References to King and the riots became a staple in popular culture. Sublime frontman Bradley Nowell penned a song about the riots, "April 29, 1992 (Miami)," that was included on Sublime's self-titled album, the recording that catapulted the band to stardom. The band's catchy punk/ska/reggae blend, reportedly powerful live performances, authenticity, and social consciousness created a devoted following that continued long after the Sublime disbanded. Nowell would never see the album's commercial success, however, as he died of a heroin overdose shortly before the album was released, and the band broke up soon thereafter.
April 29 may not be the best song on the album, but it's timely, was recommended by a reader, and a Sublime lyric has been overdue. So here's a taste (the full lyrics, which include police radio chatter, are here).
April 26th, 1992Although the song is called "April 29, 1992," Nowell sang "April 26th" when the song was recorded and, according to this account, the band kept it because they liked the track.
There was a riot on the streets
Tell me where were you?
You were sittin' home watchin' your TV
While I was paticipatin' in some anarchy.
First spot we hit it was my liqour store.
I finally got all that alcohol I can't afford.
With red lights flashin' time to retire,
And then we turned that liquor store into a structure fire. . . .
They said it was for the black man,
They said it was for the Mexican,
And not for the white man.
But if you look at the streets
It wasn't about Rodney King,
It's 'bout this f**ked up situation
And these f**ked up police.
It's about coming up and staying on top
And screamin' 187 on a mother f**kin' cop. . .