put back into the people’s hands as they document the injustices perpetrated by those who have sworn to serve and protect them.
The song’s full lyrics are below (advisory: explicit lyrics):
Intro (Sage Francis):
Right about now, the SFR court is in full effect!
Judge Sage presiding in the case of the People vs. The Police Department.
Prosecuting attorneys are: Toki Wright, Jasiri X and B motherf*ckin’ Dolan.
Order! Order! Order! B. Dolan, take the motherf*ckin’ stand.
Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
(Dolan: You godd*mn right.)
Then why don’t you tell everyone what the f*ck they have the right to do?
Verse 1 (B. Dolan):
Film the Police. Run a tape for the underclass!
Get the face, name and number on the badge.
They flash, we flash back when they act disorderly.
React accordingly and capture all that we see…
Nightstick, Zip-ties, and Tasers.
Think they’re licensed for type vicious behavior.
Make a tight fist with a video trained toward the Pigs,
Like this. They trip & you make ‘em famous.
Explain to a Judge the bounds you oversteppin’.
2011 time to the change our method.
We aim lenses at the State’s weapon,
‘Til they remember whose godd*mn streets they’re protecting.
They’d rather see me in a cell
Than me and my cell with a different story to tell.
Camcorder by the dash. Next time you get stopped,
Reach for the celly if you wanna shoot a cop.
On a public sidewalk, you can tape what you see,
Or film from your window with a view of the street!
Neighborhood Crime Watch, we police the Police.
They can’t arrest the whole community.
Because the streets clock. These cops occupying blocks,
Harassing the homeless with batons, pulling glocks.
They stop lawful protests and let off shots…
Abuse prostitutes and misuse power they got.
In memory of the victims who are never forgot,
We’ve gotta’ exercise our right to shed light in the dark.
There is an army on the march that doesn’t want you to watch.
You’ve got a weapon in your pocket whether you know it or not.
We, the people, are the only real media we got.
Let’s protect one another from the f*cking goon squad.
Fascism’s coming to the U.S.A.
Eyo, Sage, I got something to say!
Verse 2 (Toki Wright):
Film the police! It’s time to make it our priority.
You see these fools are in abuse of their authority.
Crack a fist or you crack a whip.
But that ain’t power you coward, you beat a man with two shackled wrists.
So put their names up on a list next to an asterisk.
Next time you see ‘em blast a clip, then you flash a flick.
Attach a video and pic to your master list.
Be on the news at 6. YouTube views legit.
The cops watch us, so we gotta have the Cop Watchers.
Been in fear of law so long, so now it’s not awkward.
But what is law when it’s wrong. When you slam us on the floor.
Naw, this ain’t World Wrestling Entertainment Raw.
This is Edutainment, y’all. Got a call from B. Dolan.
You try to squabble with Johnny Law and get your meat swollen.
Why you think Bobby and Huey P. were heat holding?
You better load the footage up and get to key stroking.
And while you at it, send one off to the administration,
It’s indicating, all the physical intimidation.
It’s been too long they said to “bear with us.”
That’s when I run up on your caravan and rip off all your D.A.R.E. stickers.
This here is near Hitler’s; weirder than some mere tickets…
You feel privileged ’til your wife get her brassiere lifted.
You disappear quick as Hoffa if you p*ss a copper,
Off ya’ til you get a Channel 7 News helicopter.
Violence hides in a code of silence, tyrants hide in an alliance,
Quiet or be left somewhere, or get swept inside it.
It’s Goliath vs. a bigger giant.
Got us pulling over so far we ran a curb and hit a hydrant.
It’s systematic how the system has its symptoms,
Of the democratic law that’s been flawed since the pilgrims landed.
So now tell me what you wanna do? Next time you see the boys in blue,
You cock your camera back and point and shoot.
Verse 3 (Jasiri X):
Film the police! I got the Cannon 7D.
Highest definition for when they try to arrest and lynch ‘em,
Then lie and protest the whippin’, not serve and protect the victims.
Their murders, threats and hitmen…observe ‘em and let the witness be
The iphone. Never let bygones be bygones.
Get your flip cam before they get in the whip and ride on.
It’s vital ’cause our survival could depend on a video going viral,
With more viewers than American Idol.
Instead of having to bury a child who…
The cops shot ’cause they thought they carried a rifle.
Then the same cops will go to court and swear on a bible,
And smile to show the teeth that they’re preparing to lie through.
Whether Crips or Piru ,Vice Lords or Gangsta Disciples,
Make sure your camera lens gets an eyeful.
And they liable to try and confiscate it.
Better hold on to that sh*t like you’re constipated.
‘Cause they’ll pretend them injuries are not related,
Like, “When we arrived we saw him dive head first off the pavement.”
So keep the mini cam stashed in the dash of your mini van.
They’ll crash and smash on any man.
Pull out your Blackberry ’cause cops will take a shot at your black berry,
‘Til we see another black buried.
Don’t act scary, ’cause they’ll empty the gat on ya’,
Stand over your body just to sprinkle the crack on ya’.
Police attacking ya’. Don’t want to see they reflections like Dracula.
But camera’s capture ya’.
Too busy using your flashlight to batter us,
To notice John Singleton was my passenger.
So point, click and shoot they ass*s,
It’s the only way to get the real truth to the masses.
Jasiri X, I’m making movies like Spike Lee.
I won’t be a law and order special victim like Ice T.