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The 100 Best L.A. Rap Songs

27. Toddy Tee "Batterram" (1985)

Album: Single
Label: Epic
Producer: Leon Haywood


Let's face it: LAPD Police Chief Daryl Gates is the godfather of rap in Los Angeles. Gates' approach to poverty was so supremely dehumanized, his lust for military force so all-consuming, and his hatreds so unapologetic, that without him, L.A. rap might never birthed the confrontational fire it needed to grow.

At the peak of the crack epidemic in the mid 1980s, Gates petitioned the city government to purchase tank-sized vehicles called batterrams. Gates then used them to run over homes in South Los Angeles. Some of the destroyed homes belonged to drug dealers and some belonged to working families-by the time he had his fleet, it was clear that Gates made no distinction.

At the peak of this atrocity, “Batterram” hit the streets and made deejay Toddy Tee one of L.A.'s first big rap stars. He wrote the song after watching one night's evening news, and created a track that contained a primitive approximation of the chaos and thunder of a paramilitary police raid. The LAPD is still around and still suspect, but you could say that Toddy Tee won this battle: Gates died a bitter man in 2010 while “Batterram” lives on.

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