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Body CountDirk Behlau

Billboard Investigate The Continued Absence Of Body Count’s Controversial Track “Cop Killer”


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Body Count‘s most infamous track “Cop Killer” sparked a firestorm when it was released back in 1992 as part of the band’s gold-certified self-titled debut album. A scorching indictment of police brutality, the song saw police-related organizations across the United States band together to have the track banned from the album.

Facing intense pressure and even U.S. presidential condemnation, the band’s frontman Ice-T eventually withdrew the song from the record as part of a deal that saw him gain control of the album’s masters.

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A re-released version omitting the track is the only version of the album to have officially been made available since. While at it’s core a revenge fantasy protest song, the controversy surrounding the track has taken somewhat of an ironic turn over the years, thanks in part to Ice-T‘s 20-year run as detective ‘Odafin Tutuola‘ on ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit‘.

With protests against police brutality and racial injustice having reached a fever pitch in recent weeks following the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police, the absence of “Cop Killer” has been felt by some. To that end, Billboard.com set out to discuss the track’s legacy and current absence with members of the band.

Speaking on its lack of availability, the band’s guitarist Ernie C. stated:

“It should be there. It absolutely should be there. Some of these kids that are out there [protesting], they’re 30, 31 — they were newborns when this was going on. What we talked about 30 years ago, we’re still talking about.”

Speaking of the early performances playing the track live, Ernie C. commented:

“It was more like [Bob Marley’s] ‘I Shot The Sheriff‘ — a rally song for people with no voices that were able to scream ‘Fuck the police!’ at the top of their lung. It wasn’t the reaction we got a year later. ’92 was an election year; ’91, we were just having a good time.”

You can dig into the origins and controversy that surrounded the song, as well as its continued limited availability over at Billboard.com.

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