Rodney King Gets Rap Offer
Eric Wright, the Los Angeles rapper who caused a stir this week by going to a Republican Party fund-raiser attended by President Bush in Washington, plans to invite Rodney G. King to participate in a new version of the rapper’s most controversial song.
Wright, who is the leader of the group N.W.A. and goes professionally by the name Eazy-E, said Monday that he wants to have King--the unarmed black motorist whose videotaped beating has led to a public uproar over brutality by the Los Angeles Police Department--speak his own words in the remake of “F--- tha Police.”
The song, from the rap group’s 1989 hit album “Straight Outta Compton,” was attacked by an FBI official for encouraging violence against police.
“We were criticized a lot when we first released that song, but I guess now after what happened to Rodney King, people might look differently on the situation,” said Wright, who is also planning to stage a benefit concert for King in April in Los Angeles.
“Not all cops are bad, but this kind of harassment has been going on for years in the ghetto. I think we’ll probably call our new version ‘F--- tha Police the King Remix.’ ”
Wright appeared at Monday’s luncheon wearing a T-shirt, a black leather suit and his trademark Los Angeles Raiders cap. Although he didn’t get to meet the President, he mingled for hours with 1,400 other Republican campaign contributors including country singer Randy Travis, NBC weatherman Willard Scott and comic Yakov Smirnoff.
The rapper was one of approximately 10,000 names drawn from a computer list of charity contributors solicited to join the Republican Party’s elite Inner Circle of wealthy financial backers by Texas Sen. Phil Gramm’s office, said a congressional aide who asked not to be identified. He was invited to join the Inner Circle by Republican Senate leader Bob Dole of Kansas after he contributed money to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Wright’s presence at the event sparked criticism from conservatives. Florida anti-obscenity crusader Jack Thompson, the Coral Gables attorney who ignited last year’s legal furor surrounding the Miami rap group 2 Live Crew, voiced outrage that the Republican Party would invite the rapper to the exclusive event.
“I hope Eazy-E embarrasses the hell out of George Bush, whose Justice Department has done absolutely nothing about obscene records being sold to children,” said Thompson.
Wendy Burnley, director of communications for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, acknowledged receiving complaints about Wright, but defended his invitation. It also attracted considerable press, all trying to figure out just how he happened to be invited to the affair.
“We believe that Mr. Wright is not pro-violence or pro-drug and hope that his actions speak louder than his words,” Burnley said, referring to the rapper’s gangster-oriented lyrics. “Whatever the nature of Mr. Wright’s business, he contributed $2,500 to help the Republican Party and he is now a member of the Inner Circle.”
Wright, president of Hollywood-based Ruthless Records, said he was still unsure of why he was invited.
“It’s kind of wild, isn’t it?” Wright said in a phone interview after the luncheon. “I’m not a registered Republican or Democrat. I don’t even vote. I sent them the money because I was curious. As to why I was picked to come down here, to tell you the truth, I still don’t know.”
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