Hip-Hop Shows Some Love For Obama
By Sarah Cobarrubias in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 14, 2012 9:40PM
Photo via Barack Obama’s Flickr pool
[Obama] understands that hip-hop is expression and about individuals. And I don't think he's an individual who's going to let what other people think of him change his perspective. And those are the type of people that I highly respect. The hip-hop community is part of America, so the fact that he embraces it means he's embracing young America, Americans abroad and people in other places. I love that he cares.
But really the relationship between the president and hip-hop has been under stress for some time now. The passion that many of these artists displayed in 2008 for the then-presidential candidate has since tapered off. Even Diddy and Jay-Z, once avid supporters, expressed their reasonable disappointment in Obama’s first term, not to mention that whole Lupe Fiasco calling him a terrorist thing.
And many have speculated that the president was distancing himself from the same hip-hop community that helped spur the momentum of his first campaign in an attempt to avoid deterring swing voters in the upcoming election with all that scary rap stuff. The Guardian sums it up nicely:
This campaign season in the US has exposed this very tension - for rappers and for Obama. For their part, many rap artists are clearly torn between their allegiance to the first black president and their desire to be straight about conditions on the ground. Facing a struggling economy and a crazy-eyed opposition that has dragged US political discourse to the right, [Obama] appears to be striking a centrist tone in order to reach crucial swing voters. This may indeed be the strategy he must follow if he wants a second term, but it's one that situates him firmly within the very political establishment rappers have long held in contempt.
Whether or not shrugging off the hip-hop community is justifiable, many of these artists are still showing their support for Obama, or at least beginning to again. In fact, yesterday Jay-Z and Beyoncé announced that they would be part of a fundraiser event for the president, which is in addition to the $40,000-a-head fundraising dinner party they already had planned. And with almost two months to go to the election, more artists’ support (and disdain) for the president will surely surface.
Anyway, here's video of Common's aforementioned freestyle: