Hip-hop incumbents

Some of rap music's best politically-themed delegations

politicalrap

Rap music is one of the dopest, most lyrical filibusters in D.C. and beyond.

Hip-hop has proven itself to be the truest form of rhythmic American poetry, with its checks coming from impressive bars and its balances from ice-cold production.

If you’re searching for a bipartisan effort on behalf of beats and emcee’s, some of these songs and albums may be worth campaigning for.

 

Lil Wayne - “Georgia... Bush”

In an effort to forget Eminem’s fumbled diss tracks toward President Donald Trump last year, it’s not a bad bargain to hear out Lil Wayne’s lyrical onslaughts toward the Republican president before him. 

And Weezy set the groundwork years ago, with his “Dedication 2” track “Georgia … Bush.”

The track came after Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in Weezy’s hometown of New Orleans. The rapper was not pleased with President Bush’s response to the disaster. The beat bops just as any other Wayne track in the mid ’00s, but it’s the first two verses that take off.

Wayne raps for over seven minutes about the mishandling of deaths and mistreatment of black people in New Orleans, a testament to his label as the “best rapper alive.” 

He also notes the breadth of presidential responses to hurricanes in New Orleans including Lyndon B. Johnson’s idealist yet botched efforts to save the city after Hurricane Betsy, efforts which eventually led to the levees which failed during Katrina. 

The criticism Wayne faces for his lack of memorable songs now may be heavy, but it’s hard to forget the height of his fame.

The Diplomats - “Diplomatic Immunity”

Your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper, Cam’ron, and his Harlemite rap collective are far from political, but the group’s hard-hitting production features “mad serious” heat that could pull off an election night upset.

From the Heatmakerz to Kanye West, the album blossoms with booming beats. The group flips soul samples on tracks like “Who I Am” and “I Really Mean It,” exhibiting the lovability of emcee’s like Jim Jones and Juelz Santana who rap at their best.

The wit of Killa Cam guides these Dipset members to an undisputed victory, with punchlines like “man, you terry cloth, that mean you very soft. Gravy Mercedes, add the cranberry sauce.”

It all leads to Dipset’s magnum opus, the “Dipset Anthem,” a monumental achievement which could easily replace the current national anthem. In a time where political division is at an all-time high, playing this jam has the ability to unite at any gathering.

Take some time this November and turn this 27-song effort all the way up.

Young Jeezy (ft. Nas) - “My President”  

“My president is black, my Lambo’s blue.”

The first lines of the Snowman’s classic shake, came shortly after the election of President Obama in 2008. The song, off Jeezy’s “The Recession,” is the “realest s—t [Jeezy] never wrote” according to the intro. It’s the chorus which delivers the powerful statement and the flexing lyrics afterwards which combine East Coast and Southern rap with ease.

Jeezy doesn’t get too political in “My President,” but he does note his dislike of President Bush who he believes robbed the country.

It’s not until Nas’ verse where the song illuminates, celebrating his blackness and the historic moment of Obama’s election. “Mr. Black President, yo, Obama for real. They gotta put your face on the $5,000 bill,” Nas rhymes.

The celebratory track may not be relevant now but if you’re missing our previous president, feel free to throw it back.

Public Enemy - “Fight the Power”

No political rap playlist is complete without this icing on the cake.

In 1989, Chuck D and Flavor Flav united for the “Do The Right Thing” soundtrack, preaching the pinnacle of political lyricism over a Bomb Squad beat. In the movie, Radio Raheem bumps the hell out of this in a pivotal scene, spreading his love for being black in his neighborhood.

Chuck D asks to “fight the powers that be.” The MC points out how Elvis Presley and John Wayne appropriated black culture to build successful careers, also noting that black figures don’t often appear on stamps as much as white figures do.

These instances alone have inspired countless rap contemporaries like Kendrick Lamar to be socio-political in their material, as well. So, if you’re searching for the highpoint in compelling hip-hop, you’ll find a friend in “Fight the Power.”

Benjamin Blanchet is the senior features editor and can be reached at benjamin.blanchet@ubspectrum.comand @BenjaminUBSpecon Twitter.