Make no mistake, Barack Obama is a Black man … who balanced being arguably the most powerful man in the world … with listening to Jay-Z and Chance the Rapper while vibing in the West Ring.
During one interview to promote his new memoir, “A Promised Land,” he spoke about his successor’s shallow attempt to access men of color by manipulating and targeting Hip-Hop artists with the bells and dog-whistles of the allusion of their acceptance into the White Man’s Wealth Club.
He said, “People are writing about the fact that Trump increased his support among Black men [in the 2020 presidential election], and the occasional rapper who supported Trump … I have to remind myself that if you listen to rap music, it’s all about the bling, the women, the money.”
He continued, “A lot of rap videos are using the same measures of what it means to be successful as Donald Trump is. Everything is gold-plated. That insinuates itself and seeps into the culture.”
Ouch … He ain’t really wrong.
Donald Trump, before becoming the 45th president of the United States, was featured on hundreds of mainstream rap songs. Many rappers saluted him for being rich and flagrant with his wealth (whether earned or inherited).
Rap acts like Kanye West, Tribe Called Quest, T.I., Lil Wayne, Mac Miller, Rae Sremmurd, Ice T, Nelly, Rick Ross, E-40, Young Thug, and Young Jeezy have all mentioned him before 2016.
That was before he was the POTUS.
Since then (and specifically this year), he is mentioned on wax but most certainly is not being glorified.
While West, Lil Wayne, Ice Cube, Lil Pump, and Polow da Don all have jumped out of the window in support of him and his policies, receiving a ton of backlash from the Black community.
Artists like Public Enemy, De La Soul, Nas, Talib Kweli, YG and Nipsey Hussle, Walé and Snoop Dogg have released records that are stinging in reproach.
Rappers like Common and Jeezy even supported doing PSAs and stomping with the recent Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden’s campaign.
Even battle rappers, URL’s Charlie Clips and DNA dropped a PSA endorsing the new president-elect, receiving backlash from critics who did not see this as a legitimate outreach to Black men and other fans in their space, but as pandering. With the recent victory of 302 electoral votes, many of those same critics are silenced.
It has been estimated that 20% of Black men voted for Trump this year. This is a two percentage point jump from 2016, where 18% voted for him.
Barack Obama also has a relationship with rappers (who don’t regret publicly endorsing him) and his not just from schmoozing them up. 44 genuinely loves the culture.
In addition to the memoir, he also released his Promised Land-themed playlist that features several rap songs including “My 1st Song” by Jay-Z and “Lose Yourself” by Eminem.