Squeeze The Trigger

Album: Rhyme Pays (1987)
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Songfacts®:

  • One of the earliest West Coast gangsta rap tracks, "Squeeze The Trigger" finds Ice-T blasting away at cops and privileged politicians who will never understand the poor, but blame them for society's ills.

    Ice-T wasn't some teenager speaking his truth; he was nearly 30 years old when he released this track, and had served four years in the US Army. He saw a market for this kind of song, and filled it on his first album, the aptly titled Rhyme Pays. He was never in a gang, but he did grow up in rough section of Los Angeles and ran in those circles. His talent was in narrating the stories surrounding the culture.
  • There are gun references all over this track, but no details on what he's shooting at. This wasn't the case four years later with "Cop Killer," which Ice-T released with his metal group, Body Count. In that song, the target is clear, which didn't sit well with police groups and conservative politicians. Ice-T spent a lot of time explaining that just because he's rapping bout crime, it doesn't mean he's or condoning it.
  • Ice-T wrote this with his producer, Afrika Islam, who gave it a techno sound. Islam was part of Afrika Bambaataa's Zulu Nation, and was influenced by the "Planet Rock" DJ.
  • Producers of the 1988 movie Colors asked Ice-T to use this in the film, as it depicts the kind of gang activity central to the film. Ice took the opportunity to upsell them. "We saw the screening, and we asked about the title song," he said in a Songfacts interview. "They had a record by Rick James called 'Colors,' and if you listen to the Colors soundtrack, the last song on the B-side is Rick James singing 'Colors.' It's like, 'Look at all these colors...' It was horrible. Me and Islam were like, 'We can make a song. I'm from the LA gang culture.' We went into the studio, made a song, and submitted it."

    The "Colors theme" ended up being Ice-T's biggest hit.

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