At Warner, Not All Rappers Are Created Equal

By Newsweek Staff, Newsweek

When police groups protested Ice-T's song "Cop Killer" last August, Time Warner publicly backed its star 100 percent. "We stand for creative freedom," said CEO Gerald Levin. But when the lesser rapper Paris brought in a song called "Bush Killa" last summer, the company refused to distribute it. Paris brought it to the 4th and Broadway label, a subsidiary of Polygram. This parent company, too, balked. Now Paris has released it - and the album "Sleeping With the Enemy" on his own label, Scarface. "I am not an assassin and 'Bush Killa' is not an assassination attempt," he says. "I am a writer and a rap artist." So goes "creative freedom" for lesser-known public enemies. For stars, though, it's another story. Just ask Ice-T. He launches his own talk show early next year. The station? HBO, a Time Warner company, of course.

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