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How hip-hop has helped us ‘justify our thug’ and get to the polls

Political music has always helped us get to the polls and vote!

Many songs serve as emotion for the listener. It tends to give us purpose or help us understand our circumstances. Music of all kinds is infectious nonetheless.

Hip Hop formed purely from the aspirations of inner-city youth who saw more than what they were given, by the government and politics in which we play a role.

Rap music is a rebellious sport that knows no bounds at times and rejects ideals set forth by white oppressors.

A historical sentiment, but hip hop music has always challenged why things are the way they are and fought with words to structure thinking around the issues.

Hip-hop is a presidential genre and serves as a reminder to get to the polls

barack obama kendrick lamar get to the polls
President Barack Obama meets with hip hop artist Kendrick Lamar, during an Oval Office drop by, Oct. 19, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Making it clear, hip-hop has consistently stated that the government doesn’t care for and want to see black, as well as brown people, thrive.

That type of oppression has led to rappers owning a lot more than their masters. They have created a life and an idea that the kid on the corner can grow into a positive change-maker. 

Whether thinking about your community and how to make it better or how foul the system has been to you, hip-hop music has been the outlet to get the inner-city, urban voices heard and echoed throughout society and politics.

Rap and hip-hop have always served as a journalistic and artistic first look into the “politics of the hood.”

Trust they are listening, and every time they make mention to the hip-hop culture in politics, they acknowledge our voices. Our voices have power, and our vote has the ultimate power. That’s why we need to get to the polls.

Political bars often will cut through mainstream media and harm the oppressive plan of “Whitening America.”

1.“Fight the Power” – Public Enemy

Public Enemy: [Left to right] Flava Flav, Terminator X, Chuck D, DJ Lord. get to the polls
Public Enemy: [Left to right] Flava Flav, Terminator X, Chuck D, DJ Lord.

Chuck D and Flavor Flav came out with this song back in 1989 and was aimed directly at the government, but designed to uplift the people. This song spoke of reinvigorating the civil rights movement of the 60s into the 20th century at the time.

Chuck D recites the song lyrics; “To revolutionize make a change nothing’s strange. […]people we are the same. […] What we need is awareness, we can’t get careless[…] To make everybody see, in order to fight the powers that be.”

Make sure to do your part in the revolution, get to the polls, and vote.

2.“Changes” – Tupac

Tupac Shakur [2Pac] get to the polls political music
Tupac Shakur [2Pac]

Tupac describes what he sees in his neighborhood and other neighborhoods alike. The oppression seeps from the corners of this song as Pac repeatedly claims to “see ‘NO’ changes” as it pertains to the betterment of his community and others like it.

He vividly states police brutality as a deterrent and suppressive behavior. Clearly stating, “Cop kills a ‘Nigga’ [then] he’s a ‘hero’.” Lines like this still resonate today after 22 years of spinning.

He also Makaveli’d us, predicting a “Tupacolyptic” event in that society isn’t, or wasn’t ready “to see a Black President.” 

3.“Justify My Thug” – JayZ

JayZ at ROC Nation brunch, 2020.
JayZ at ROC Nation brunch, 2020.

I will let these bars from Jay-Z explain the dynamic of growing up disenfranchised in America. The lyrics serve as a reminder of why it’s important for us to get to the polls and vote,

“When you play the game of life and the win ain’t in the bag

When your options is none and the pen is all you have

Or the block, niggas standin tight as lemons on the ave

Tryin to cop a shop call theyself cleansin in the cash

But can’t put they name on paper cause, then you on blast

Mr. President, there’s drugs in our residence

Tell me what you want me to do, come break bread with us

Mr. Governor, I swear there’s a cover up

Every other corner there’s a liquor store, fuck is up?”

4.“My President” – Jeezy

Jeezy get to the polls
Jeezy for Billboard.

This song was [Young] Jeezy’s celebration of the inauguration of first hip-hop President, Barack Husein Obama.

Jeezy dedicated this song to the new president in hopes that change will be something more evident in society and communities around the United States.

Jeezy likens the President being Black to some of the material things like his blue Lamborghini with blue rims to match, light green money, and light-grey Jordan’s made Jeezy’s cipher complete on this track.

Jeezy and JayZ and D.C. nightclub political music
Jeezy and JayZ and D.C. nightclub

With those songs now humming in your memory, do remember the battle will be fought at the voting polls.

Any feeling you may have toward the government can be remedied by voting out those who don’t represent your ideals of living and respect you as a citizen and human being.

So, get to the polls and go vote this Tuesday, November 3. Blessed you below with some hype political music too.

Look out for this article on PAGE magazine.