In New York the shooting of another unarmed black man raises further questions about NYPD tactics
On Friday an undercover policeman shot and killed Patrick Doorsman.

Murder is murder
Why're they confused?
Another man dead
I read it in the news
Who gave them the fucking right
To run around like they own the night?

Oh bang! bang!
Oh oh bang! bang!
Oh oh bang! bang!
Oh oh bang! bang!

Wrong fucking time
Wrong fucking place
There is no fucking way
This is not about race
Who's gonna call 9-1-1
When they can't tell a wallet
From a mother fucking gun?

Oh bang! bang!
Oh oh bang! bang!
Oh oh bang! bang!
Oh oh bang! bang!

Bang bang daddy I want you dead
Bang bang daddy get out of my head
Bang bang daddy I want you dead
Bring me Giuliani's head

Oh bang! bang!
Oh oh bang! bang!
Oh oh bang! bang!
Oh oh bang! bang!


Lyrics submitted by brick

Bang! Bang! song meanings
Add your thoughts

24 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +1
    General CommentI actually did research on this song as a small part of a larger presentation on racial profiling- it's absolutely not about the police shooting a guy for being gay, as is evident from the content of the song- "There's no fucking way this is not about race."



    This song is important in times when police brutality is sparked in any way by unjust racial prejudices, and was especially relevant at the time it was released because of the NYPD Street Crime Unit that was created under Mayor Guiliani during the late 1990's. The controversial Street Crime Unit was a force of plainclothes police who were involved in matters involving gangs and violence and were highly criticized for using unduly violent measures, especially in the case of Amadou Diallo.

    Diallo was a 23 year old immigrant from Guinea who had come to New York City to study computer sciences. He was walking back from breakfast one day in 1999 when several plainclothes men of the Street Crimes Unit accosted and shouted at him. He apparently fit the loose description of a serial rapist who was then on the loose (he has since been captured). They yelled for him to hold still, but Diallo reached for and took out his wallet, presumably to show the policement his ID. The police mistook his wallet for a gun and fired 41 shots at him- that is the significance of the countdown at the end of this song. Diallo, of course, died. The officers involved were acquitted of all charges. Diallo's parents accepted a settlement from the US government and have since become activists.


    Once the people learned of the death of this "unarmed immigrant", public outrage mounted and the already fed-up people of New York City conducted massive protests and demonstrations; criticism both within New York City and outside of it maligned the Street Crimes Unit, the policemen involved, and excessive racial profiling in general. Riots in New York City lead to the arrests of over 1700 citizens.


    The Street Crimes Unit was disbanded in 2002 because of all of the negative publicity coming from the Amadou Diallo incident as well as SEVERAL other similar incidents in which they injured or killed innocent victims. The death of Amadou Diallo has since become an event of monumental significance for the city of New York and the movement against unnecessary racial profiling and police brutality, much like the Rodney King incident, amongst many others. Amadou Diallo is the subject of or is mentioned in several works of music, literature, film, and art; notably songs, books and films by Wyclef Jean, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Spike Jonze, Common, Bruce Springsteen, Dave Eggers, Erykah Badu, Leftover Crack, Le Tigre, and many many others.



    I got a lot of this information from wikipedia; you can look up this event in any news archive or database, and in many books about police brutality, civil rights, the ACLU, the NAACP, and racial profiling.


    RIP Amadou Diallo
    calculationson April 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song kicks major ass.
    THEBagelon June 28, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree
    politicalscratchon July 17, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentle tigre is rad. i
    plastic tiaraon July 20, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentKickin song!!
    SlitTigreon September 09, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe second chorus always gives me shivers
    Amviseonon October 22, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwow this song is dissin all over the NYPD police. One of my favorite songs from Le Tigre (i just started listenin to em) Anyone know why she hates em?
    DuTcHoVeNon November 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDutchOven, I think that it is more about the police forces in general, not just in NYC. It's not just minorities that use drugs and commit crimes, but police (and public) perception believes otherwise. I think this song is critical of the violent racism inherent in (and furthered by) racial profiling.
    jadepnk06on December 07, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is great. I love le tigre because there lyrics are really strong, and not just nihilistic or simply catchy. Well, heres what i got from this song.
    This murder isent just about NYPD, its more about the line between law enforcement and goverment enforcers is very thin, and that without constant checks by people the goverment can do whatever.
    "Murder is murder
    Why're they confused?"
    thats basicaly saying that hey, look, dosent matter if you call it self defence, policing or whatever, when you kill someone its murder, plain and SIMPLE.
    "Another man dead
    I read it in the news
    Who gave them the fucking right
    To run around like they own the night?"
    "another man dead" refers to the possibility thats there has been many. "I read it in the news" demonstrates the distance between people getting blown away in the streets from the average person.
    "Who gave them the fucking right
    To run around like they own the night?"
    This is refering to, well people that just sit there and read the news and dont do something about it. Law enforcement is suposed to be for the people, by the people. But its not JUST that, its also how (or who) let things get this far, I mean after in the song the NYPD just changes its official statement. You have to remmeber these events of Patrick and of Diallo really did happen (for those who dont know, for those who do, sorry for being redundant.)
    "Wrong fucking time
    Wrong fucking place
    There is no fucking way
    This is not about race"
    Like, hey wake up NYPD, you cant say that it was just unfortunate circumstances that led to these peoples MURDERS.
    "Who's gonna call 9-1-1
    When they can't tell a wallet
    From a mother fucking gun?"
    so whos going to call the protection when they cant protect?

    the rest basicaly bashes gulliani baby, but, the most important part of the whole song is when they count up to 41. It puts in perspective just how many bullets where shot at Diallo.

    Everyone should read up on current events.
    cf_blinkon December 10, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe count to forty-one at the end is chilling, to say the least. the song is fairly straight-forward: open your eyes, this is what's going on, get active and DO something about it.
    tripolion December 16, 2004   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain