Saturday, June 4, 2016

Politics as [un]usual: Quietly, Hip-Hop's anti-Trump voice grows louder ahead of 2016 presidential election

Getty Images

I can't put my finger on the exact moment when hip-hop music and culture took a decided departure from weighing in regularly on the state of American politics, but suffice to say that time has been upon us for at least the past 15 years. And that's probably a generous estimation.

Even with the historic election of President Obama -- a moment which the Commander In Chief would later say could not have happened without the help from the hip-hop community; something that both Puffy and Jay Z each promoted heavily, the latter of whom was inspired by the momentous occasion to record a classic verse -- rappers have largely stayed away from any lyrics centered on politics.

Yes, of course, rappers have made vocal their political stances all along. Most recently, a spattering of rap songs honoring victims of police brutality followed a series high-profile instances of police repeatedly killing unarmed black people.

But many voters who look like the vast majority of rappers -- skin tone-wise, at least -- have similarly high stakes in life as those presented by recurring police brutality that's lopsidedly against minorities. And considering the portentous political proposals put forth by the presumptive Republican presidential nominee -- one Donald J. Trump -- it's borderline inexplicable why rappers would stand by silently.

That's why they're not. Sort of. Well, it's complicated.