Veteran Portland Rapper Cool Nutz Believes It’s Still Possible to Find Common Ground With the Police

In his three decades putting on hip-hop shows in Portland, the artist and promoter has sought to maintain an open dialogue with law enforcement. He’s not ready to end the conversation.

IMAGE: Packard Browne.

WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.

As Portland hip-hop's most respected elder statesman, rapper and promoter Terrance "Cool Nutz" Scott has spent a lot of time over the past three decades talking to police officers.

It comes with the territory: At one point, hip-hop concerts in Portland were policed so heavily it prompted an investigation by the City Auditor's Office. In his time putting on rap shows, Scott, who began releasing music in the early '90s, has sought to maintain an open dialogue with law enforcement, in an effort to find common ground and mutual respect.

And even at a moment when the conversation about policing in America has shifted toward all-out abolition, Scott still believes that finding common ground is possible, and it centers on a simple principle: Treat people how you would want to be treated.

"It's not a hard conversation to have," says Scott. "If your daughter was out driving her car and she got pulled over, would you want a grown-ass man pulling her out her car, putting her in a chokehold, slamming her on the ground, hitting her with a Taser, all of that? Would you want that to happen? Now we need to take steps to make sure that doesn't happen."

Scott spoke to WW about what he hopes happens after the protests end, hip-hop's role in the current moment, and how quarantine has forced him to sit still for a change.

See more Distant Voices interviews here.

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