So… Today’s the day. How’s everyone feeling? If I’m being honest, my emotions are all over the place. I’m trying to distract myself with mundane activities but find that it’s a bit difficult to focus my attention on anything other than the potential outcomes for this week. I still remember four years ago, when I sat at the bar until 4 AM watching the votes pour in. The swing states were trickling in, and the numbers were close. By the time my friends and I got an Uber, I felt defeated. I knew what was happening. As I pulled up to my apartment, I heard the boys next door cheering Trump’s name. Unsurprisingly, it was the lacrosse team’s house, which seemed to be his target audience. The privileged douche bags who could get out of any problem thanks to their skintone and their dad’s money. After a few hours of sleep, my alarm went off, reminding me that the night before wasn’t a nightmare and that I had to face the world and go to class. I felt my mind fog with sadness and the remnants of the alcohol from the night before, with the clouds and rain echoing my emotions. Cops were posted on every corner of campus, foreshadowing the disarray that was to come. And yet, it still didn’t prepare me for the hell that has been this year.
I think everyone is feeling at least a sense of discomfort. There’s quite a lot at stake. And yet, I’ve still seen a lot of people my age who have voiced that they refuse to vote. It’s their choice, and I’ve given up on trying to convince people otherwise. A lot of rappers share this mentality, feeling underrepresented and as though whoever is elected won’t make a difference. Politics are undoubtedly a corrupt game, but at the end of the day, our rights are still up for debate. This year, an incredible number of artists have expressed that they will go out and vote, although they had advocated differently in the past. So I figured, what better way to get in the voting mood than to curate a playlist of songs that mention the day we’ve been preparing for with millions of spam phone calls and texts: Election Day. I’m also going to create a list of my previous posts that have led up to this day, whether it’s to add some more fuel to the flame, to distract yourself with some good old school hip-hop, or to hear me rant about lord know’s what.
2 Live Crew released a pretty outrageous PSA after their album, Nasty As They Wanna Be, was banned in Broward County. The whole track essentially goes on to discuss the 1st Amendment in the most 2 Live Crew way, questioning why they were getting in trouble when their album was clearly for adults, even limiting the age for their concerts. However, as they go on to exclaim that, “this is not China, this is not Russia, this is not the place where they brought down the wall,” you have to re-visit the relevance of the song today. The silencing and voter suppression that we’re facing is a direct attack on our Freedom of Expression, and just like 2 Live crew stated, “wisen up, cause on Election Day, we’ll see who’s banned in the U.S.A!” If 2 Live Crew wasn’t enough to sex up your Election Day, which I personally find to be impossible, you can check out Fat Joe, Remy Ma, and Ty Dolla $ign on “Money Showers.” On the track, Fat Joe raps that he “got her staring at the pole like Election Day.” Have a loved one who needs a little extra convincing to go hit the voting booths? Entice them with sex! Hope this works for you!
Dr. Dre and Ice-T’s “Killers” takes on a more serious tone as he and Ice-T express their anger with politicians, rapping about how “they manipulate the message to attain their goals, and for simple re-election, they will sell their souls.” Unfortunately, this year especially, we’ve seen a plethora of misinformation and lies surrounding numerous issues, whether it’s the ongoing pandemic or how our votes are being counted. As we use new ways to get our votes in, whether it’s through the mail or going in person, it is important to fact-check your resources and ensure that you aren’t getting some twisted narrative.
In Ludacris’s “Southern Gangsta,” Playaz Circle raps that “it’s an election year, [they] support struggle.” This reminds me of all of the rappers who are speaking in favor of Trump simply because of Biden’s tax plan, showing that they care more about their money than the fans that have loved them since the beginning, demonstrating just how extreme his country’s income gap is. Public Enemy’s “Revolutionary Generation” focuses on those that will end up struggling, rather than just the figureheads in power. By rapping the idea that “to be a man you need no election,” it shows the power that we, the people, have. By being vocal and standing up for our rights in a way that I’ve never seen before, we are making a change. We can put the fear back in racists again. We can spread love and equality again. This election is more than just who becomes our president or the rappers who are showing up at rallies; it’s putting values and ethics back into the United States of America.
K-Camp hopefully foreshadows a new presidency in his track, “Yellow Brick Road,” when he raps, “get these bitches out my section, picking new ones like elections.” You’re so right, it is time we get this bitch out of our section. Years ago, the Beastie Boys proved the lack of trusting democracy in our electoral process, exclaiming that “false elections got [them] losing [their] patience.” As we saw in the last election, unfortunately, if the numbers are close enough, the popular vote can be completely ignored. We need an overwhelming landslide to sweep up the votes, ensuring a new president and a swift kick to Trump’s ego. Even 2 Chainz showed a shift in focus, claiming in “Sacrifices,” that he “moved on from the election,” and on to the next one, rallying with the likes of Obama to garner support.
Additionally, we were lucky enough to be blessed with Busta Rhymes’ Extinction Level Event 2, the sequel to his 1998 Extinction Level Event: Final World Front. The album shows a shift in subject matter as it changes from his inner turmoil to that of the world. It shows what 2021 could potentially be like, a similar idea that we saw in A Tribe Called Quest’s We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service. It demonstrated potential changes in the world after the last monumental election in what we thought was an exaggerated manner. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just hyperbole.
Busta opens up the album with a dramatic intro, discussing Lucifer and Gilgamesh. However, he proceeds to cite more recent dramas, such as 2012, the presumed end of the world. He highlights the emphasis on a Black president in all of these movies and shows, demonstrating the difference the country saw after Obama. As a result, the contrast between that sign of change and a racist president who has ties with the KKK feels extreme, but unfortunately, that’s no dramatization. That’s the truth. That’s what makes his posed statement, “the message I’m sending, now that [our] president is gone, how convenient the world has ended,” to feel quite realistic. In the outro, he juxtaposes “whose world is this” with the issues we’re facing as a country: “plague and/disease and/sickness, that you have inflicted on so many lives since the beginning of time with your colonization/systematic oppression, the systematic racist oppression,” all themes that we’ve seen in movies like Contagion or World War Z. The apocalyptic themes feel absurd and out of question, until you remember that we have people walking around in hazmat suits, having to fight off those with guns who refuse to wear masks.
Every day when I watch the news I’m most surprised by the fact that I can still feel shocked when witnessing catastrophe after catastrophe. How have we not become desensitized to everything? Our country has changed drastically to a point of no return, and the only way thing we can do is see a positive change; we see change with our people as we have united to raise voter awareness and protest for injustices that have taken place. But the problem is, without new laws implemented, these injustices and issues will continue to reoccur. We have to put a stop to it and reclaim the idea that the United States is the land of the free. I’ve put together a short playlist of songs that I’ve mentioned, and listed below will be some other posts for you to check out. Those playlists are also awesome to get you pumped up for a long, grueling week. Stay strong, and keep your liquor cabinets stocked.
As I mentioned earlier, I have a number of other posts along a similar theme that are extremely fitting, if not for the viewpoints then at least for the music. You can check them out below.