Hip-hop and politics have been closely intertwined since the genre’s inception. In fact, many would agree that a cornerstone pillar the culture is built on is challenging governmental norms and providing a political voice to those who might not be represented otherwise. From Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s 1982 track “The Message” to Public Enemy’s highly politicized youth anthem “Fight the Power,” hip-hop has been a proudly defiant movement dead-set on garnering mainstream attention to the trials and tribulations facing America’s poor and disenfranchised inner-city youth.
More recently, hip-hop heavyweights like Jay-Z and Diddy became instrumental figures during Barack Obama’s two successful presidential campaigns. But when the change of administration came when President Donald Trump was elected in 2016, hip-hop had to once again rally for the change they wanted to see. Although not every rapper is completely unified when it comes to politics, there is certainly an array of voices standing up for what's right and wrong when it comes to different political parties. Just like music, there are many sides of the political spectrum in hip-hop.
Now, with the 2020 presidential election arriving on Nov. 3, eight months away, rappers are declaring their varied political stances. Artists like Chance The Rapper, Cardi B and Killer Mike are just a few people who have been voicing their opinion on their desired candidates. These artists have both officially and unofficially endorsed presidential hopefuls like Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang, who recently dropped out of the race. Then there's also Kanye West, who has thrown his own name in the mix for presidential candidacy in the years to come. Of course it's too late for 2020, but 2024 could definitely be on his political horizon.
Check out Cardi B, Chance The Rapper, Killer Mike and more voicing their opinion on politics below.
Chance The Rapper Endorses Andrew Yang
Chance The Rapper has always been politically motivated—ever since his Chicago childhood. His father, Ken Bennett, continues to be involved with the Democratic Party. He even worked for Barack Obama as a presidential appointee during Obama's presidential campaign. This has not only translated into Chance’s mantras and music but also into his wholesome personality.
In August of 2019, after former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang was seen on Twitter jazzercising before a campaign meeting, Chance couldn’t help but salute his “headbob.” The rapper retweeted the original tweet featuring the video and added, “I can’t be pandered to. But the confidence of that headbob :11 seconds in mighta made me #YangGang”.
Although this might not be a sure-fire endorsement, it’s safe to say Chance is keeping that same familial Democratic energy.
Cardi B Endorses Bernie Sanders
Cardi B’s music isn’t necessarily politically fixated or affiliated in any way but paying close attention to the Bronx native’s Instagram and Twitter, her political views are crystal clear. Since 2016, she has been openly adverse to President Donald Trump and has continuously endorsed Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders.
Over the last year, Cardi has been undoubtedly active in Bernie Sanders’ political campaign for president. Not only has she dished out a tirade of tweets and rants on her IG stories around the current political climate, but she's also hopped on a FaceTime call with Bernie Sanders hours before his Democratic debate and even engaged in a 12-minute conversation with Bernie for his presidential campaign. The two talked about the drug industry, race relations, taxes and much more. It's clear Cardi has a passion for politics and even hinted at stepping into the profession herself one day.
Killer Mike Endorses Bernie Sanders
Killer Mike is easily one of the strongest political voices hip-hop has in today’s landscape. From his music to his Netflix documentary series, Trigger Warning, the rapper doesn’t hold back his views on the political structures within America and beyond. For years, he’s been preaching equality, self-ownership and generational wealth—all of which targeted at bettering the poor and disenfranchised communities.
During Bernie Sanders’ 2015 presidential campaign, Killer Mike advocated for the Democratic hopeful and has been in his corner ever since. Mike has given speeches at rallies, both he and Bernie have created online interview content together and Mike has been known to travel along with Bernie on the campaign trail.
What makes Mike and Bernie so politically aligned is their drive for social equality, end to police brutality and fight against systemic racism.
Childish Gambino Endorses Andrew Yang
Childish Gambino is a man of many hats—rapper, actor, comedian, writer and director just, to name a few. Now, he can add "creative consultant” to that list. In December of 2019, the rapper joined the former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s political campaign as an official creative consultant.
Their most recent work was a Los Angeles pop-up shop, where Yang supporters could purchase Yang2020 merchandise designed by Childish Gambino and his team.
While Yang's campaign is finished, the "This Is America" artist might not have much left on his political plate, but there was no doubt he was working behind the scenes in an attempt to get Yang elected before the candidate eventually threw in the towel.
Kanye West Declares His Own Presidential Bid
Kanye has had a highly politicized past five years for everything from his support of President Trump to Yeezy sneaker mania. Ever since Donald Trump got elected president in 2016, Kanye has been very outspoken about his support for the 45th president of the United States—to many people’s disappointment.
Regardless of who’s in office now, Kanye has declared quite a few times during interviews over the last year that he plans to run for president himself in 2024. He’s tweeted the idea many times and even formally announced it back in August of 2015.
With the Trump support seemingly behind him and a concentration on faith in full focus, Kanye is still planning on running for president in 2024. During 2019’s Fast Company Innovation Festival, he discussed new innovations to the Yeezy sneaker line and couldn’t help but also share his plans on his presidential bid in four years.
Scarface Runs for Houston City Council
Scarface will and should go down as one of hip-hop's most candid, gifted lyricists. From his work with The Geto Boys to his deep catalog of solo work, the Houston native is also one of your favorite rapper's favorite southern rapper. Besides his rhymes, he also dons a political hat as he expands his brand.
Last summer, Scarface decided to run for the Houston City Council seat in an attempt to dismantle all the negative effects Trump's presidency has had on not only the city, but the country at large. The rapper's platform was very much tailored locally and focused on bringing impoverished Houston neighborhoods together and preaching his Positive Purpose Movement.
Unfortunately, ’Face lost to another candidate in December, but it's clear the current political landscape has motivated the lauded MC to put in work for the community that raised him.
T.I. Endorses Bernie Sanders
T.I. has become one of the more outspoken voices in hip-hop and stands strong in his convictions. Whether it's about parenting, rap music or politics itself, the self-proclaimed King of the South has a take for everything.
Last year, he sat down with The View to discuss his role as a judge on the Netflix hip-hop reality competition show Rhythm+Flow as well as his political stance for 2020. When asked who he would be voting for or who he felt could beat Trump in the upcoming election, Tip sided with Bernie Sanders.
"If the election was tomorrow, the only person I think that really, really has a chance to beat him is Bernie," the Atlanta rapper said. "He has a strong base, he has strong positions, strong views." T.I. also went on to say that Bernie is "the antithesis of Donald Trump."
Rich Brian Brings Andrew Yang Out at His Show
Rich Brian isn't usually the artist who speaks on his political ties in his lyrics or on social media, however, he recently granted the former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang permission to hit the stage at alongside him.
Last October, Rich performed at New York City's Terminal 5 and brought out Yang to the surprise of the audience. The steady applause in the room proved Yang had somewhat of a hip-hop approval rating. “It feels like there’s a fucking Yang Gang here tonight,” Andrew Yang said, to which the crowd went wild.