"My raps ignite the people like Obama" - Common, 'The People'
Maybe it's more Obamania hype. He's young, he's (half) black. Naturally we're crowning him the hip-hop candidate for President. Be careful, remember the last politician we gave the coveted moniker to was Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. He ended up being more Lil Wayne than Lupe Fiasco.
Still, we cannot escape nor should we ignore Obama's hip-hop features. The speeches that have grabbed thousands in attendance and millions watching at home is a git of a true MC. He's a quick leaner. He has matured immensely since last year. And His wife, Michele Lavon Obama, speaks truth to power with an uncanny freestyle ability to do her eloquent speeches without notes or a teleprompter.
Still, he doesn't owe everything to a music genre that has largely been apolitical. Unlike the Vote or Die campaign, he's brought new and younger Americans not just to rallies to register but to caucuses and primaries to vote. Wearing Obama t-shirts and shoes is one thing. Younger voters mobilizing to create the first foundation of Obama's base in Iowa was another. Shouting out Obama in a rap lyric and naming him B-Rock in VIBE Magazine is cool, persuading your parents and grandparents to switch their vote is power.
He owes that to being a politicized community organizer. Since Iowa, Barack's candidacy is built upon a base on youth voters born after 1979 that understand America through lenses focused by hip-hop.
I found this essay, "Barack Obama, Hip-Hop candidate" by writer Latoya Peterson in the American Prospect:
"Ignore the thousand and one variations on "Superman" floating around YouTube. Hip-hop culture is a unifying force, a potent combination of entrepreneurship, community activism, creativity, and innovation that appeals to youth across the globe. Barack Obama is the hip-hop candidate, not because of his racial identity or his oratory skills, but because his policies and approach to politics demonstrate that he understands the needs and desires of the hip-hop community."
What do you think?