AmeriKKKas Most Wanted- by Ice Cube


Land of the free- the killers


The album that THE LAND OF THE FREE is featured in is called ALL AMERIKKKAN BADASS. The three Ks in the title was what initially peaked my interest and drove me to start doing research since it was such an interesting addition. Joey had mentioned the KKK in his song and I knew that he was listening to speeches by Doctor Umar Johnson and Malcom X before writing the lyrics, but I needed to find a song that possibly also influenced him. I decided to type “Amerikkka” into Spotify’s search engine to see what would pop up. And that’s when I found the song by Ice Cube.  His song AmeriKKKas Most Wanted is also the title of his first solo studio album produced in 1990. Even if you have never listened to rap before you know who Ice Cube is, and I could definitely see how maybe his music affected Joey Bada$$ 27 years later. This theme of using the KKK to represent America is definitely not a new one. There are a plethora of songs and playlists that have three Ks in America. Without even looking at the music and lyrics it automatically gives the listener an idea of the subject matter and emotions within the song. Ice Cube’s song is mainly about the racism and corruption seen in cops, more specifically the LAPD and NYPD.  Genius lyrics states that the album as a whole “represents the white supremist ideologies within America”. 

From here it isn’t difficult to jump to Joey Bada$$ and LAND OF THE FREE. White supremacy and racism are huge themes within his song, but he doesn’t just talk about the cops. For Joey its everything that is happening in America, from the Election of Donald Trump to the fact that black people “still got the last names of our slave owners”.

Joey says about his lyrics, “It’s funny because a kid came up to me, this really small kid, he was probably 7 or 8, and he was like, “Joey I heard your new song. Three K’s, two A’s in AmeriKKKa,” and that just keeps playing in my head. Like, “Wow. That kid is going to forever grow up and know that America because of me.”

Going back to what we discussed in class, there might be many people who see America as a wonderful place with nice people and beautiful land, like in Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land”, but there is another side to that coin that few people flip over. There is a very real and large portion of the US that see the hidden lyrics of Woody Guthrie’s song and know that America only likes you if you’re white and rich. Joey is showing that side in his song, he is telling people about the country that he sees. 

The third song is The Land of the Free by the Killers, which came out in 2019. I chose this song because I liked the juxtaposition of genres and wanted to ascertain what the Killers, an alternative and all white band, think the land of the free is. While a different, more sorrowful sound, the ideas are not that much different. In this Rolling Stone article the band discusses how the song was written in response to gun violence and President Trumps border wall. In a revised version the song is more specifically about the murder of George Floyd. In all of these songs America is hypocritical and not at all what some people would have you believe. They all seem to have an answer to the question, “Is America really the land of the free?”. And I think they would all answer no.