Long Reads

Ethering Donald: Hip-hop vs Trump



In 1973 Roy C. Hammond and a group of gifted high-schoolers from Jamaica, Queens – known collectively as the Honeydrippers – recorded a funky little number called Impeach The President. Featuring a classic and instantly recognisable break, the song is one of the most sampled records of all-time; Nas’ The Message, Biggie’s Unbelievable and Pac’s I Get Around just some of the many tracks to have flipped Hammond’s catchy beat.

Released at the height of the Watergate scandal, Impeach The President was aimed squarely at Richard Nixon, taking the embattled Commander-in-Chief to task for his administration’s attempted cover-up of the break-in at the DNC headquarters in Washington.

Capturing the cynical, anti-establishment spirit of the times, Impeach The President also caught the imagination, rousing budding DJs, producers and emcees all across the country, and inspiring more than a few bars with its fresh sound. Today, the impact of the record can still be felt – or better yet, heard – with Hammond’s nifty craftsmanship and production often repurposed to embellish and elevate countless cuts. Ahead of its time, Impeach The President also has a proud legacy as far as its subject matter is concerned, the overtly political protest song no doubt influencing the likes of KRS-One, Chuck D, and Dead Prez to wrestle with a wide range of topical issues in their rhymes.

The 2016 fight for the Oval Office heating up, hip-hop has seemingly gotten its political groove back, with several rappers weighing in on the race for the White House. While most have lent their backing to the Democratic candidates, endorsing Hilary or feelin’ the Bern, hip-hop as a whole seems to have united, coming together as a bloc, if not a coalition, against the flaxen-haired mogul, Donald Trump. Using the mic booth as a bully pulpit of sorts, rappers ranging from Waka Flocka to Rick Ross have taken to the studio to criticise the GOP’s leading candidate, inveighing against his divisive platform with some ether.

With Trump all but set to take on Hilary Clinton for the Resolute desk – following his sweeping Acela Primary victories – we round-up some notable examples of rappers throwing some considerable shade and dissing Donald.

 


YG and Nipsey Hussle
Teaming up like Cruz and Kasich, LA rappers YG and Nipsey Hussle recently hit the studio to record a scathing diss track, dressing down the former host of The Apprentice. The song, FDT (Fuck Donald Trump), finds the Angelenos hurling verbal darts at the brash and abrasive New Yorker, with Nipsey rhyming, “Reagan sold coke, Obama sold hope/Donald Trump spent his trust fund money on the vote”. Not to be outdone, YG makes his feelings known on the song’s chorus, yelling, “Fuck Donald Trump!”

 

A video posted by TIP (@troubleman31) on


T.I.
Sending an impassioned, expletive-laced message to Trump via Instagram, Atlanta superstar and Grand Hustle head honcho, T.I., also sounded off on the candidate for the Republican nomination, stating: “Donald Trump, this message is for you. My name is Clifford ’T.I.P.’ Harris. I say this as nonviolently but unapologetically as possible. Fuck you and fuck what you stand for. Nobody who support me will support you.”

 

Mac Miller
Mac Miller and Donald Trump have been embroiled in a public feud for some time now, the discord tracing all the way back to 2011 when Miller released a song named after the business magnate. Initially heaping praise on Miller, after the track went platinum, the outspoken Trump suddenly turned heel and threatened to sue the Pittsburgh rapper for “illegally” using his name. Taking the opportunity to resume his long-standing feud with the 69-year-old media personality, Miller denounced Trump last month during an appearance on Larry Wilmore’s brilliant The Nightly Show, calling the politician a “power hungry delusional waste of skin and bones”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4lAIh9Ypqk Raury Like Miller, Raury also used a popular late-night show as the perfect platform to chide Trump, calling out the GOP frontrunner on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show – on the very same night Trump made an appearance on the program. As Colbert’s musical guest for the night, the 19-year-old took to the stage wearing a Mexico football jersey with Trump’s name emblazoned on the back – only with a giant, garish red X cutting across the white block letters spelling out the mogul’s name, declaring the young singer-songwriter’s disapproval of the former Reform Party Candidate.

 


Young Jeezy
One of the very first rappers to openly criticise Trump, Young Jeezy called out the chairman and president of The Trump Organization last year. Taking exception to the Republican’s racist remarks about immigrants and Mexicans, Jeezy tweeted: “We don’t need @DonaldTrump representing us as Americans. His hatred in his most recent statements shows he’s not a legitimate candidate. He’s just making a mockery of the presidential candidacy to help build his personal brand. Our latino brothers and sisters are a big part of this country and shouldn’t be used as your agenda.”

 


Public Enemy
During a typically fiery and impassioned set at this year’s SXSW, Public Enemy frontman Chuck D fired a couple of shots at Trump, yelling, “Black Lives Matter! Fuck Donald Trump!” Clearly not on the same wavelength as his long-time partner-in-rhyme, hype man, Flavor Flav, was more diplomatic about the Republican, telling Billboard – after PE had hopped offstage – “You never know: Maybe Trump could possibly do something. Maybe he might step in office and do something. I’m not going to doubt him.”

 

Kap G
When Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, he launched a racist attack on Mexicans and Latinos, stating, in a disparaging speech, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing this problems (sic) with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Speaking up to challenge Trump’s bigotry, Mexican-American rapper, Kap G, told XXL last year, “Donald Trump was very ignorant for saying what he said. To label all of us all as rapists is very wrong of him. We, as Mexican people, are very family-oriented, hard working people, so I am very disgusted by his comments. Donald Trump will never know how it feels to be in our shoes, but not just us, all minorities. So at the end of the day, only God can judge us.”

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