Fuck the Police (J Dilla song)

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This article is about the Jay Dee song. For the N.W.A. song, see Fuck tha Police.
"Fuck the Police"
F the police.jpg
Single by Jay Dee
from the album The Diary
B-side "Move"
Released September 18, 2001
April 18, 2015 (Reissue)
Format 12" maxi single
Digital download
Recorded 2001
Genre Hip-hop
Length 18:43
Label Up Above Records
Writer(s) James Yancey
Producer(s) Jay Dee
Jay Dee singles chronology
"Pause"
(2001)
"Fuck the Police"
(2001)
"The Red"
(Jaylib)
(2003)

"Fuck the Police" is a song by rapper and producer Jay Dee, who would later be known as J Dilla. The song was released as a single on September 18, 2001 under Up Above Records.[1] In the song, Jay Dee chastises corrupt policemen who conduct illegal searches and plant evidence on blacks. "Fuck the Police" subsequently became one of J Dilla's most well-known songs as a solo emcee.[2]

The track is built upon a sample of René Costy & His Orchestra's 1972 track "Scrabble", from which the drum break and violin sample are taken from.[3] The 12" front cover includes pictures of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Amadou Diallo and Rodney King.[2][3]

Background[edit]

As a teenager in the late 1980s, James Dewitt "J Dilla" Yancey worked as a junior police cadet for the Detroit Police Department.[3] Several years later however, after suffering through one too many many incidents of police harassment and racial profiling as young adult, his opinion of the police would change as he would record "Fuck the Police" in 2001.[3][4]

In 2003, Dilla revealed his motivations behind writing the song: "That's a song I been wanting to do for a long-ass time. I need to do a Part 2 actually. It's getting so crazy in Detroit now with the police, man. I just felt like I wanted to speak on it. People knew it from N.W.A, but I just wanted to touch it on a more underground level so the people that I fuck with can relate too and people know that it's still going on," said the late producer. "It's real, yeah! It's like you can go through life and act like it's not, but I deal with it everyday, for real, just riding in a nice car they'll fuck with you. [You are harassed for] just being a Black person in Detroit, it's so stupid."[3][5][6]

In an interview years later, his mother, Maureen "Ma Dukes" Yancey, gave further detail on Dilla's reason and motivation for the song: "That song was totally true. He caught so much flack from the police for being a clean young man. The police department was down the street from where we lived, and every time he pulled off they'd stop him and harass him. They even tossed the car once looking for something; because he was young and clean-cut, they thought he was selling drugs. [D12 rapper] Proof was at the house one evening when James had another run-in with them. He had only gone to the gas station which was three doors away. I told him not to get upset because he was hurt to tears. He was so angry and just tired of being harassed, so I told him, 'Look, this is what you do: you go downstairs and make a song about it, and you laugh in their face.' And that's when he came up with the 'F the Police' thing. And people are still singing it today! Every time I go somewhere, that's one of the songs they play."[7]

"Fuck the Police" was originally recorded for his major label debut, The Diary, which was intended to be released on MCA Records around 2001.[3] However, the song was turned down by MCA Records, who was perhaps concerned as the song was released just a week after the September 11 attacks.[5] The label seemingly did not want to receive any ominous, unsolicited letters from the FBI.[3][3] J Dilla still wanted the message of his experience, in urban Detroit, to permeate the conversation.[5] Thus, he altered the song's introduction, and brought the song to California-based indie imprint Up Above Records, who would release it in 2001 on a 12-inch vinyl.[3][5]

The record begins with a public service announcement denouncing violence against police officers: "The views expressed on this recording are solely those of the artist and by no means do we encourage or condone violence against law officials," before adding "We can lose a few of 'em, we got enough of 'em."[3][5]

"As strong as the message of the record was, he wanted to add something to it — not to soften it — but just to respect the law enforcement people that had to go through what they did during 9/11," said Up Above's Key Cool. "It was interesting, because he was very conscientious about that."[3][5]

Artwork[edit]

Up Above Records' Key Cool, who designed the single's artwork, disclosed that J Dilla did not want to be pictured on it. Dilla then advised Cool to "Grab images that you think represent the record."[5] The front cover design includes images of the Rodney King beating, martyr Amadou Diallo and political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.[3] The back cover features the disclaimer Dilla stated at the track's introduction. Yet, it is set against the backdrop of a pig's head on an African spear.[3][5]

Reissue[edit]

J Dilla's imprint, Pay Jay Productions, reissued a remastered version of "Fuck the Police". The song, using original mixes, was exclusively released as a police badge-shaped 9-inch picture disc single for Record Store Day 2015 (April 18). Both the vocal and instrumental are sourced directly from mix-downs that Dilla himself created.[8][9] This limited edition disc single was designed by Stones Throw Records' Jeff Jank.[8][10]

Track listing[edit]

12" maxi single
No. Title Length
1. "Fuck the Police (Dirty)" 2:37
2. "Fuck the Police (Radio)" 2:37
3. "Fuck the Police (Instrumental)" 2:33
4. "Move (Dirty)" (featuring Frank n Dank) 3:40
5. "Move (Radio)" (featuring Frank n Dank)  
6. "Move (Instrumental)"  
Total length: 18:43
9" vinyl single
No. Title Length
1. "Fuck the Police (Vocal)" 2:34
2. "Fuck the Police (Instrumental)" 1:09

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jay Dee: F**k The Police – Music on Google Play". play.google.com. Retrieved 23 Feb 2016. 
  2. ^ a b UpNorthTrips (8 Aug 2012). "UpNorthTrips Presents: The 10s | F*ck The Police State of Mind.". egotripland.com. Retrieved 23 Feb 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Pizzo, Mike (25 Aug 2015). "When J Dilla Said "Fuck the Police" — Cuepoint — Medium". medium.com. Retrieved 23 Feb 2016. 
  4. ^ Mao, Chairman (10 Feb 2012). "10 Facts About J Dilla You Might Not Know". Complex.com. Retrieved 24 Feb 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Bandini (26 Aug 2015). "J Dilla's F**k The Police Remembered 14 Years Later Feature". AmbrosiaforHeads.com. Retrieved 23 Feb 2016. 
  6. ^ Haleem, Aadel (27 Nov 2003). "j-dilla interview". www.illmuzik.com. Retrieved 26 Feb 2016. 
  7. ^ "Biography". J-DILLA.com. Retrieved 17 Feb 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "J Dilla – FUCK THE POLICE – Badge 45". www.rappcats.com. 10 Mar 2015. Retrieved 26 Feb 2016. 
  9. ^ "J Dilla's classic 'Fuck The Police' to be reissued on vinyl shaped like a police badge". 10 Mar 2015. Retrieved 26 Feb 2016. 
  10. ^ Zo (10 Mar 2015). "J Dilla's "Fuck The Police" To Be Reissued On Limited Edition Badge-Shaped Vinyl For Record Store Day". Okayplayer.com. Retrieved 24 Feb 2016.