You know the social pressure to pretend as if you give a shit about Barack Obama is intense when even the mighty dead prez is being relatively mum about their political views.
They once did a song about how it’s alright to rob a white pizza guy, if you’re broke and you’ve got the munchies, but they’re not gonna go so far as to try to persuade someone not to vote for Barack Obama, if that’s what they wanna do.
I’d say their new song, “PolitricKKKs,” is definitely an anti-Obama song, in that they call him a sell-out, and suggest that it would be pointless to vote for Obama on the grounds that he’d be the first black president, since there already was a black president – that guy John Hanson, who was one of the few presidents before the US was officially a country, before George Washington. Though I know there’s a debate as to whether or not that’s really true. At any rate, you get the idea that “PolitricKKKs” wouldn’t have popped up on the Internets a week or so ago if it wasn’t for the election. The new dead prez album isn’t set to hit the streets until some time next year.
Still, if they’re gonna go all the way there with it, why not actually discourage people from voting for Barack Obama, or even offer an alternative? I mean, if they see the guy as being such a sell-out. It’s not like he’s the only liberal candidate in this election. On “PolitricKKKs,” stic.man raps, “I don’t want to discourage my folk. I believe in hope. I just want us to want more.” I don’t get it. Is it because they don’t want to be viewed as the rap group that tried to cockblock Obama?
Maybe it’s because they just don’t see there being much of an alternative. I’m pretty sure I saw M-1 in a video supporting Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente, around the time it was announced that McKinney had selected Clemente as her VP. But in “PolitricKKKs,” M-1 gives the two of them what I’d say amounts to a vote of no confidence. “McKinney, Clemente off in the Green Party. No disrespect, we need a red, black and green party.”
And who can blame him? Cynthia McKinney probably played herself in getting down with the Green Party. You don’t even see her name mentioned when they announce the results of national polls on TV, but something tells me that she probably could have gotten just as many votes on her own, running as an independent. The Green Party, for whatever reason (probably because they smoke too much weed) is just useless in national elections. I stay watching cable news, and I haven’t seen Cynthia McKinney on TV at all this year. Ralph Nader, meanwhile, stays on TV.
This group Rebel Diaz come off as similarly ambivalent in their song, “An Open Letter to Barack Obama from Rebel Diaz,” or whatever it’s called, an hilarious reworking of Eminem’s “Stan.” You get the idea that Rebel Diaz is on board with Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente, since the two of them are name-checked at the very beginning of the record. But later on it’s, “This is just a criticism, and I hope that you make it. Because if you don’t, we’re one heartbeat away from Sarah Palin.” With mixed messages like that, I wonder how many people they’re really gonna bend to their point of view.
The strongest part of the record, I thought, was the last verse, where they got specific re: their beef with Obama: “Mr. Barack, Mr. Barack Hussein Obama. Mr. corporate sell-out to the imperialist dollar. What about Sean Bell? What did you say after the verdict? I know it had to touch you that a black man was murdered.” [...] “What about the situation with the peeps in Palestine? You support Israel. They are not a friend of mine.” [...] “You had three different chances to address the bailout, but what I wanted to hear never came out your mouth.”
Finally, it’s too bad Rage Against the Machine haven’t been as active in this election as they were in, say, the 2000 election, when they were instrumental in aiding in the forming of my own views re: politics. It’s too bad kids today don’t have the same opportunity I had. I’m assuming Rage has been stymied by the fact that they’re hardly a real band anymore. They probably can’t get along well enough to do anything other than get that paper out on the ’90s nostalgia circuit.
I’ve seen them twice now in the last couple of years, and both times it was nucking futs. It’s obvious there’s an entire generation of kids waiting to hear something, anything from them since they broke up back in 2000, and everything that was once worthwhile seemed to fall to shit in pretty short order. At this year’s Lollapalooza, in particular, they kept having to stop the show just to get people to settle the fuck down. I kept waiting for them to address this year’s presidential election. When they finally did, it was something along the lines of, “If Obama wins this thing, and he doesn’t end the Iraq War, we’re gonna have to set the White House on fire.” The fuck?
Zach de la Rocha always did strike me as a little bit crazy. I’m pretty sure he was the main reason the group broke up in the first place. Later on, I read an interview Jeff Chang did with Tom Morello. Check Morello’s response to the question of whether or not he’s planning to endorse Obama.
No. I think that in my music and in my politics, I’d like to keep them completely uncompromised. If there’s a candidate that I see eye to eye with up and down the line, then I’ll endorse that candidate. With his saber rattling about Iran, with his determination to continue an imperialist war in Afghanistan, there’s a lot that’s iffy about that, but he’s certainly better than McCain. I’m not going to give either one of them a chance to breathe when they’re in office. It’s important to continue to put the pedal down when either one of them is in office.
Sweet, a guy who’s actually not willing to compromise. Is it any wonder he’s viewed as more of a rock artist than a hip-hop artist?