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Afroman vows to make new music ridiculing officers who raided his home

The rapper was sued last week by Adams County, Ohio officers after he used footage of them raiding his home to make music videos and sell merchandise

Afroman, whose legal name is Joseph Foreman, poses in a marijuana-themed outfit. (Josh Case)
6 min

Afroman, the profane rapper of the early 2000s, is no longer singing about forgetting to clean his room “because I got high.” His music took on a more serious issue after August, when he says officers from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office broke down his door and stormed into his Winchester, Ohio home with rifles drawn.

The rapper, whose legal name is Joseph Foreman, wasn’t home at the time. But he was shocked to learn that the officers were executing a warrant that alleged his house contained evidence of drug trafficking and kidnapping. Officers found no such evidence, Fox19 later reported, and instead seized around $5,000 in cash Afroman said he earned from gigs.

Afroman blasted the officers in his usual flippant style on an album, “Lemon Pound Cake,” that he released the following month. In music videos, on merchandise and in social media posts, he ridiculed the officers, using footage of them conducting the search that he captured on his home security cameras.

In response, seven officers with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office sued Afroman, his label and a music distribution service last week, alleging that the rapper unlawfully used their personas for a commercial purpose and subjected them to emotional distress and humiliation.

Afroman is unmoved — he intends to countersue and release a new album dissing the officers individually, he told The Washington Post in an interview.

“I feel I have every right to do what I’m doing,” Afroman said. “And I think I took the most smartest, positive route. I didn’t go flip them off in the middle of the street and throw trash cans through their sheriff’s department door. I licked my wounds. I made songs. I did the best I could do.”

Robert Klingler, the attorney representing the officers, said the sheriff’s office had lawful reason to conduct the raid. He characterized Afroman’s work as an attempt to profit from the officers’ images at their expense.

“He’s simply using this situation to whip up more publicity and to make more sales for his merchandise at the expense of the reputations of the officers who are only trying to do their jobs,” Klingler said.

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office said the sheriff was not available to comment Thursday evening.

Officers raided Afroman’s home on Aug. 21, he said. Security footage he posted on social media shows officers in body armor break down the door to his home and storm in. One carried a rifle, and another held a handgun and a large bulletproof shield.

The officers moved through the rapper’s home, rifling through his suits in a walk-in closet and combing through folders of CDs. They later counted out and seized cash.

Afroman was returning from a party in Chicago when the officers raided his home, but his ex-wife and two of his children were present. His children, 10 and 12 at the time, were “traumatized” by the armed officers, he said.

The warrant that authorized the search of Afroman’s home alleged that the house contained money, weapons and paraphernalia associated with drug trafficking and kidnapping. Afroman only had a few blunts at the house, he told Fox19.

No charges were filed against him. Officers allegedly seized $5,031 in cash from his home, which Afroman said was earnings from rap performances. The money was later returned to him, but $400 was missing, Fox19 reported. An independent investigation that concluded in February found that officers had miscounted Afroman’s money while bagging it in his home, according to Fox19.

Afroman said he was ultimately saddled with the cost of replacing his door, an external gate and the wiring of his security system, which he alleged officers cut while they searched his house. He added that he was angered by the armed raid on his house while his children were present.

“I’m powerless,” Afroman said. “I can’t do nothing about these people stealing my money, disconnecting my cameras and ripping my door off. So I took to my humor.”

Rapping about his problems is nothing new, he said. With the same flippant tone that catapulted his 2000 song “Because I Got High” to fame, Afroman laid his grievances with the sheriff’s department on a beat.

“Will you help me repair my door?” he croons in one track, before adding, “Did you have to traumatize my kids?”

Other songs ridicule the officers more directly. In one, Afroman nicknames an officer “Lemon Pound Cake” while a video plays looped footage of the officer, who appears to pause and glance down at a cake in the kitchen. “Congratulations, TikTok star/Now the world knows how stupid you are,” he raps in another.

Afroman also sold merchandise with images of the officers next to unflattering cartoon comparisons, like Peter Griffin from “Family Guy” and the Hunchback of Notre Dame. In social media posts cited in the lawsuit against Afroman, he allegedly insulted the officers using vulgar language.

The lawsuit alleges that Afroman used the officers’ likenesses for commercial purposes without their permission and says that people have ridiculed the officers depicted in the rapper’s music videos and merchandise, hindering their ability to carry out their duties. It also alleges that the officers have received death threats.

Afroman has “targeted in a very ugly way some of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit,” Klingler said. “It’s a shame that it’s gotten to this point, that he’s stooped to a pretty low level. We just think it’s time to stop.”

The lawsuit cites an Ohio law that outlaws the use of an “individual’s persona” for commercial purposes but exempts audiovisual and musical works and material that has political or newsworthy value. It seeks damages and an order banning Afroman from using the officers’ personas and publishing information about them.

Afroman announced his plans to sue the Adams County Sheriff’s Office on social media Wednesday, calling the August raid on his home unlawful and racially motivated.

In the meantime, he’s also working on his next album, which he pledged will feature more disses of the sheriff’s office. The existing songs slamming the officers received a boost in sales after news of the lawsuit broke, he said, and the officers’ reactions have encouraged him to continue.

“It’s like, wow, I didn’t know I even hurt any feelings until the lawsuit came out,” he said.

Afroman insisted that ridiculing and talking trash at the officers was the best way he could have handled his situation.

“That’s all I want to do,” Afroman said. “And I think I’m quite the peaceful Christian Samaritan for only wanting that.”