If you happened to miss the news, Rodney King passed away yesterday (Sunday, July 17) at the age of 47, leaving behind a legacy of unwanted celebrity as a martyr that would go on to help strike the 1992 L.A. Riots, and serve a place in American culture as a pivotal turn in undocumented cases of racially-driven police brutality.
“It’s taken years to get used to the situation I’m in in life and the weight it holds. One of the cops in the jail said: ‘You know what? People are going to know who you are when you’re dead and gone. A hundred years from now, people still going to be talking about you.’ It’s scary, but at the same time it’s a blessing.” – Rodney King, New York Times
Hip-Hop music found profound inspiration through the Rodney King incident and the riots that followed, and lyrics containing his mention aren’t difficult to come across, so I figured I’d put together a list of tracks inspired by the racial happenings surrounding the King incidents. Some are socio-politically motivated, others just with a passing line (some, yes, are asinine in terms of respect, but the Rodney mentions are noteworthy points nonetheless. You’ll see what I mean); regardless, Rodney King holds his place in emcees’ minds, and is certain to be a key figure in the content coinciding with the music’s evolution and remembrances.
“All the civil rights leaders and people who died, black and white, you know, Mexican, Chinese, black, you name it, all the ones who died for me and for civil rights in this country, you know, I owe that to them, you know, after thinking about it now. And so it was a good thing for me to get out there and put some water on the fire instead of throwing gasoline in it.” Rodney King, KPCC Radio
Geto Boys “Crooked Officer”
“I’m letting freedom ring from the hole in my glock for f*cking off Rodney King…an since justice is blind, I’mma buy the bitch some glasses. Wake the f*ck up, chucks, I’m coming after yo asses. Crooked officer.”
Kid Frost “I Got Pulled Over”
“But hey yo, Mr. Officer, you know where you can stick it. I say this to myself, I let him do his thing, or he might beat me down just like he beat down Rodney King. I got pulled over.”
Run DMC – Down With The King
Swing another Rodney King thing, and I’ll wreck it.
2Pac “Soulja’s Story”
They finally pull me over and I laugh, “Remember Rodney King?”
Da Lynch Mob “Lost In Tha System”
Just listen to the whole song.
The Roots “Doin It Again”
I’m like Martin Luther King, you like Rodney, the difference is I give it everything inside me.
Dr. Dre “The Day The N*ggaz Took Over”
For de reason why me take me law in me own hand, me not out for peace and me not Rodney King.
Grand Puba “Soul Controller”
Now check out the thing and what they did to Rodney Kind. That goes to show ya who controls ya.