N.W.A’s 1988 police-brutality anthem ‘Fuck tha Police’ has quadrupled in streaming numbers this past week, following the unfurling of Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the senseless murder of unarmed African American man George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.
The song has featured in protests globally and witnessed a 272% increase in streams from May 27th through June 1st. Between Sunday and Monday, the song accrued 765,000 on-demand audio streams — five times the streams the song received the Sunday and Monday prior to the protests.
‘Fuck tha Police’ previously saw an increase in listening in August 2015, during the protests in Ferguson following the shooting of Michael Brown.
Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ has also seen a surge, after being used to soundtrack TikToks from teenagers addressing racial inequality following the case of the murder of Ahmad Arbery. Gambino’s 2018 track saw a 149% rise in streaming this between last Sunday and Monday.
Other songs that have surged during the protest are Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Alright’ (+71%), Public Enemy’s ‘Fight the Power’ (+89%), D’Angelo and the Vanguard’s “The Charade” (+122%), Killer Mike’s “Don’t Die” (+542%) and Beyoncé’s “Freedom” (+70%).
In an interview with Rolling Stone, back in 2016, N.W.A’s Ice Cube was asked how he felt about the rampant police brutality against unarmed black men, almost 20 years on from the release of ‘Fuck tha Police’
Asked in 2016 how it felt to continue to see so many unarmed black men continually get killed by police officers almost 20 years after the release of the track. “[It] makes me feel like a black man. That’s what it makes me feel like — same as always. As a black person, it’s always seemed like it’s a war on us. It’s just terrible.”
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In the midst of the protests, notorious hacking group Anonymous tapped into the Chicago Police Department’s radio scanners to play ‘Fuck Tha Police’.
On Saturday, May 30th, Anonymous took to Twitter to announce they were playing a part in solidarity with the protestors who are actively fighting against racism and corruption that is running rampant in the USA.
Shortly after this tweet became live, ‘Fuck Tha Police’ by N.W.A. began playing on the Chicago police scanners, causing disruption to the police who use them as communicating devices.