Afroman Isn’t Worried About a Police Lawsuit Over His Music Videos
Late last August, members of the Sheriff’s Department in Adams County, Ohio busted into a home, armed with rifles and wearing full tactical gear. They’d obtained a warrant on suspicion of drug trafficking and kidnapping — but after smashing down the door and scouring every inch of the house, the cops found neither drugs nor any signs of any kidnappings. They nevertheless confiscated a few items, including about $5,000 in cash, which was later returned (after an independent investigation was required to prove the full amount was there) to its owner — the lovable, weed-loving rapper, Afroman.
A few months after the raid, Afroman turned the frustrating, futile, and traumatizing — especially for his young son, who was home at the time — experience into two characteristically goofy, yet subtly pointed rap songs, “Lemon Pound Cake” and “Will You Help Me Repair My Door?” The latter track even got a music video — featuring a ton of actual footage of the raid taken from Afroman’s home security camera system.
That music video, as well as social media posts Afroman made with the raid footage, are now the subject of a new lawsuit, filed earlier this month by seven members of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. The cops are claiming Afroman (real name Joseph Foreman) used footage of their faces without their consent (a misdemeanor violation in Ohio), and are suing Foreman on civil grounds for invasion of privacy.
They claim that, because of Foreman’s actions, the officers have been “subjected to threats, including death threats” and they’ve also “suffered emotional distress, embarrassment, ridicule, loss of reputation and humiliation.”
“They can tear my door off the hinges, steal my money, disconnect my camera, and now in their lawsuit they’re saying I’m humiliating them,” Foreman tells Rolling Stone. “They humiliated me! So I guess I won the humiliation contest.”
Foreman was in Chicago when the cops raided his home on Aug. 21, 2022. His now ex-wife was there, however, and took several videos to accompany all the footage from the security cameras. Foreman says she also FaceTimed him so he could speak with one of the officers. He remembers asking the officer if they’d found anything, or if he was under arrest. He claims the officer replied “No” to both questions.
Foreman says he then asked, “Will you help me put my door back on the hinges?” The artist says the officer “cracked this grin, started waddling his head, and said, ‘I’m not required to do that.’”
That interaction provided the primary fodder for “Will You Help Me Repair My Door?,” with the song offering a comprehensive beat-by-beat breakdown of the raid. Foreman croons about — and shares actual video of — the cops searching his suit pockets and CD collection, disconnecting his security system, breaking down his front door, and allegedly taking his “legal, work-hard-everyday, pay-taxes money.” (The aforementioned money issue involved the Adams County Sheriff’s Office coming up $400 short when they returned the confiscated cash to Foreman last November; the issue was finally resolved in February after an independent investigation.)
The other song about the raid, “Lemon Pound Cake,” took its title from a surreal moment captured on Foreman’s security cam footage: An officer, gun in hand, walking through Foreman’s kitchen and doing a double take at a lemon pound cake sitting on the counter.
Foreman says making music, and maybe a bit of money, out of the situation was a natural reaction, despite how harrowing it had been. In fact, that’s always been his approach, going back to his breakthrough 2000 hit, “Because I Got High.”
That song, Foreman notes with a laugh, “is not funny. I made it funny, but that shit was not funny — getting my car towed and forgetting to go to court and getting arrested [was not funny]. But I made it funny by the time I got through with it. So, these people breaking in my house and stealing my money and mentally tormenting my kids, that’s not funny. But I tried my best to make it funny, put a beautiful melody to it, and maybe inspire the next human being to get through something like this with a good disposition.”
He continues: “I can’t let my time be consumed with anger and revenge and bitterness. So as I breathe in and out, and take life in stride, I thought it would be good to just sing and laugh about the situation — and make a whole lot of money off of it if I possibly could. I thought it was the most positive thing I could do.”
Whatever money Foreman has made off the situation now appears to be in the crosshairs of the seven plaintiffs from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. The officers are seeking damages in excess of $25,000 on four of the counts listed in the suit, as well as attorneys fees, and a court order that would prohibit Foreman from publishing any other content related to the raid. (A lawyer for the plaintiffs did not return Rolling Stone’s requests for comment.)
Foreman, however, hardly seems phased. On Wednesday, March 22, he shared a statement from his lawyer, Anna Castellini, on Instagram, who said they’re awaiting the results of a public records request from Adams County and are “planning to counter sue for the unlawful raid, money being stolen, and for the undeniable damage this had on [Foreman’s] family, career and property.”
Because of the raid, and especially the issue over the confiscated cash, Foreman believes it’s important to “identify” the officers involved. “The public needs to know,” he says. “Because when they keep stuff quiet in little rooms, it might take a crazy turn. But when the public is aware, they go to do something that makes sense.”
A few moments later, he pulls out some classic hip-hop wisdom to sum up his side of the fight — though he endearingly stumbles around the point for a moment before eventually sticking the landing. “You know, you were put here to protect us, but who protects me… No, who protects you from — that’s a KRS-One song I just messed up,” he says with a laugh, referring to Boogie Down Productions’ 1989 track, “Who Protects Us From You?”
“‘You were put here to protect us, but who protects us from you?’ That’s the quote I’m looking for.” Then he quips: “Keep the other stuff in there for comedy!”
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