Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's the Hip-Hop President; (1) the President's Man: Sean "Diddy" Combs at a Rally for Barack Obama in Miami (2) Taking the Rap: New President-Elect Barack Obama

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's the Hip-Hop President; (1) the President's Man: Sean "Diddy" Combs at a Rally for Barack Obama in Miami (2) Taking the Rap: New President-Elect Barack Obama

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID SMYTH

FOR once, a major event has happened in American culture and the music world isn't waiting to hear what Bruce Springsteen thinks about it. Barack Obama hasn't just changed the face of US politics, he's changed its soundtrack too.

Hip-hop has been cheerleading for Obama since he was far from the favourite for the presidency.

Rappers Common and Talib Kweli both namechecked him in songs as far back as mid- 2007. In August last year the candidate, a more appropriate cover star for Time or Newsweek, appeared on the front of hip-hop magazine Vibe. They called him B-Rock.

But the adoration hasn't stopped now that the former underdog is victorious. Premier league rappers seem to be racing each other to put out musical love notes to the 44th president. Election Night by Nas was posted online the day the country went to the polls. "America surprise us/And let a black man guide us," he urged. Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am put the video for It's a New Day, his third pro-Obama song after Yes We Can and We Are the Ones, on YouTube last Friday. "The dreams that I've been dreaming/Have finally come true," he whoops over relentlessly upbeat guitar licks. Jay-Z's We Made History appeared on the blog of its producer Kanye West on Sunday. "Now that all the smoke is gone/And the battle's finally won/ Victory is ours," gushes the chorus.

Even over here, Obama's rap connections are considered relevant enough for Dizzee Rascal to be deemed a suitable interviewee for Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight. It makes a big change from Kanye West saying "George Bush doesn't care about black people" on live television in 2005.

Yet the rap world hasn't simply adopted Obama because he is black, or a looker, or even because his name rhymes nicely. ("His name is a nugget of lyrical gold. It sounds like a gunshot going off," said Kweli. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.