That is the question. The UK’s Guardian magazine had an extremely interesting article on how a few hip-hop artists are changing their tune in support of President Obama. Check out an excerpt of the article below.
Obama is hardly the first political leader to reach power and face a backlash from artists who once supported him, but in the absence of the pro-Obama anthems we heard in 2008 or the deep-throated support of legions of performers, the voices of dissent have become especially pronounced. It doesn’t help that some of Obama’s major fans have changed their tune. Speech, of Arrested Development, who supported Obama in 2008, said earlier this year he was “disillusioned” with the president and would support the Republican Ron Paul instead. Snoop Dogg, another Obama fan in 2008, also seemed to throw some of his support behind Paul when he posted a picture of the politician to his Facebook page with the caption, “Smoke weed every day”, a reference to Paul’s marijuana-friendly platform.
Even those inauguration VIPs Diddy and Jay-Z have tempered their enthusiasm. In early 2011, Diddy told hip-hop magazine the Source, “I love the president like most of us. I just want the president to do better.” Jay-Z also acknowledged problems with Obama’s first term, admitting that some of the criticism directed at the president has been fair. “Numbers don’t lie,” he said last July, during a preview of Watch the Throne, his collaboration with Kanye West. “It’s fucked up out there. Unemployment is still high.”
Continued after the jump.
When asked if he feels disappointed with Obama, rapper Nas expresses his continued support for the president but also his disillusionment with the political process that put him in office. “I’ve been disappointed by politics since the day I was born,” he says. “The historic part of him being elected president was got, and everyone was happy about that, and I’m glad I lived to see it. The flipside is, after we get over that, it’s back to the politics, and it’s something which doesn’t have time for people. It’s its own animal.”
This campaign season in the US has exposed this very tension – for rappers and for Obama. For their part, many rap artists are clearly torn between their allegiance to the first black president and their desire to be straight about conditions on the ground. The Wu-Tang Clan’s track Never Feel This Pain, released last June, offers a lyrical glimpse of this ambivalence. Referring to Obama, Inspectah Deck says: “I never doubted him. I’m proud of him.” However, these lyrics of encouragement are sandwiched between those of frustration. Speaking of his desire for a better life, he says, “I ain’t waitin’ for Obama,” and continues: “Seein’ is believin’, my vision is blurred, ’cause I ain’t seein’ nothin’ I heard, really nothin’ but words.” Album reviews have either read this as criticism or endorsement, but it’s not that simple.