And like Baretta would say
Keep your eye on the barrel, a sparrow
Don't do the crime if you can't do the time
But I'm rollin, so that's a fucked up slogan
Baretta was a 1970s detective series that began with the theme song, “Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow.” The instrumental was written by Dave Grusin and Morgan Ames and lyrics were added in later seasons that were sung by Sammy Davis, Jr. The lyrics contained the slogan, “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”
Ice Cube references it, then thinks twice and says he’s not down with that because he wants to do the crime without doing the time.
To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit "We Had to Tear This Muthafucka Up" by Ice Cube Lyrics and leave a comment on the lyrics box