A Brief History of Rappers Calling Out Political Figures
    • FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2017

    • Posted by: Chris Deverell

    By now, most of us have probably heard Eminem's fire callout of President Donald Trump and his supporters—especially those supporters that also consider themselves fans of Em. Reactions have ranged from positive to negative and have come from all across the country. Somehow, Kid Rock even got involved. I'd tell him to stick to his senate campaign, but I'm actually terrified of that possibility.

    Naysayers against Eminem have argued that he should stick to music, and stay out of the political arena, but this kind of criticism is deaf to the intersection of the arts and politics, and the long and loud history of politically-charged rap. Rap and hip-hop have long been a means to call out and combat injustice, and to take shots at those in positions of power. Without further ado, here's some of our top picks for politically-charged rap.

    1. Killer Mike - "Reagan"

    Though Reagan wasn't around anymore in 2012 to issue any clapbacks, the effects of his administration left a mark that continue to this day. Tearing into the former head of state, Killer Mike criticizes Reagan for his war on drugs and his lasting impact on urban society.

    2. Immortal Technique - "The Cause of Death"

    New York's own Immortal Technique has never been one to shy away from taking on politicians and controversial subjects, taking on subjects such as the exploitations of capitalism and systemic racism. He pulled no punches on his 2003 track "The Cause of Death", calling then president George Bush a "puppet", and calling out U.S. involvement in the Middle East. Dick Cheney didn't escape unscathed either, getting called a phrase which I probably can't put in print.

    3. 2Pac - "Last Wordz"

    Few have left such an indelible mark on music and social commentary such as Tupac Shakur. A revolutionary is bridging rap and politics, any number of Shakur's songs could appear on this list. But his song "Last Wordz", released in 1993 is particularly memorable for addressing then vice-president Dan Quayle, a vocal opponent to rap music. Calling Quayle's campaign against rap music thinly-veiled racism, 2Pac blames Quayle's disregard of black communities as the source of so much racial tension.

    4. Lil Wayne - "Georgia...Bush"

    It shouldn't come as a surprise to many that Bush would appear multiple times on this list. Following Hurricane Katrina, many were critical of the Bush administration's lax response to providing aid to those in need, especially in New Orleans. ‘Nola native-son Lil Wayne was no exception, asking why more wasn't done, and in "Georgia...Bush" he placed the blame for so much death and destruction squarely on the shoulders of the Bush administration.

    5. Ice Cube - "Who Got the Camera?"

    Unfortunately still very relevant today, Ice Cube's 1992 song "Who Got the Camera?" compared police officers who used excessive force to the former KKK Grand Wizard and then Republican Louisiana State Representative David Duke. Cube is still going strong these days; but alas, Duke is as well, as a staunch supporter of President Trump.

    6. Public Enemy - "Fight the Power"

    Though it doesn't take on any one person by name, there is perhaps no song more anthemic than Public Enemy's "Fight the Power". A rallying cry for the oppressed and dispossessed, "Fight the Power" paved the way for generations of activists and artists to come.

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