More Than Rap: Police Brutality

By Danielle Cramberg

The Game wrote a song titled ‘Don’t Shoot’ that covered a topic that really hit home for many listeners: police brutality. Police brutality is a common theme throughout rap, but this new song specifically addresses current examples of police brutality that occurred in Ferguson, Missouri.

“We gotta stick together, we all we got; police taking shots and I ain’t talking about Ciroc.”

According to the CATO Institute, in just the year 2010, 127 fatalities occurred due to excessive force by police officers.

“Trayvon over Skittles, Mike Brown Cigarillos; History keeps repeating itself like a Biggie instrumental.”

Shot while unarmed, 18 year old Mike Brown’s death started protest and awareness of police brutality, an increasingly prevalent and unspoken issue in society. Slain by George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin’s death reflected the prejudice against young black Americans, since Zimmerman was the neighborhood watch captain – not even a police officer. Zimmerman went through his trial and received an acquittal.

The song further addresses police brutality by addressing Ezell Ford, Sean Bell, and Emmett Till by name. Shot in Los Angeles the night before his wedding, Sean Bell passed when police officers fired 50 shots into his car solely on the suspicion that he could’ve been up to no good.  Ezell Ford was a young, unarmed, mentally ill, black teenager who was another of many examples of unacceptable police brutality. The police officers awareness of his schizophrenia makes his death even less justifiable, since he didn’t struggle or resist in any way.

Rap music frequently expresses a disdain toward police officers, but in many ways spreads awareness of what many young Americans suffer through. By addressing police brutality in a specific way, it raises awareness on a topic that’s frequently swept under the rug. It also  shows how listeners aren’t powerless victims and gives hope that they don’t have to take abuse from police officers.  Police officers are idolized by society, and while they can be helpful, they aren’t the perfect heroes society expects them to be. Hopefully this song can further spread awareness of that.



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