Posted on August 6, 2023

Rap and Hip-Hop’s Influence on American Politics

Oliver Williams, American Renaissance, April 11, 2014

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John Kerry once claimed to be “fascinated by rap and by hip-hop.” He went on to say:

I think there’s a lot of poetry in it. . . . I think you’d better listen to it pretty carefully, ’cause it’s important. I’m still listening because I know that it’s a reflection of the street and it’s a reflection of life.

Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich said that Tupac Shakur, a man with the words Thug Life tattooed on his chest, expresses “an elegant dissatisfaction with the situation” and told hip-hop fans they were “the leaders we have been waiting for.” (italics added)

In 2001, Detroit elected Kwame Kilpatrick, dubbed the “hip-hop mayor” on account of his love of gangster rap. He has now been sentenced to 28 years in jail for racketeering and extortion. That did not stop black Democratic Congressman Andre Carson from calling for the “geniuses,” “brilliant minds,” and “great poets” of hip-hop to move into politics; he wants to see “a hip-hop governor, a hip-hop mayor, even a hip-hop President.”

Kwame Kilpatrick in Court

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is sworn in court at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, Thursday, September 4, 2008, in Detroit.  (Credit Image: © Rashaun Rucker / MCT /

Perhaps America already has a hip-hop President. Mr. Obama has been on the cover of Vibe magazine, had a private summit with Ludacris, and was interviewed by P. Diddy on MTV News. Mr. Diddy later lead a chant of “Obama or die” at a music awards ceremony. Jay-Z, an unrepentant former crack dealer, joined Mr. Obama on the campaign trail to rap that he had “99 problems but Mitt ain’t one.”

When the white radio host Don Imus described a women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos,” Mr. Obama said solemnly that the remark “fed into some of the worst stereotypes that my two young daughters are having to deal with today in America.” Of course, what Mr. Imus said was laughably tame by the standards of rap lyrics. Some of Jay-Z’s lyrics have been so misogynistic that he had to ask himself, “What kind of animal would say this sort of thing?” Evidently the kind of animal that routinely exchanges texts with the President. Mr. Obama has also declared himself a fan of Lil Wayne, a gang member who spent time on Rikers Island for drug and firearm offences.

The embrace of Obama by the hip-hop musicians has sometimes been awkward. At one Black Entertainment Television event, the act that rapped out the line “I make your wife feel the pain too: anal” was followed by one that insisted “Change gon’ come, just like Barack said.”  Jay-Z promised to buy the whole ‘hood guns if Obama were not elected. Young Jeezy, a proud criminal and formerly of Boyz n da Hood, promised to “motivate the thugs” to vote Democrat in his pre-election ode, “My President,” adding that “they gotta put your face on the five-thousand dollar bill.”

Now Republicans want some of the excitement. The first black chairman of the Republican National committee, Michael Steele, said in 2009 that the party needed a “hip-hop makeover.” White politicians of both parties profess their love of hip-hop.

Trey Radel, who was a Republican congressman from Florida until January of this year, is a self-proclaimed “hip-hop conservative.” A fan of Big Daddy Kane — famous for tunes such as “Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy” — Mr. Radel recently pleaded guilty to cocaine possession. His media company, Trey Enterprises, also registered sex-themed website domain names including, which means a woman who doesn’t look good but is good enough for copulation.

Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor is a self-confessed fan of Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy. Marco Rubio, who has quoted hip-hop lyrics during Senate hearings, explained to GQ magazine that his favourite song is “Straight Outta Compton” by Niggaz With Attitude. He says Tupac Shakur is “someone that was trying to inform us about what was going on,” and claims rappers are “like reporters.”

Tupac Shakur Mugshot

Tupac Shakur (Credit Image: © NY Correctional Services/

This has been the standard way hip-hopers justify their lyrics: They simply bear witness to reality. As Chuck D of Public Enemy once said, they are “the black CNN.” Public Enemy has included in its reporting that Jews are responsible for “the majority of wickedness” in the world, including “experiments on AIDS with black people in South Africa.”

Liberals try to paint any song that mentions poverty, racism, or police brutality as incisive social commentary, but hip-hop does more than reflect degeneracy: It celebrates it. It also heaps contempt on people who work. Rapper Fat Joe told the Village Voice about his job in a shoe store:

I only worked there for two days. I told my mum I was going to change my life and be a good guy, but then I was watching the videos they was playing in the store and the Big Daddy Kane video came on. I saw that, quit my job, and went to hustle.

The American Enterprise Institute recently compiled a bizarre list of the 21 greatest “conservative” rap songs that reportedly promote not just “pro-family social values, but also . . . small government and peace through strength.” Author Stan Veuger quotes Dr. Dre — “Treat my rap like Cali weed, I smoke til I sleep / Wake up in the A.M., compose a beat”and then claims this means that “from the moment he wakes up till the moment he goes to sleep, his mind is focused on his professional obligations.”

Mr. Veuger also quotes what he thinks is a principled attack on the welfare state:

If it was up to me / You motherf*****s would stop coming up to me / With your hands out lookin’ up to me / Like you want something free.

One would like to think Mr. Veuger is writing satire but he is serious.

The Republican Party may have something in common with rap — a less than benign view of homosexuals and a love of guns — and there has been at least one Republican hip-hoper. Eazy-E, an ex-gangster known for songs such as “Nutz on Ya Chin,” donated $2,490 to the Republican Party. Senate leader Bob Dole then invited him to an exclusive luncheon in Washington where George H.W. Bush gave a speech. Eazy said he was a huge fan of the then-president. That was in 1991.

Awkward Republican attempts to be “hip” will not win votes. Marco Rubio could quote rap lyrics all day, but blacks won’t vote for him.

Marco Rubio with His Portrait

Marco Rubio with His Portrait

But the attempts show how far we have come from the days when Vice President Dan Quayle called Tupac Shakur “a disgrace to American music,” Bob Dole railed against “sexual violence given a catchy tune,” and Tipper Gore wrote op-eds about “Hate, rape, and rap.”

Even blacks used to fight rap. C. Dolores Tucker, who marched with Martin Luther King and was Secretary of State for Pennsylvania from 1971 to 1977, picketed stores that sold gangster rap. She even bought stock in Sony and Time Warner so she could berate executives at shareholders’ meetings. Rappers hated her and some mentioned her in their lyrics. Here’s a line from a 1996 album by Shakur: C. Delores Tucker you’s a motherf****r / Instead of trying to help a nigga you destroy a brother.”

Tucker has now been dead for nine years, and no one has taken her place.

When prominent whites — for whatever reason — speak admiringly about what is certainly the most loathsome form of American “culture,” it only entrenches it even more deeply in the minds of young whites.