Editor’s Note: This article contains profanity.
Whatever else his electoral troubles, president Obama seems to have the all-important hip-hop star demographic sewn up. Rapper Jay-Z recently released an ad which detailed his love for president Obama, and encouraged young voters to vote with Obama in November.
The president, whose re-election campaign has been heavy on soak-the-rich class warfare rhetoric, apparently welcomes the endorsement of this member of the imperial 1 percent. Jay-Z has earnings of more than $460 million.
In another hard-hitting interview (remember “The Pimp with the Limp?”), Obama told a Cleveland radio station what he and the rapper had spoken about when they met at a recent fundraiser. "I made sure that Jay-Z was helping Beyonce out [with the baby]," he said. "And not leaving it all with mom and the mother-in-law."
Jay-Z may be the kind of man who needs that advice. While he appeared clean-cut and professional in his Obama ad, his entertainment persona is an entirely different matter. Before he lived the life of celebrity Jay-Z was a drug dealer, and he frequently raps about his past life. His lyrics are laced with profanity, and frequently encourage listeners to embrace violence.
“Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” a song president Obama referenced on the campaign trail, boasts about “a middle finger to the law,” while “99 Problems” degrades women with lyrics like “I’ve got 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one.” That particular song also has an entire verse about being racially profiled by the “mother-f-ing law” for “doing 55 in a 54.”
Jay-Z wrote a song specifically about Obama called “My President is Black.” They lyrics included racial shots at former president Bush and vile language. Jay-Z rapped: "You can keep ya puss, I don't want no more Bush / no more war, no more Iraq, no more white lies, my president is black!"
In May, Jay-Z and Kanye West released a song that expressed their love of gratuitous violence.
“No Church in the Wild” opened with a protestor flinging a Molotov cocktail at police. The violence only escalated from there and the video is a patchwork of firebombs, fights, and destruction.
The lyrics of the song celebrate anarchy, as this excerpt makes clear:
We formed a new religion
No sins as long as there’s permission
And deception is the only felony
So never fuck nobody without telling me
Sunglasses and Advil, last night was mad real.
In September Obama tweeted a picture of himself with Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce, boasting about his supporters who were in “an empire state of mind.”
But this is the Obama campaign’s state of mind and Obama has earned the nickname “Celebrity-in-Chief” with good reason.