The real hip-hop candidate in ’08
As I was working on my story the other day on the political fuckery involved in selling Barack Obama to the hip-hop community, it occurred to me that - just like almost everything else I ever wrote - this work would ultimately be in vain, since I’m sure hardly anyone who reads this site could give a shit about him being in the pocket of Oprah Winfrey and fronting about how he listens to Common and OutKast. The bottom line is that he’s black (kinda), which makes him the choice of the hip-hop community in this election.
Indeed, a few days after I published my story, I came across this story at CNN which more or less anointed Barack Obama as the hip-hop candidate 2008. It centered primarily on the story in VIBE as well as the shout outs he’s received in raps by Jin, Talib Kweli, and Common. Quoth the Daniel Carver of rap: “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.”
So fine, the Obama campaign has succeed in selling him as the hip-hop candidate in ’08. Unfortunately, it’s beginning to look more and more like Obama might not make it past the primaries. Hillary Clinton has been wiping her ass with the Senator in debates all summer long, and it was announced the other day that her lead over him in the polls has increased to something like 22 percent. Granted it’s too early to say how much of a boost he’ll receive from appearing in the pages of VIBE magazine, but come on. Who are we kidding?
And of course if Hillary beats him in the primaries, it’s not like the two of them can run together on the same ticket. Even if the two of them were able to set aside their differences, the idea of a black man and a white woman running the country together – beautiful though it may be, at least in my view – is entirely unfathomable. The two of them might fuck or something! At the very least, I think a significant percentage of the electorate would feel that much more comfortable with at least one white guy (one-half doesn’t count) in the White House.
The thing that I find especially interesting about some of these polls is that Hillary still does pretty well among black people (though presumably not the kind of black people who read this site) even though Barack Obama could very well be the best shot at getting a black person in the White House in our lifetime. She does especially well among black women, which would suggest to me that there may be some affinity based on her more or less failed and embarrassing relationship with her husband, former President Bill Clinton. No? Maybe?
Where as Bill Clinton made it a point to go on the Arsenio Hall show and eat at McDonalds and stay balls-deep in fat white chicks, all of which could be viewed, to a certain degree, as overtures to the hip-hop community, we’ve yet to see much communication from Hillary Clinton one way or the other. While this could be viewed as her not caring as much about “the people” (not to mention “the struggle”) as her opponent Barack Obama, my guess is that she just realizes that the vast majority of you will just vote for which ever Democrat emerges from the primaries anyway, so why even bother? Recent history would prove that she’s correct in this regard.
Which brings me to my point: Barack Obama may be the choice of the hip-hop community, but it’s not like young voters in general and young black people in particular have the force to make much of a difference one way or the other. At the end of the day, it’s still going to come down to whomever the majority of aging cracka-ass crackas feel most comfortable with, just like it did in the last election and all of the other elections before that. If hip-hop youth were really interested in influencing the outcome of the election as well as supporting a candidate who speaks to their views in a way that’s genuinely substantive, they might consider supporting a third party candidate. But of course they won’t.