The police are some of the most important people in society.
They keep us safe and enforce the law. But what about their own lives?
What happens when they’re not on duty?
In this list, we take a look at 20 songs about the police force that explore all aspects of their lives, from the good to the bad to the downright hilarious.
Fuck Tha Police – NWA
Fuck the police is a song recorded by the American rap group N.W.A in 1988.
The song is seen as a criticism of the police force and its treatment of African Americans.
It was released on the album Straight Outta Compton and became one of the group’s most popular songs.
The song caused controversy due to its profanity and violence, but it has been praised for its social commentary.
In recent years, it has been re-popularized by films such as Straight Outta Compton and Black Panther.
Despite its offensive language, fuck the police is widely considered to be an important work of political hip hop.
Be Free – J. Cole
Be Free is a song by J. Cole that explores the issue of police brutality in the United States.
The song highlights the devastating effects that police violence has on victims, their families, and entire communities.
Using vivid imagery and stark language, J. Cole depicts the harrowing experiences of those who are targeted and killed by law enforcement, while also calling on listeners to actively speak out and promote change.
With its powerful message and thought-provoking lyrics, Be Free is an important musical composition that shines a light on an ongoing injustice that continues to plague our country.
Black Rage – Lauryn Hill
Black Rage is a powerful and thought-provoking song by Lauryn Hill that explores the ways in which systemic racism impacts individuals and communities.
The song begins with an ominous, chilling beat that evokes feelings of unease and disorientation, reflecting both the deep-seated injustices of racial inequality as well as the possibility for resistance.
Throughout the song, Hill examines different aspects of Black rage, from its origins in the countless indignities experienced by people of color to its potential for catalyzing revolutionary change.
Hell You Talmbout – Janelle Monae
Hell You Talmbout by Janelle Monae is a powerful protest song that confronts the ongoing issues of racial injustice and police brutality in America.
The lyrics are fiery and uncompromising, taking aim at the ways that society devalues black lives and perpetuates discrimination.
In particular, Monae calls out those who have turned a blind eye to these issues, urging them to speak out and take action on behalf of communities affected by these injustices.
Through its raw and powerful message, Hell You Talmbout sends a powerful message about the urgent need to fight for equality and justice in our society.
Sandra’s Smile – Blood Orange
Sandra’s Smile is a heartbreaking tribute to The Police, an iconic rock band comprised of Sting, Stewart Copeland, and Andy Summers.
Written by indie artist Blood Orange, this song honors the group’s lasting influence on modern music and highlights some of their most memorable songs and sounds.
While it is a beautiful tribute to a legendary act, Sandra’s Smile also explores some more complex themes related to identity and reputation.
With its blend of tender vocals and driving melodies, this track manages to encapsulate all of the power and passion that has made The Police one of the most beloved acts in rock history.
Baltimore – Prince ft Eryn Allen Kane
Baltimore is a song by Prince ft Eryn Allen Kane, which draws attention to issues of police violence and racism.
The track opens with haunting vocals by Eryn Allen Kane, who laments the experience of being “black in America” and facing discrimination at every turn.
The lyrics are driven by raw emotion and speak to the heavy toll that institutionalized racism takes on communities.
Throughout the song, Prince also directly addresses police brutality, referencing recent incidents of black men being shot or killed by officers.
The powerful message of Baltimore calls for greater awareness and recognition of the ongoing struggle for equality in our society today.
Cry No More – Rhiannon Giddens
The song “Cry No More” by Rhiannon Giddens is a powerful ballad about the police.
The lyrics tell the story of a young black man who is killed by the police. The song starts with the young man’s mother crying over her son’s body.
She asks why the police had to kill him, and she wonders if her son did something wrong.
The chorus of the song asks the listener to “cry no more” for the young man.
The lyrics also describe the fear that black people have of the police.
The song ends with the young man’s mother asking for justice for her son.
“Cry No More” is a moving and important song about the relationship between black people and the police.
16 Shots – Vic Mensa
16 Shots is a song by American rapper Vic Mensa, released in July 2016.
The song is about the police shooting of LaQuan McDonald, which occurred in Chicago in October 2014.
Mensa was one of the protesters who marched in the streets after the release of the video of the shooting, and he drew on that experience for the song.
The lyrics are critical of the police, accusing them of using excessive force and calling for justice for McDonald.
Mensa also addresses the issue of racial bias in policing, rapping that “16 shots, that’s a racist math.”
The song was widely acclaimed by critics, who praised its political message and Mensa’s lyrical skills.
It was included on several year-end lists of best songs, and won Best Rap Performance at the 2018 Grammy Awards.
Black America Again – Common ft Stevie Wonder
“Black America Again” by Common ft. Stevie Wonder is a powerful song that speaks to the systemic injustices and struggles facing Black Americans in today’s society.
The lyrics paint a vivid picture of the everyday struggles faced by the Black community, from racial profiling, harassment, and violence to inequality in schools and workplaces.
But at the same time, the song also serves as a call to action for all people who support equality and justice.
Through its strong message and inspiring lyrics, “Black America Again” serves as an important anthem for all those fighting for justice and progress in our country.
Formation – Beyonce
The song “Formation” by Beyoncé is a commentary on the relationship between the police and the African-American community.
The opening verse discusses the death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed by a Neighborhood Watch volunteer in 2012.
The chorus asks the question, “Do you think you’re smart enough to rap this hard?”, which is a reference to the popular “diss tracks” that were created in response to Martin’s death.
Spiritual – Jay Z
Spiritual is an iconic song by Jay Z that touches on various issues related to society and the criminal justice system.
The main theme of the song is police brutality and its negative impact on disenfranchised communities.
Throughout the track, Jay Z uses vivid imagery and poignant lyrics to communicate his message in a powerful and moving way.
He uses similes to describe the experiences of individuals who are targeted by law enforcement, comparing these individuals to “an old man bleeding out his gums” and portraying their encounters with the police as bleak and horrifying.
Power – Rapsody ft Kendrick
Rapsody’s song “Power” featuring Kendrick Lamar is a haunting track that tells the story of police brutality from the perspective of those who have been affected by it.
The song opens with a powerful monologue from Rapsody, in which she speaks about the fear that comes with being a black person in America.
She talks about the feeling of being constantly watched and judged, and how this can lead to a sense of powerlessness.
Kendrick Lamar then takes over, and his verses are equally as impactful.
Don’t Don’t Do It! – NERD ft Kendrick Lamar
Don’t Do It! is a catchy, self-empowering song by the electro-rap duo NERD, featuring the rapper Kendrick Lamar.
The lyrics are a rallying cry for young people to resist abusive authority figures and stand up for their rights. In particular, the chorus of this song encourages listeners to “enforce their will,” “restrain from things that’ll kill them” and fight back against unjust laws and punishments.
This message is especially relevant in today’s social climate, as police brutality continues to be a major concern across the country.
Whatever your political views may be, Don’t Do It! is a powerful anthem that inspires us all to take control of our own destinies and stand up for what we believe in.
Nothin New – 21 Savage
The song “Nothing New” by 21 Savage explores the difficult relationship between the police and marginalized communities.
Drawing on his own experiences growing up in Atlanta, 21 Savage takes a critical look at the ways in which mass incarceration targets young Black men, while also criticizing the ways in which law enforcement often uses brutal tactics to exert control over people of color.
By raising important issues about policing and criminal justice, this song sends an important message to listeners, reminding us that we must work together to create a safer, more just society for all people.
Cops Shot the Kid – Nas
In “Cops Shot the Kid”, rapper Nas addresses the issue of police brutality.
The song begins with a description of a young black man who is stopped by the police for no apparent reason.
The man is compliant and does not resist, but the police open fire anyway, killing him.
The song then goes on to recount a number of other instances in which unarmed black men were killed by police officers. In each case, the officers were not held accountable for their actions.
These shootings are often justified as “accidents” or “mistakes”, but Nas argues that they are part of a larger pattern of systemic racism within law enforcement.
I Fought The Law – The Clash
I Fought The Law is a classic rock song by the British punk rock band The Clash.
It tells the story of a conflicted young man who becomes embroiled in the criminal underworld against his better judgment.
He feels that he has no choice but to “fight the law” in order to survive and protect his loved ones.
Despite his struggles, the protagonist succeeds in defeating the forces of prohibition and emerges victorious in the end.
This song is a powerful representation of the constant struggle between authority and individual liberty, and it continues to resonate with listeners today.
I Shot The Sheriff – Eric Clapton
“I Shot the Sheriff” is a 1974 song by Bob Marley and the Wailers. The song was included on the Wailers’ album, Burnin’.
The song became widely popular after it was covered by Eric Clapton in 1974.
“I Shot the Sheriff” is a song about a man who shoots and kills the town sheriff.
The man claims that he is innocent and that the sheriff was “the one who shot my poor daddy down.”
Marley’s original version of the song is written in the first person, from the perspective of the man who killed the sheriff.
However, Clapton’s cover changes the perspective to the third person.
Highway Patrolman – Johnycash
Highway Patrolman is a song written by American musician Bruce Springsteen.
The song was released as the fourth single from Springsteen’s album Nebraska in October 1982.
The song peaked at number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1983.
The song is about a police officer who, despite being corrupt and engaging in criminal activities, is ultimately a good man at heart.
The officer’s brother is a criminal who has been killed by the police.
The officer is struggling to make ends meet and support his family.
Despite his profession, he is not a bad guy.
Sounds Of Da Police – KRS-One
Sounds of da Police by KRS-One is a powerful track that explores themes of police brutality, awareness and resistance.
Over a sparse beat, KRS-One offers a critical look at the ways in which the police operate in our society.
He highlights not only the violence that often goes unchecked on our streets, but also the problematic nature of police culture itself.
Through his lyrics, KRS shows us just how pervasive these issues are, and calls on us all to take action and speak out against them.
Whether you’re listening to this song for the first time or have heard it countless times before, Sounds of da Police is a must-hear track for anyone concerned about social justice and equality in our world.
Dream Police – Cheap Trick
Dream Police is a song by the rock band Cheap Trick that explores the idea of a police force dedicated to policing people’s dreams.
This concept taps into the fears and anxieties many people have about their unconscious minds, and highlights how easily our desires and hopes can be distorted by our subconscious thoughts.
By depicting this dark and surreal world, Dream Police also creates an evocative contrast with our waking reality.
Overall, the song serves as a commentary on the ways in which our dreams can both harm and heal us.