Afroman isn’t the first rapper to turn a damaging experience with law enforcement into music, but he’s definitely the first to shout out his mom’s lemon pound cake in the process. After the Adams County Sheriff’s Office conducted a raid on his Ohio property in 2022 with a warrant for drug trafficking and kidnapping, Afroman, real name Joseph Foreman, told VICE he lost out on gigs and felt angry and powerless. He channeled that energy into a pair of songs, “Lemon Pound Cake” and “Will You Help Me Repair My Door,” with music videos that feature actual footage of deputies smashing their way onto his property, rifling through his belongings, and checking out the baked goods sitting on his counter before they cut power to his personal security cameras altogether. Clips from Afroman’s music videos have since gone viral on TikTok. He was never charged with a crime, and maintains that the sheriff’s department stole $400 of his money that they seized during the raid.
When asked for comment, Adams County Sheriff Kimmy Rogers said the result of a neighboring sheriff’s office investigation into Afroman’s claim is imminent. He also that the attention the rapper’s songs have generated has turned into a wave of threats against his deputies. “I can handle it, but I don’t appreciate some of the messages coming in about Adams County deputies getting ambushed, ‘I hope they die slow,’” Rogers said. “It’s kind of tolling on some of the officers. I doubt that your family would want that said about you.”
To Afroman, though, publicity is exactly what the situation requires. “A lot of people don't get harassed by the police, so they don't know what they're doing to people and civilians,” the 48-year-old rapper said. “There's so many people from Adams County sending me their own personal stories. I just don't have time to sit down and read them and everything. But from what I understand, these sheriff's officers in this county have been doing people dirty for a very long time and getting away with it. But nobody has the publicity or the eyeball that I can put on ‘em like me.” We spoke Afroman about the aftermath of the raid, police reform, and turning pain into art.
VICE: Tell me about the actual raid that started all of this.
Afroman: The raid itself happened… [singing] August 21 was the date/ The Adams County Sheriff destroyed my gate/ Ran up my driveway with guns and hate/ To take my funds, they just couldn't wait.
I guess they heard I was trafficking drugs. I don't know where the kidnapping charges came from. And what they wanted to do was kill me and then make up whatever they wanted to say. After they kicked in the house door, I wasn't home. They didn't find anything, and their plan backfired. I hate to keep singing that old racism song, but gee whiz, man, I really don't know. You didn't have to raid my house with guns for a vape pen somebody else left at my house. I don't have a million pounds of weed in my house. I don't have enough weed in my house to get them to run up my driveway and react like that.
Right, especially because it’s weed…
Marijuana is medically legal in the state of Ohio. It’s like jaywalking or something. They decriminalized it in Cincinnati. I really don't know what all that was about. They dropped the charges. Nothing is making sense. Then, they stole $400 out of the so-called drug seizure money that they found in my house, which was in my coat pocket from a concert I did with Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa years ago! I got drunk and high and I forgot the nice payment in my pocket.
I saw that you talked about that with TMZ. No updates on that from the sheriff’s office?
So, that precinct could not investigate itself, so they had a neighboring precinct do it. Now the neighboring precinct is saying it's just a miscount, but it's funny how somebody stole or they “miscounted” exactly $400. And it's not the $400—it's the overall principle of everything. I don't think the sheriff's should investigate themselves. They're all buddies. That's like… I'm from LA. I belong to a set, gang, whatever. We got different sides. We got the north side, the south side, west side. As far as I'm concerned, a neighboring sheriff's department investigating them is like the West Side Crips investigating the North Side Crips. I want to push my lawyer for a higher agency to come in that's not buddy-buddy with these guys and really lay down the law.
Right. Law enforcement agencies make hundreds of thousands of dollars every year off of asset forfeiture, which is just taking shit out of people's houses.
Yeah. The police is the new invincible criminal. A criminal wants to get on the police force now, because it's his word against yours. He has immunity and you're a pathetic peasant civilian. When you take somebody's money, it's called robbery, stealing, burglary. But when he steals your money, it's called asset forfeiture. When a cockroach is in your house, it's a cockroach. But when a cockroach goes to the police department, it’s a water bug. You see what I'm saying?
Yeah. Is this the first time somewhere you live has been raided like this, or has this happened to you before?
I'm 50 years old, almost. I've never had the police kick in my door. I've had them walk up on me and say, “OK, I smell weed, I’m gonna have to write you up for this,” and blah, blah, blah. I've had that all day. But I've never had the police come running in with AR-15s or whatever assault rifles, traumatizing my children, kicking in doors, and vandalizing my property.
Were you surprised to see that the deputies searching your house disconnected your personal security cameras?
Yeah. The police officers represent the law. According to America, police officers are the good guys. I figured a good guy would want to leave the camera going so he can verify the fact that he is a good guy. I know burglars and crooks and criminals and murderers, they spray paint the cameras. They want to take them down because they don't want you to see who they are and what they're doing. So I'm wondering, why is the good guy disconnecting the camera, taking away the verification that he is good? It seems suspicious to me—like he's not good.
I'm not saying that all police are bad. But you’ve got two types of people in the world: good people and bad people. And bad people are going to join the police department. Bad people will always be here. Crime will always be here. Racism will always be here. However, there needs to be a remedy. There needs to be a prescription for when these things pop up. Like a cold will always be here, but when a cold comes, there's remedies. There's lemons, there's penicillin and amoxicillin and whatever they use for colds. There needs to be a prescription for bad cops.
When did the idea come to you, that you were like, ‘Oh, I want to make a song about this?’
I'm a civilian. Then, to make matters worse, I'm a Black civilian in America. The police department was not designed to serve and protect me. I felt powerless yet angry. These guys can destroy my property and I literally couldn't do nothing about it. The only thing I could do was take to my pen and sing about the injustice. And to my surprise, it's going over well! People are playing the tracks and they're thinking to themselves, wow, this is messed up. I think people are slowly realizing that it can happen to me, it can happen to Donald Trump, it can happen to anybody! Anybody can be the victim of a police officer who’s a bad guy. I'm not one of these “F the police” chanters, not even “defund the police.” But good cops need to start snitching on bad cops and something needs to be done about bad cops.
Why did you pick the specific clips you picked for the “Will You Help Me Repair My Door” video?
The clips I picked verified what I was saying. I didn't want people to think I'm yelling wolf. When I lie to a cop, that's a charge. It's called false information to a police officer. But this guy can lie to me and it's not a charge. It's nothing. It's “Oh, whoop-dee-doo, big deal and your doors on the ground, and your gate’s effed up, and I'm leaving. I lied on the warrant. I tore your house up. And fuck you, nigger. God bless America.” That's why I picked those clips. Look at these guys going through my pockets for kidnapping victims, right? Where are the kidnapping victims in my suit pockets? Look at these guys going through my CDs. They probably stole some of my masters and then they go have them on eBay and stuff. Is that why they wanted to turn the cameras off, so they can take some memorabilia or whatever?
You said the reception for the song and video has been good so far, but are you facing other fallout from the raid itself?
You know, there's a side of me that's not mad at the cops for thinking I'm trafficking drugs. But the kidnapping… these dudes don't know what they're saying. They're writing anything on a piece of paper and kicking down my door! These cops are just like that lady in New York, [Amy Cooper]. “Oh, a Black man is robbing me, he's killing me!” That's a false accusation. You're making an excuse to kill me. I didn't kidnap nobody—I got high. I'm too lazy to wrestle with somebody and throw him in a cargo van. That's an epic lie.
I lost gigs because of the kidnapping charge written on the warrant. People started looking at me different. You heard about that Idaho killing?
They arrested some guy, right. But here's the thing: As soon as I seen that guy, I tried and convicted that guy in my mind. I'm thinking to myself, “They got your ass!” And I don't know WTF about the case.
Once the Adams County Sheriff said they raided my house for kidnapping, a lot of clubs did what I did. They convicted me. You don't know jack shit, and you're convicting me in your mind because of them lying on that warrant. They defamed my character which costed me money. They were wrong! I'm not a kidnapper.
What would you like to see happen for you and for other people whose homes are damaged during police raids?
When police agencies affect your finances by accusing you, they should pay you. They shouldn't be able to fuck up your life and just walk away cracking jokes and making sarcastic comments. I asked the head cop that raided my house if he was going to help me pay for my door. He cracked a little smile and said, “We're not required to fix your door. That’s not what we do.” He was a real smartass. So I want to stop that. You represent the law, you need to participate in the law too. It's not just the law for everybody else and you can be the best criminal in the world. I want to stop asset forfeiture too. If I didn't sell the drugs to you and it's not on film, don't be assuming my money is drug money. Cops: Don’t take nobody's money no more. Cops can go get a job!
They can side hustle with everybody else.
[Laughs] And I really want people to check out the Lemon Pound Cake album. I’m gonna make as much money off the police department as I can. Because all this stuff I’m doing—I may not get a dime from the police department itself. They may say, “So what, boo hoo, you’re not getting paid for slavery, F you.” They may do it like that. The only dollars I might make is the dollars I create for exposing them on social media. So, keep up with me—any time they hear Lemon Pound Cake, it’s me following up on police injustice and reform.