The Iceberg/Freedom Of Speech... Just Watch What You Say!
The album was released after Ice-T had been encountering censorship problems on tour. In The Ice Opinion: Who Gives a Fuck?, the rapper states that "People had already told me what I could not say onstage in Columbus, Georgia. You couldn't say anything they called a 'swear' word. You couldn't touch yourself. They were using the same tactics they used on everyone from Elvis and Jim Morrison to 2 Live Crew".
The album's cover, featuring a B-boy with a shotgun shoved in his mouth, and two pistols pressed against each side of his head, reflected Ice-T's experiences with the concept of freedom of speech. "The concept of that picture is, 'Go ahead and say what you want. But here comes the government and here come the parents, and they are ready to destroy you when you open your mouth'".
"Shut Up, Be Happy" consists of a spoken word performance by Jello Biafra laid over a sample of the low, heavy, distorted guitar from Black Sabbath's "Black Sabbath". "The Iceberg" alternates between typical violent metaphor, outlandish boasts, and comical sexual situations involving other members of Ice's Rhyme Syndicate. "Lethal Weapon" tells listeners that the mind is the most powerful weapon:
|“||"The Weapon power has been witnessed upon my page/From Martin Luther's dream, to Hitler's psycho rage."||”|
"You Played Yourself" advises listeners to be smart and not let themselves "be played". "Peel Their Caps Back" is about committing a drive-by to avenge a slain friend. Unlike other songs where violence is a metaphor for the rapper's ability to defeat other rappers lyrically, this song is a stark depiction of what could lead to such an event. However, it contains two surprising elements: in the end, the main character is killed, and the whole event is written off by the media as just another gang killing.
In "The Girl Tried to Kill Me", Ice-T raps about an encounter with a dominatrix:
|“||"Said she wanted to take me home to make love / Now that's the kind of rap that brothers dream of / I said, "Fast, slow, hard or soft, baby?" / She said, "All the above!"||”|
"Black and Decker" starts off with Rhyme Syndicate members complaining about the media's portrayal of their work as meaningless violence. Ice wonders aloud what it would sound like if you drilled into someone's head with a powerdrill. After some gory sound effects, Ice says "Probably sound like that." "Hit the Deck" offers sincere advice to wannabe-MCs:
|“||"But if it's in your heart, get a pen / Don't stop writing til the inkflow ends / Work and work and don't halfstep / Dog the mic every chance you get."||”|
"This One's for Me" offers Ice's take on the rap scene and music industry. "The Hunted Child" is a first-person account of a scared young gang-banger on the run. The busy, multi-layered composition, with its scratched sirens and staccato drums, samples Public Enemy's "Bring the Noise".
"What Ya Wanna Do" is a 9-minute party song featuring several members of the Syndicate, including a young Everlast, who became famous as a member of House of Pain. "Freedom of Speech" was one of the first raps to focus on the First Amendment and in particular attacked Tipper Gore's PMRC with unmistakable venom:
|“||"Hey PMRC, you stupid fuckin' assholes / The sticker on the record is what makes 'em sell gold / Can't you see, you alcoholic idiots / The more you try to suppress us, the larger we get."||”|
The album ends with in "My Word is Bond", featuring Syndicate members telling one exaggerated story after another against a looped sample of Slick Rick saying "Stop lying" from his song "La Di Da Di".
Ice-T – Freedom of Speech Lyrics
Album: The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech
Song: Freedom of Speech
A-yo Ice, man. I'm working on this term paper for college. What's the
Freedom of Speech, that's some motherfuckin' bullshit
You say the wrong thing, they'll lock your ass up quick
The FCC says "Profanity - No Airplay"?
They can suck my dick while I take a shit all day
Think I give a fuck about some silly bitch named Gore?
Yo PMRC, here we go, raw
Yo Tip, what's the matter? You ain't gettin' no dick?
You're bitchin' about rock'n'roll, that's censorship, dumb bitch
The Constitution says we all got a right to speak
Say what we want Tip, your argument is weak
Censor records, TV, school books too
And who decides what's right to hear? You?
Hey PMRC, you stupid fuckin' assholes
The sticker on the record is what makes 'em sell gold
Can't you see, you alcoholic idiots
The more you try to suppress us, the larger we get
[You have the right to remain silent]
Fuck that right! I want the right to talk
I want the right to speak, I want the right to walk
Where I wanna, yell and I'm gonna
Tell and rebel every time I'm on a
Microphone on the stage cold illin'
The knowledge I drop will be heard by millions
We ain't the problems, we ain't the villains
It's the suckers deprivin' the truth from our children
You can't hide the fact, Jack
There's violence in the streets every day, any fool can recognise that
But you try to lie and lie
And say America's some motherfuckin' apple pie
Yo, you gotta be high to believe that
You're gonna change the world by a sticker on a record sleeve
Cos once you take away my right to speak
Everybody in the world's up shit creek
Let me tell you about down south
Where a motherfucker might as well not even have a mouth
Columbus, Georgia, said they'd lock me up
If I got on the stage in my show and said "Fuck"
So I thought for a minute and said "No
I wasn't even gonna do a damned show"
Cos for me to change my words from my rhymes
Is never gonna happen cos there's no sell outs on mine
But I vowed to get those motherfuckers one day
They even arrested Bobby Brown and Cool J
Yo, they got their's comin', cos I'm mad and I'm gunnin'
Homeboys, and there's no runnin'
I'm gonna tell you how I feel about you
No bull, no lies, no slack, just straight fact
Columbus, Georgia, you can suck my dick
You ain't nothin' but a piece of fuckin' shit on the damned map
Freedom of Speech, let 'em take it from me
Next they'll take it from you, then what you gonna do?
Let 'em censor books, let 'em censor art
PMRC, this is where the witch hunt starts
You'll censor what we see, we read, we hear, we learn
The books will burn
You better think it out
We should be able to say anything, our lungs were meant to shout
Say what we feel, yell out what's real
Even though it may not bring mass appeal
Your opinion is yours, my opinion is mine
If you don't like what I'm sayin'? Fine
But don't close it, always keep an open mind
A man who fails to listen is blind
We only got one right left in the world today
Let me have it or throw The Constitution away
Outro (Jello Biafra)
What they're trying to do with radio, with this, uh, McCarran-Walter Act and a lot of other ways, is start by saying that they're protecting the public from wicked rock bands, or girlie magazines, or whatever. But, if you follow the chain of dominoes that falls down what they're really trying to do is shut off our access to information itself.
If they can't do it by law they know there's other ways to do it