Body Count's 1992 self-titled album ended with the controversial-at-the-time track "Cop Killer." Though if you go listen to the album on any streaming service, Body Count will end with a thrash cover of vocalist Ice-T's 1989 track "Freedom of Speech" instead. The backlash for the song was so severe and immediate that only months after its release that President George H.W. Bush was among the voices condemning the song and album.
So why, now 28 years later, is the song still absent? Billboard investigates.
"It should be there. It absolutely should be there," says Ernie Cunnigan, also known as Ernie C, longtime guitarist for the band fronted by rapper and actor Ice-T. "Some of these kids that are out there [protesting], they're 30, 31 — they were newborns when this was going on. What we talked about 30 years ago, we're still talking about."
After all the heat over the song and after the reissues cutting it, Body Count's record label Warner Bros. gave Ice-T the masters to the album. This song has still not resurfaced on any platforms, though you can find some YouTube rips out there (or you can buy a used CD with the song on it, or you can just watch Body Count's 2005 live DVD Live in L.A.). Billboard said neither Ice-T nor manager Jorge Hinojosa would comment on why the song is still not out there.
Read the full article and interviews here.