Sure, President-elect Barack Obama inspired millions of people to vote for him this past November — but what was really cool was that along the way to being elected to the highest office in the land, the former freshman U.S. senator also inspired a number of rappers to pen songs about him, from [artist id="1521450"]Will.I.Am[/artist] to [artist id="1243444"]Young Jeezy[/artist]. MTV News gives you the lowdown on a few of the tracks. (Further down, we highlight some of Obama’s favorite tracks from the list he submitted to Blender magazine last year.)
The Songs Inspired By Obama
Big Boi (featuring [artist id="854"]Mary J. Blige[/artist]) – “Something’s Gotta Give”
The player half of Outkast scrapped a different song and instead went with this number to kick off his debut solo album, Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty. The song strikes a somber tone as the pair talk about the reeling economy — but Big Boi puts his faith in Obama as MJB name-checks the hope-fueled politician.
Will.I.Am – “A New Day”
The Black Eyed Peas frontman got in on the act early, throwing his support around the “skinny kid with the funny name” with his viral clip centered on Obama’s “Yes, We Can” refrain. When we — well, more specically, he — actually did it, the producer released this upbeat tune about the hope for the country’s future. The video even features a CNN-produced hologram of Will. Talk about forward thinking.
[artist id="1162"]Wyclef[/artist] – “If I Was President” (version two)
‘Clef’s call to action began as his own personal rallying cry. But the poignant political number took on an even greater relevance once Obama announced his candidacy for the presidency. Suddenly, the bemusing song about a lack of a voice morphed into a stripped-down manifesto on the powers of grassroots organizing. Work never sounded so good.
Young Jeezy (featuring [artist id="1000"]Nas[/artist]) – “My President”
Even Nate Penn couldn’t predict the impact of Da Snowman’s call to action. It’s one thing for a politically conscious hip-hopper to talk about the lack of funding provided to the inner-city and rural areas populated by blacks, but Jeezy’s proclamation turned into the new ‘hood anthem, as the chorus became a rallying cry that was heard pumping from seemingly every set of speakers throughout Harlem and Bed-Stuy.
» [artist id="1075"]The Fugees[/artist] – “Ready or Not”
» Marvin Gaye – “What’s Going On”
» Bruce Springsteen – “I’m on Fire”
» The Rolling Stones – “Gimme Shelter”
» Nina Simone – “Sinnerman”
» [artist id="1230523"]Kanye West[/artist] – “Touch the Sky”
» Frank Sinatra – “You’d Be So Easy to Love”
» Aretha Franklin – “Think”
» [artist id="1022"]U2[/artist] – “City of Blinding Lights”
» Will.I.Am – “Yes We Can”
“Be the Change: Live From the Inaugural” will air live on MTV on Tuesday, January 20, at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT. MTV News will have wall-to-wall coverage of the event and of the scenes in Washington, D.C., New Orleans and Kenya in the days leading up to the event and in the days that follow.