The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech... Just Watch What You Say!
1989 | Rap
Spotify | Amazon
"We ain't the problems, we ain't the villains. — It's the suckers deprivin' the truth from our children. —You can't hide the fact, Jack. —There's violence in the streets every day, any fool can recognise that.
- The song is the title track of an album penned in response to censorship Ice T ran up against on tour, in particular Columbus, Georgia.
- The record features samples of Jello Biafra talking about his own run-ins with censorship.
- If you're into the heavy stuff check out the version Ice T did with Bodycount.
- Album is certified Gold and hit #37 on the Billboard Hot 200 & #11 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart, despite being openly critical of censors.
THE HOT TAKES
"Ultimately, any argument argument about free speech comes down to this: ""And who decides what's right to hear? You?"" No matter what we're dealing with--sexually explicit writing, hateful public speaking, video games portraying violence--this is the question. Who knows better for me, than me? My answer: no one. Yes, private businesses have the right to include or exclude whoever they want. Individuals have the same rights, so a venue in Columbus, Georgia has every right to refuse to work with Ice-T. Fine. But When the law is involved, the decision making power is taken from both the venue and the performer. There's the rub, man. Get off the backs of the people and let freedom of association work its magic. Don't want to hear Ice-T? Don't go to an Ice-T concert. Doesn't need to be harder than that."
"This is a pretty basic rap about something that you wouldn't think would be so hard for people to understand, free speech. I love the referenced Tipper Gore, wife of future VP, Al Gore, who with three other "Washington Wives" founded the Parents Music Resource Center in 1985. This group of moralizing ninnies was on a mission to label and censor music under the guise of, you guessed it, to save the children. This is just one more example of the ways that politicians, out on this case their wives, encourage people to put what are their responsibilities onto The State, where eventually they forget it was ever their responsibility at all. If parents are worried about their kids listening to inappropriate music, the responsibility lies with the parent and no one else. Unpopular speech must always be protected, because popular speech doesn't need protecting. If we don't protect the unpopular speech, we lose our ability to effective dissent."
What’s the first amendment? What’s it really mean? I can’t believe that’s still a conversation in this era but it seems like it’s under attack from every angle. The hardest place to tolerate it from is our own fellow “citizens.” The liberal youth have turned out to be the least liberal generation yet. It’s odd to think that Ice T got pushback for graphic depictions of street life from the political elite and we now get censured by our very neighbors for things that ten years ago would have been considered rude. Don’t get this wrong, I’m ok with being a nice guy (I’m not a nice guy) I think it’s an admirable trait, but when trying to police ourselves makes general communication difficult we need to examine where we’re going. The thing that truly frightens me is that the people with the greatest issue are voting and when they’re in control, are we gonna see this come round again with honest popular support? Look what they’re doing in the EU without popular support. Two ridiculous words, Count Dankula. As an artist I know the difficulties of feeling the pressure of censorship but I’m not sure even I have the balls to write an album putting all my critics on blast, esp when they have political power behind em. I can simply talk on the shoulders of giants who did.