Home Invasion – How Rap Shaped How I See The World (Part 1)

I was considering the title “Higher Learning” for this article, inspired by John Singleton’s movie about race relations at the fictional Columbus University in Los Angeles (By the way, fuck Christopher Columbus!), but I decided to change it to “Home Invasion,” which is the title of an album by Ice T.

And no, I’m not confusing Ice Cube and Ice T. The album cover actually represents the story of my life. But we can discuss that further when we talk about Ice T in the future.

ice-t home invasion
© Priority Records

The title itself signifies how your safe space is invaded. For me, my safe space was invaded when I started listening to rap. Suddenly, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows once I put on my headphones and heard firsthand experiences of injustice that I wasn’t aware of.

The basic idea for this article was born last year, in June 2020, but the topic meant too much for me to simply write it down and cope with my feelings by saving it on my MacBook. I knew that one day I would release it, and I’m glad I found the right outlet for it.

It was the summer of 2020, and people were angry. Most people were not surprised by what happened because we had read about it before. We either listened to what our friends experienced or we had the “honor” of experiencing racism firsthand ourselves. Shout out to all my survivors reading this.

So, I was watching Dave Chappelle’s 8:46 Special on Netflix. These are strange times, he said. But he also mentioned that “we” had been talking about these issues for a long time. Many people and musicians had spoken up. That’s what we’re going to discuss today.

I was on sick leave and spent the whole day in bed, only getting up to go to a doctor’s appointment. I didn’t read Hypebeast or check Instagram or any social media. But I read the news and what the news didn’t cover: cops torturing and killing people, cops driving their cars into protesters, racist violence… It messed me up. It messed me up so much. Whenever I’m feeling down, I usually try to fill that void in my heart by buying something nice to wear, but this time I decided against it and donated the money. Fashion doesn’t matter right now. It’s bullshit. We don’t need that when people are dying. I cried and talked to my friends, who were also crying. I was angry, and so were my friends.

We shared memories, and even though my father is brown and their parents are yellow, black, and even white, we shared the same memories. It feels good to have someone to talk to while the world is on fire.

The thing is, it has always been like this. As someone in my 30s, I remember events like Lichtenhagen, Mölln, Alberto Adriano, and NSU. For me, those are not just news stories or forgotten facts from newspapers. As the son of a “bi-racial” couple, that’s my history. It affects me every day.

My mother called me to talk about that one time I visited them back when I was a student, around 2013. We started watching movies together, and after some binge-watching, I decided to crash in my old room and drive straight to the university in the morning. After a nice breakfast around 9 am, I left and returned fifteen minutes later in a police car. They had stopped me at the end of the cul-de-sac where my parents lived because I looked suspicious. They searched my car and found nothing but my university books. Then they asked for my urine sample, right there in public, on the street where I grew up (which is a nice neighborhood,everybody has a garden). Neighbors started looking out of their windows. I refused to comply, and they drove me 100 meters down the street in the car to my parents’ house. They parked their VW bus in front of our house, with one of them standing at our door while the others watched. After half an hour, they told me I was clean. That was considered lucky. Instances like this happen on a regular basis.

In my Afro-German Literature class, a German girl once told my black professor that she would never let the police treat her disrespectfully. My professor replied, “You’d end up torched to death in a jail cell.” Rest in Peace, Ouri Jalloh.

Music has always helped me cope with these experiences. As a child, I didn’t know any other non-white children. There were none at my school. I met my first black friends when I attended Hip Hop Jams. And my brother gave me my first Hip Hop CD because a German band mentioned Che Guevara in one of their songs. Through the first “Freundeskreis” album, I learned about Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Since I was a kid, I’ve always looked up to Tupac and Ice Cube. I guess it’s because, with them being movie stars too, they were “available” on VHS as well. Rap has always been there for me. When I had nobody who listened to me, I had Tupac, Chuck D, and Ice Cube.


I think you’re starting to understand what this is all about: the power of music, the power of feeling understood. Let me share with you some essential songs that have shaped my mind and made me aware of topics that are more relevant today than ever. Perhaps we can make it a regular column, right?

Let’s start with Ice Cube. After splitting from N.W.A., Cube became political. It’s worth noting that his first solo album, “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted,” was produced by the Bomb Squad, who also produced for “Public Enemy.” In the N.W.A. biopic, Cube recorded “No Vaseline” in their studio. That’s when his music changed. He started dropping knowledge, expressing his anger.

In 1992, Ice Cube released his third album, “The Predator,” just after the Rodney King Riots. Rodney King was brutally beaten by police officers, and a resident captured the incident on video. The officers involved were not found guilty when they were put on trial. This sparked riots in Los Angeles from April 29th to May 4th, 1992. The city burned, and many lives were lost.


While I didn’t witness what happened in Los Angeles after the Rodney King beating live on TV, I was five years old at the time. But when the city of Angels was burning, thousands of miles away, ten-year-old Yeliz Arslan, 14-year-old Ayse Yilmaz, and 51-year-old Bahide Arslan burned to death, and nine others were severely injured because some members of the “master race” decided that Turkish houses should be torched. That hit close to home, right here in Germany.

That same year, three thousand onlookers applauded Nazis throwing Molotov cocktails at a building with one hundred Vietnamese people, including a German TV team inside.


This continued for several days, with the onlookers blocking the fire department from extinguishing the fires. The police were busy arresting Antifa members who had come from all over Germany to defend the Vietnamese. Pogroms were happening in Germany once again. And let’s not forget Solingen, where five Turkish girls and women died in a fire attack, with 14 others wounded. Germany was in turmoil. We were afraid. And that fear has never completely gone away. Whenever I felt scared as a child, I turned to rap. Rap became the voice of the oppressed, a source of power. The fear that was ignited back then didn’t arise out of nowhere. Similar incidents occurred before and after. It’s a frightening reality that persists every day.

Speaking of fear, imagine how afraid white people in the US must have been when a car drove by blaring songs like “When Will They Shoot” and “We Had to Tear This Muthafucka Up.” How terrified must they have been to hear Cube’s voice coming from their children’s bedrooms? Cube wasn’t just rapping; he was angry, he was preaching, and he was ready to take action.

In this piece, we will focus on the year 1992, particularly the LA Riots and Cube’s album “The Predator.” We have many more historical lessons ahead of us, but let’s start here.

Now, let’s delve into two of my favorite songs from this groundbreaking album that even our dear Leonardo DiCaprio describes as “the voice of the angry and unheard during the ’90s.”

We had to tear this Muthafucka up

(“Peace, quiet and good order will be maintained in our city

To the best of our ability. Riots, melees and disturbances

Of the peace are against the interests of all our people; and

Therefore cannot be permitted.”)

(“The jury found that they were all not guilty, not guilty…”)

(“We’ve been told that all along Crenshaw Boulevard, that there’s a series of fires. A lot of looting is going on. A disaster area, obviously.”)

(“The jury found that they were all not guilty, not guilty…”)


The song brings you straight into the L.A. Riots starting out with a sample of the jury not finding the police officers who beat Rodney King almost to death guilty of any crime. What a way to start a song…

Cube‘s first words in the Song are „Make it rough“. And that’s what this content will be. Rough.

Go to Simi Valley and surely

Somebody knows the address of the jury

Pay a little visit, “Who is it?” (Ohh it’s Ice Cube)

“Can I talk to the grand wizard,” then boom!!

Simi Valley is a neighborhood where most of the jury and the accused police were living. Sounds fishy that they were not found guilty, isn’t it?

Well, Ice Cube is on his way to visit the “Grand Wizard“, which is the highest ranking position in the KKK. You see the connection?

N***** ain’t buyin, ya story, bore me

Tearin up shit with fire, shooters, looters

Now I got a laptop computer

And I know white men can’t dunk, now I’m stealin blunts

And a cake from Betty Crocker, Orville Reddenbacher

Don’t fuck with the black-owned stores but hit the Foot Lockers

Steal, motherfuck Fire Marshall Bill

Oh what the hell, throw the cocktail, I smell smoke

Got the fuck out, Ice Cube lucked out

My n**** had his truck out, didn’t get stuck out

In front of that store with the Nikes and Adidas

Oh Jesus, Western Surplus got the heaters


You’ve seen it over the last year: bUt wHy Do thEY hAve tO LoOT aNd sTeal?!? Fuck you, that’s why. 

Centuries of oppression but you see billboards advertising a life that’s not for you?

How can you blame somebody who’s been fed up all his life to act like this? Fuck a store. The people need justice.

But now to my favorite song of the album:

When will they shoot

Will they do me like Malcolm?

‘Cause I bust styles, new styles

Standin’ strong, while others run a hundred miles

But I never run, never will

Deal with the devil with my motherfuckin’ steel – Boom!

Cube plays with a possible outcome of his anger and his position as the voice of the oppressed. Will he end up like Malcolm X? Shot to death because of his fight against injustice?

He even sneaks in a nice little diss directed towards his former crew NWA who released their EP “100 Miles and runnin’” in 1990. Cube won’t run from the police anymore. He will stand.

Media tried to do me

But I was a boy in the hood before the movie, yeah

Call me n****, bigot, and a s****

But you the one that voted for Duke, motherfucker

White man is somethin’ I tried to study

But I got my hands bloody, yeah

Who is Duke?


David Duke, Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, campaigned as a presidential nominee in 1988 and one year later successfully ran in the election for a seat in the Louisiana House.

I thought they was buggin’

‘Cause to us, Uncle Sam is Hitler without an oven

Burnin’ our black skin

Buy my neighborhood, then push the crack in

Doin’ us wrong from the first day

And don’t understand why a n**** got an AK

Callin’ me an African-American

Like everything is fair again, shit

Devil, you got to get the shit right I’m black

Blacker than a trillion midnights

Don’t Believe the Hype+ was said in ’88

By the great Chuck D, now they’re tryin to fuck me

“ ‘Cause to us Uncle Sam is Hitler without an oven“.

Woah. Is there a more hardcore sentence in Rap?

But think about it. Remember the genocide of the native people. 500 nations with a rich history reduced to being “indian“. Their culture being destroyed, their children taken away, their people poisoned with “firewater“. Around 11.7% of all deaths among Native Americans and Alaska Natives are alcohol related. Compared to that about 5.9% of all deaths worldwide are related to alcohol.

Think about that.

Think about Japanese-Americans in camps during World War 2. Think about the children detained by ICE who are being put in cages right now. Children of my color. The age of my nephews and niece.

Remember 400 years of slavery… and now you wonder why people carry AKs.

“But hey, let’s scrap the term colored and call them African-Americans. Now we’re square, ok? Everything good again?“

While listening to the song again, I thought about some stuff I saw over the last weeks. Nice that old TV shows are being taken off streaming services for being insensitive. Nice that politics kneeled for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Racism solved. Thanks for nothing.

Cube will stay blacker than a trillion midnights. People should definitely listen to Chuck D more often.

It’s a great day for genocide (What’s that?)

That’s the day all the n***** died

They killed JFK in sixty-three

So what the fuck you think they’ll do to me?

But I’m the OG and I bust back (Boom, boom!)

Fuck a devil, fuck a rebel, and a Yankee

Overrun and put the Presidency

After needin that, I’m down with OPP, yeah

Cube again plays with the thought of being killed. He compares himself to John F. Kennedy. We know how everything worked out for JFK. With a bullet in his head. Cube knows that him speaking out might lead to his death.

“Fuck a devil, fuck a rebel, and Yankee“. Whether it’s open racism in the South (The Confederates identified themselves as rebels) or the racism happening in the North (the so called Yankees), Cube doesn’t see a difference. Is somebody less racist because he’s not saying it out loud? Hell no.

The KKK has got three-piece suits

Daryl Gates got the studio surrounded

‘Cause he don’t like the n***** that I’m down with

Motherfucker wanna do us

‘Cause I like Nat, Huey, Malcolm, and Louis

Most got done by a black man’s bullet

Give a trigger to a nigga and watch him pull it

Negro assassin

I’ma dig a ditch, bitch, and throw yo’ ass in

When they shoot, no, it won’t be a cracker

They use somebody much blacker

What I do? I called up the Geto Boy crew

‘Cause my mind’s playin’ tricks on me, too (Yeah)


Darryl Gates was the chief of police during the riots. Cube knows he’s after him because of his views. Views sharped by Nat Turner, who led a slave rebellion in 1831, Huey Newton, who started the Black Panther Party with Bobby Seale in 1966, Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam (fyi: Farrakhan is a racist and antisemite. Fuck him).

Nice Geto Boys reference, btw.

Never died, surround my crib

And FOI makin’ sure nobody creep when I sleep

Keep a nine millimeter in my Jeep (What?)

Peep when I roll, I gots to roll deep

Ain’t goin out cheap

Met the MADD Circle on Cypress Hill ’cause it’s so steep

They’ll never get me, they’ll never hit me

Motherfuck that shit, J-Dee

Now I’m relaxed

Grab the St. Ides brew so I can max

Sittin’ by the window ’cause it’s so fuckin’ hot

And then I heard a shot, boom

At the end of the day, Cube now relies on the protection of the FOI, the Fruit of Islam, the paramilitary wing of the Nation of Islam. He also keeps a gun on him. Remember the photo of Malcolm X with a rifle watching out of the window? He knows how he will go out. Assassinated by his window. Just like Martin Luther King on his balcony.

Like all brave people who want change go out like this.

Listening to these songs and reading the lyrics evokes a range of emotions. KRS-One often referred to “edutainment”—education through entertainment. Take a moment to let it all sink in and reflect on the fact that “The Predator” was released 29 years ago in 1992, yet it remains as relevant as ever. Let’s hope that this time, some meaningful change will come when people who have had enough rise up.

We’ll see. But for now, I hope you’ve gained some insight, and remember that whenever you’re feeling down and fed up, your comrades are just a click away on Spotify. Get active, my friends. Fight the power. Together, we can be the change. And if you ever feel worried, just put on your headphones, and Cube will march right by your side in his “big, black boots.”

Welcome to “Home Invasion” with Caiza.