Free Bushwick Bill!

Left to Right: Willie D, Bushwick Bill and Scarface taken at a hospital where Bushwick Bill was recovering from a gunshot wound to the face.

Free Bushwick Bill!  What?  Bushwick Bill (Born Richard Shaw, Jamaica) is facing deportation because of his criminal record and recent drug charges.  Again, who?  Bushwick Bill is the legendary one-eyed little person, who is a longtime member of the ground breaking Southern rap group Geto Boys.  Here is a quick summary of the Geto Boys’ career from the Allmusic Guide:

Blocked from distributing their 1990 major-label debut by Geffen — who insisted that a track dealing with necrophilia as well as murder was a step too far — the group was saved by producer Rick Rubin, who arranged another distributor for the album, released on his own Def American label. The controversy, which occurred two years earlier than similar censorship incidents involving Ice-T and 2 Live Crew, gave the Geto Boys a large amount of publicity. Their follow-up, We Can’t Be Stopped, eventually hit platinum…

The Geto Boys’ [career was filled with] controversy […]; rap groups were a hot topic for moral-minded politicians during the early ’90s, and several leaders used the Geto Boys as an example to decry the state of modern music. The fires were fanned in 1991 with the release of the group’s second proper LP, We Can’t Be Stopped. Before the release of the album, Bushwick Bill had lost an eye in a shooting incident with his girlfriend, and the cover featured Willie D. and Scarface wheeling Bill into an emergency room, with a prominent shot of the damaged eye. Inside the album, proceedings were among the most extreme in the history of recorded music. Obviously, radio airplay was non-existent, but We Can’t Be Stopped still went platinum in early 1992 — thanks to the underground hit “Mind Playing Tricks on Me,” one of the most effective inner-city vignettes in hip-hop history.

More recently, the group has a gained a wider and whiter audience because their song “Damn, It Feels Good to be a Gangster” is featured in the sleeper-hit movie “Office Space.”  In an epic sequence, the song’s raw, edgy lyrics fuel the protagonists’ rebellion against his mundane life in a cubicle.  Here is a link to the scene:

Bushwick Bill’s immigation status will be determined at hearing in October.  His attorney, Carlos Solomiany, is asking fans for statements to be introduced on his client’s behalf.  So do your part to save Bushwick Bill and send an email to

Source:  Creative Loafing


~ by siouxsielaw on August 31, 2010.

4 Responses to “Free Bushwick Bill!”

  1. The video has a the clean version of Damn, It Feels Good to be a Gangster. The real lyrics are better. Bushwick Bill’s boast in the song, “Though, I was born in Jamaica and now I’m in the U.S. making bills” may come back to bite him. I am going to send an email to his attorney.

  2. I saw the video for, I believe, “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” on an independent music channel (ie, not MTV or VH1; a local indie show) when I was about 16 and it blew my mind. I’m really not in the mood to sit through it right now, but if I’m thinking of the right video, Bushwick Bill at one point *removes his fake eye* – like, he squidges it out, and I’m pretty sure it rolls around or something, but I might be making that part up since it’s been years. Anyway, that song was BRILLIANT and the video was too in its own way.

  3. @ amy – You are so right about “Mind Playing Tricks on Me.” Though, I don’t think I have seen the unedited version that you maybe referencing.

  4. You know, this just occurred to me:

    Everyone was making a big deal over Kanye West having his jaw wired shut right before he recorded his first album, but isn’t getting your eye shot out way more… serious? Maybe? I don’t know. I mean, I wouldn’t want to have my jaw wired shut either. But it’s just interesting that when all that was happening, no one mentioned the Geto Boys.

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