A presidential candidate loved by hip-hop circles? Seems unlikely right? Well, as he rides high with a recent cover story in Vibe that dubbed him “B-Rock,” Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is getting major love from the hip-hop world — getting name dropped in hip-hop singles and verses is just one sign.
On Common’s single, “The People,” the Illinois senator gets a shout out when the rapper says, “My raps ignite the people like Obama.” And even in the video, an “Obama ’08” bumper sticker is flashed during the line.
According to Common, Obama represents what hip-hop is all about — the struggle. Something not seen in mainstream politics.
“He’s fresh, you know, he’s got good style,” Common said to CNN. “As far as people in my age group and people that love hip-hop, there’s a love for Obama. He represents progress. He represents what hip-hop is about. Hip-hop is about progress, the struggle.”
And it’s not just African American artists who are supporting the movement. Even Asian-American artists such as Jin are. Jin has a song titled “Open Letter 2 Obama” that’s garnered more than 320,000 hits on his official MySpace page.
According to CNN, Jin’s song is so popular that the Obama campaign is offering it as a free cell phone ringtone on its Web site, and Obama was introduced with the song before his speech to the College Democrats National Convention in South Carolina in July.
But what is it about the senator that is attracting the hip-hop generation? Conscious rapper Talib Kweli says his name alone is perfect for adding into a rhyme. “More than anything his name is a nugget of lyrical gold,” Kweli told CNN. “Obama rhymes with a lot of things.”
Besides his name, Kweli also says, he can relate more to him than anyone else. “His youth, his being black, the way that he speaks, the way that he lays out his point of view,” Kweli explained. “It’s someone who looks more like you. I don’t mean black, but I mean the young thing. And his name is Barack Obama. This country is become more and more multicultural.”
Despite the love from hip-hop, only time will tell if the support from hip-hop will give him a boost if he were to win the nomination, or if it will hurt him — if his opponents try to his it against him.
“[Obama] might say something I don’t agree with, that definitely might happen,” Kweli said. “But whatever. It just depends on what it is. …”