Ice Cube Just Told Conan the Blunt Truth About Police Brutality

August 13th 2015

Mike Vainisi

Ice Cube spoke about police brutality last night on Conan O'Brien's show. The hip-hop artist and actor, who co-wrote NWA's protest song "Fuck Tha Police" in 1988, has a unique perspective as he's publicly discussed police brutality for almost three decades. Last night, he addressed the ebb and flow of public attention to this issue after Conan pointed out that many Americans naively thought that the problem had faded since NWA released the song.

"There was almost a feeling in this country...by people who were not in touch that we've gotten past [police brutality], but that's all we read about in the news these days. That issue has not gone away," Conan said. "How does it feel that you were talking about that twenty-some-odd years ago, and it's still the issue right now facing America?"

"It doesn't feel good that the issue is still relevant," Ice Cube responded. "I thought we were speaking on something people didn't know about it, and we realized that people knew about it and just kind of brushed it under the rug."

The song "Fuck tha police" was so controversial when it was released in 1988 that the FBI sent a letter of warning to N.W.A for celebrating "violence against and disrespect" for authorities. In June, NWA members Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella reunited and performed the song at the BET Experience in Los Angeles. The rappers performed while footage of Black Lives Matter protests, the police shooting of unarmed, Black man Walter Scott, and other recent relevant moments played behind them.


On Conan, Ice Cube discussed the need for more oversight of police.

"We got to hold people accountable, whether they are in uniform or out of uniform, when they abuse people, we got to hold them accountable," he said.

Despite what has felt like a step backwards in police treatment of Black people, Ice Cube's sentiment on Conan seemed to be hopeful.

"Basically, you know, the public shame of a cop stepping over the line, I think, is starting to penetrate these issues, these cops, and, you know, hopefully we get some kind of understanding."

A film biopic of NWA comes out on Friday.