There’s no denying hip-hop’s voice, so when the game’s biggest MCs get to talking politics, fans flock to listen. While there is no united caucus of MCs rallying around issues, rap’s message leading up to Tuesday’s (November 6) election has been loud and clear: Get out and vote!
“I think that’s one of our biggest failures as a community, as a generation: not wanting to go out and do for ourselves and to sit back and wait,” Kendrick Lamar said in a call to action for his generation. “And then when it doesn’t happen, we point the finger.”
Killer Mike believes that hip-hop’s civic responsibility doesn’t end at the polls. After you’ve cast your vote, you have to hold your president accountable. “African-Americans, when you give 98 percent of your vote to someone, we have to come up with some demands. What do we really want?” he said, referencing the staggering African-American support that President Obama got in the 2008 election. “We gotta figure out what we’re going to ask them for.”
For Mike, getting people back to work is #1 on his list. “I think from his administration side, something has to be done around empowering in particular the young African-American males who are like double the unemployment rate,” he said.
2 Chainz, along with Travis Porter, Chip the Ripper and R&B singer Ciara have also used their voice by linking with the Hip Hop Caucus on their “Respect My Vote” campaign, which encouraged fans to register and to vote today.
When it comes to the political arena, there is no rapper more connected than Jay-Z, who on Monday performed for the POTUS on the final day of his campaign in Columbus, Ohio. Some have even pegged Hov for a future as a public official, but despite his strong campaigning for Barack, Jay isn’t a fan of the current American system. “I don’t even like the word politics. It implies something underhanded, and I think we need less government,” he said. “They’re servicing the people, but we rarely get anything done because they’re going back and forth with whatever they’re doing, so I’m not really into politics.”
Lil Wayne isn’t really into politics either, but that’s because he can’t vote after his conviction on a 2007 gun charge. Still, that doesn’t mean that Weezy isn’t paying attention to Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. “I can’t vote, so all I can do is figure out who these people are and whoever you guys choose, at least I know a little bit about them,” he said matter-of-factly.
For those who can vote, California rap trio the Rej3ctz urge all to use their voice. “Turn up to vote,” Bounc3 commanded. “Y’all turn up in the club, y’all turn up on the corner, y’all turn up in the parking lots. Turn up to vote.”