Marijuana Policy Project

'Cops': Whatcha Gonna Do When They Cancel You?

It took 35 years to cancel Cops, the reality TV show that portrays police arresting people committing crimes. Since George Floyd's death at the hands of police in Minneapolis on May 25, the entertainment industry is quickly trying to clean up its act. The first to go was Cops.

On June 9, Paramount Network announced the show had been canceled. "We don't have any current or future plans for its return," the company added in a statement.

The Cops theme song "Bad Boys" by reggae group Inner Circle was not written for the show. It originally appeared on their 1987 album One Way and was written by band members Ian Lewis, Roger Lewis and Bernard Harvey. 

According to a 1994 Billboard article, "A field producer for the globally syndicated show Cops, who just happened to be a big Inner Circle fan, decided to use the track as the show's theme."

The re-release of "Bad Boys" in 1993 led to smashing sales of more than 700,000 copies of the single.

Reggae group Inner Circle

The lyrics go:

Verse 1

Bad boys, whatcha want
Watcha want, whatcha gonna do?
When Sheriff John Brown come for you
Tell me whatcha wanna do, whatcha gonna do?

Chorus

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

Verse 2

When you were eight and you had bad traits
You go to school and learn the golden rule
So why are you acting like a bloody fool?
If you get hot, you must get cool

Chorus

Bridge

You chuck it on that one
You chuck it on this one
You chuck it on your mother
And you chuck it on your father

You chuck it on your brother
And you chuck it on your sister
You chuck it on that one
And you chuck it on me

Chorus

Verse 3

Nobody now give you no break
Police now give you no break
Not soldier man give you no break
Not even you idren now give you no breaks

Chorus

Verse 4

Why did you have to act so mean?
Don't you know you're human being?
Born of a mother with the love of a father
Reflections come and reflections go
I know sometimes you wanna let go
I know sometimes you want to let go

Chorus

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.