4
| Lists |

April 29, 1992: Ten Songs About The L.A Riots

^
Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

It was 19 years ago today that the Los Angeles riots began after four white police officers, caught on videotape beating the African-American Rodney King after a drug-fueled high-speed chase, were acquitted by a Simi Valley, Calif. jury.

The rest of the world watched in shock and sadness as buildings were burned, people of all races beat one another (some to death) and local businesses across South Central L.A. were looted and ravaged in retaliation for what was perceived as an unfair verdict.

Musicians, at least, chose to take their frustrations on the incidents out in a studio and not in the streets. A glut of songs were released in the wake of the riots tried to make some sort of sense of what happened that week.

Today, the physical scars on the city of L.A. are largely gone, but the emotional scars on the people who lived through nearly a week of mayhem remain. Although many believe that the country is on the brink of something of this magnitude or worse almost daily, it was the last big violent uprising in American history.

At the time, rap music was still very much known as the "Black CNN," so Ice-T, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube were some of the first artists to get their words down with beats attached. Since the riots were very much centered on the predominately black parts of L.A., those rappers had a very inside perspective of what occurred that week.

Punks and metalheads lived in those same poor neighborhoods so they also were effected, and bands like Sublime, Bad Religion, and others would release songs about what they saw. This wasn't just a black issue, it was a people issue in L.A. Everyone was touched by the events, some more than others.

Even Tom Petty wrote a song about the riots, "Peace In L.A."


Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.