Back in 2012 Senator Marco Rubio tweeted:
Rubio brings up an interesting point as to how Hip-Hop music has been about spreading a message and more of such music is needed. While this was pretty true in 2012, it is even more necessary in a world where Trump is in charge.
The tweet was brought up again after Rubio condemned Snoop Dogg’s new music video where he shoots a man in a clown outfit that bears an extremely significant resemblance to Donald Trump.
Even Trump got in the action by tweeting:
This brings up the question of whether these hip hop artists should even be spreading political messages. But the truth is, they have always been political.
Hip Hop artists have always been spreading political messages. The first big hip-hop song with heavy political commentary is The Message by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five which denounced the poverty, violence, and dead-end lives of the urban poor of the 1980s.
A major group to bring Hip-Hop into the mainstream is N.W.A., whose album Straight Outta Compton contained songs with socio-political commentary and at many times political messages. For instance the song, F**k tha Police protested police brutality and racial profiling in the 1980s.
Even today the biggest and best rappers of today have been becoming increasingly political. Kendrick Lamar’s album To Pimp a Butterfly touches on the struggles faced by African Americans and others across the US in terms of racial discrimination, institutional discrimination and depression. The song ‘The Blacker the Berry’ touches on such themes with lyrics like:
“Came from the bottom of mankind / My hair is nappy, my dick is big, my nose is round and wide / You hate me don’t you / You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture / You’re fucking evil / I want you to recognize that I’m a proud monkey / You vandalize my perception, but can’t take style from me.”
Even more mainstream artists like Macklemore have also been getting increasingly political with songs like Same Love which talks about LGBT rights and was recorded during the campaign for Washington Referendum 74 which, upon approval, legalised same-sex marraige in 2012.
The Trump administration has only pushed these artists to have a greater voice and to put out more content. These rappers have been discriminated in the past and their music is their form of spreading their message and beliefs. Music transcends race, social status or age. If members of the hip-hop community can continue to share their message, it may inspire others to take action and eventually push for positive change.
If even Trump, the most powerful man in the world, was able to take some time out of his busy day to watch the Snoop video and even respond to it, I think the hip-hop community is doing a pretty good job in ensuring that their voices are heard by the Trump administration and political elites.