Hip-hop is the full blown angry voice of the black youth. Rappers diss the presidents and the presidents diss the rappers right back. But who had dinner with the president and who was splashing over Monica?
1990: While still in his teens Tragedy Khadafi then known as The Intelligent Hoodlum, a prodigy of Marley Marl and The Juice Crew, records “Arrest The President” a very cry to abandon the wicked ways of politics and turn to religion and moral instead.
1991: Ice-T’s album “OG – Original Gangster” is a huge success. On it he has these choice words for the head of PMRC as well as the president and the first lady: ”Fuck Tipper Gore, fuck Bush and his crippled bitch!”
Eric Eazy-E Wright from legendary Compton gangsta-rap group donates 2.500 dollars to the Republican Party and attends a fundraising dinner hosted by George Bush. Eazy E’s explanation was that he: “just got a kick out of the fact that [he] could stab the motherfucker with a pen.” In the magazine Rapsheet
Willie D from Geto Boys criiticises Eazy-E and asks him to call his hit “Fuck the Police” “Fuck being broke” instead.
Ice Cube blasts Eazy with “I’ll never have dinner with the president, And when I see your ass again, I’ll be hesitant” on the track “No Vaseline”. Unfortunately for Eazy, that was about the kindest thing Cube said about him on that track.
1992: The VP Dan Quayle is asked to judge a local spelling bee and incorrectly tells a participant that he’s spelled “potato” wrong and asks him to put an “e” on the end, making Dan Quayle the laughing stock of the country.
MC Serch from 3rd Bass releases his first solo effort “Return of the product” on the track “Back to the grill” he raps: “Everybody’s equal, yeah and Dan Quayle can spell – potato”. On the same track Red Hot Lover Tone, later member of Trackmasters gives “George Bush ‘nuff props” followed by the ever popular nineties joke “NOT!”
Political rapper Paris from San Francisco releases his second album “Sleeping with the Enemy” which contains the track “Bush Killa” in which he fantasises about killing the president. Paris is dropped by his label Tommy Boy due to his strong messages and releases it on his independent Scarface Records. Originally the coverart was to portray Paris on the verge of assassinating George Bush, but the picture was instead put on the inner sleeve.
Ice-T’s thrash rock group Body Count is forced by Warner Brothers to take “Cop Killer” off their album by the same name. They later reissue the album with a rock version of Ice-T’s “Freedom of Speech” featured instead. Later both Ice-T and Body Count are dropped by Warner Brothers.
Asked his opinion on Ice-T, George Bush refers to him and the “Cop Killer” track as “sick”.
In an effort to re-elected, VP Dan Quayle asks supporters to destroy 2pac’s debut album “2pacalypse Now” as it has “No place in our society”.
In an interview with The Washington Post weeks after the LA Riots Sister Souljah from Public Enemy was quoted as saying: “If Black people kill Black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people.” Presidential candidate Bill Clinton would repeatedly criticize her as well as Jesse Jackson whose movement she was associated with at the time, allowing him not to be seen as dependent on the black voters. This coined the term “Sister Souljah moment” in American politics.
Bill Clinton with running mate Al Gore, husband of PMRC-head Tipper Gore, wins the presidential election.
1993: At the presidential inaugural ceremony for Bill Clinton, LL Cool J is asked to perform. He does his hit “Mama Said Knock You Out” at the request of Clinton’s daughter Chelsea.
On “Not Free” from “Kill My Landlord” Boots Riley of The Coup blasts Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Ross Perot and just about every other politician you can think of, starting off a career of political opposition.
P-funk legend George Clinton releases the song “Paint the white house black” on Prince’s Paisley Park label. Featuring Red Hot Chili Peppers and rappers such as Ice Cube, Dr Dre and in his possibly finest hour, Kam, the song pokes fun at the fact Bill Clinton had admitted to smoking cannabis but “didn’t inhale”.
1994: While it was initially perceived that the rap-culture embraced Bill Clinton as a step up from the past Republican presidents, the constant media and politician fire on hip-hop made Geto Boys MC Scarface record “Hand of the dead body” with Ice Cube, which Cube closes with the line: “So fuck Bill and Hillary – Ice Cube, it ain’t no killing me”.
Former president Richard Nixon dies.
1995: KRS-One’s “Ah Yeah” from his self-titled seventh album ends with the line: “Every President we ever had lied, you know I’m kind of glad Nixon died.”
Diminutive Geto Boys MC Bushwick Bill releases the album “Phantom of the Rapra” with the song “Mr President”. He addresses among other things the president’s crooked ways, censorship and homosexuality.
1996: Bill Clinton and Al Gore beat out Bob Dole and Jack Kemp in the election. Clinton aka Slick Willie heads for four more years in the White House.
Jay-Z’s “Dead Presidents” hits the radio. Along with the Hughes Brothers’ movie of the same name it revamps Rakim’s classic neologism.
Never one to stop beating a dead horse, Chino Xl raps: “Let’s see who I be now, the ino behind the c and the h with the x add the l, I can spell cause I ain’t Dan Quayle” on the track “The Shabba Doo Conspiracy” featuring Kool Keith.
1997: Bill Clinton’s affair with intern Monica Lewinsky makes it to the media. Clinton had previously been accused of having an affair with Paula Jones. The scandal seems evident after Linda Tripp secretly records conversations with her friend Monica Lewinsky about the affair.
Non Phixion records “I Shot Reagan” with reference to the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan in 1981. The song grows to be somewhat of an anthem for left-wing political hip-hop, and even spawns a Swedish spin-off called “Jag Sköt Palme” by LoopTroop. The song is however as much about global conspiracies and alien attacks as actual politics.[audio:Reagan.mp3]
2pac, posthumously, releases “I wonder if heaven got a ghetto” (original version) with the line “And though it seems heaven sent / we ain’t ready to see a black president”. The line will be revamped on “Changes” a year later, so someone really wanted that message out there.
1998: the House of Representatives impeach Clinton.
The Brooklyn-London duo of Mr Live and Tony Bones record “Splashin’ over Monica”. A hilarious tale of how it was infact the two of them and not Bill Clinton who left semen on the interns dress. The song includes lines like: “I couldn’t lie though, your wife is a bimbo, Chelsea’s ugly, and Monica’s a nympho” and “Believe a brother Bill, Kenneth Star gonna take the DNA and find out that it’s blacker than the whole NBA”.
Master P releases the track “Dear Mr President” rapped as a letter to the president, with lines like: “Dear Mr. President, I live in the hood, where people live bad, but say it’s all good.” Right on.
Company Flow who’ve recently been dissed by Anticon rapper Sole, release “Linda Tripp” a track that, like the actual Linda Tripp’s claim to fame is based on a taped conversation. This time the conversation is over the phone between Sole and Company Flow rapper El-P in which Sole actually praises the group.
1999: Again posthumously, 2pac and The Outlaws release “Letter to the president” rapped as a letter to the president, with lines like: “Heavenly Father may I holla at you briefly, I wanna meet the President, but will he meet me? He’s scared to look inside the eyes of a Thug Nigga, we tired of being scapegoats for this capitalistic drug dealin.”
Eminem debuts his video for “My Name Is” where he among other things, re-enacts Bill Clinton’s speech to the American public stating he did not have sex with Monica Lewinsky.
In what may become a prophetic moment on “So Ghetto” from Jay-Z’s album “Vol. 3 the life and times of Shawn Carter” the future Barack Obama favorite raps: “We tote guns at the Grammy’s, pop bottles on the White House lawn, guess I’m just the same old Shawn”.
Will Smith becomes the first rapper to throw in his hat as a presidential candidate at least on wax, with the lines: “My future positions determined by past decisions, so young george bush Im thinking bout runnin, maybe not this time – but trust dude, I’m coming” taken from “I’m Coming” from “Willinium”
Return to the main post.