With the new Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis movie The Campaign opening tomorrow (oh, and the actual presidential campaigns you may have caught bits and pieces of this summer), we at the Weekly decided now would be the perfect time to look back at the moments hip-hop wanted you to make a choice as to who you cast your ballot for. While the success rate hasn't proven the highest for the ringing hip-hop endorsement, the rap perspective on almost 30 years of politics is at least an entertaining one.
Grandmaster Melle Mel – “Jesse” (1984)
Once upon a time, not long ago, there was a movement to put Jesse Jackson in the White House. At the forefront was Grandmaster Melle Mel (of “The Message” fame) who did his part by recording the tribute “Jesse.” Jackson later proved to not have quite the same level of rap talent, struggling the next year on “Saturday Night Live” when rapping alongside Jim Belushi.
Eric B. & Rakim – “Eric B. For President” (1986)
The quintessential rap political platform, Eric B. and Rakim's “Eric B. For President” has become one of the most referenced rap songs of all time. As you might have heard, back in the day, this was Phife of A Tribe Called Quest's favorite jam.
Will.I.Am – “Yes We Can” (2008)
The 2008 election was one of many songs. From Obama Girl to “Raisin' McCain,” it seemed every genre has song for every candidate. In the hip-hop world, the most famous seemed to be Will.I.Am's “Yes We Can,” which inventively applied Obama quotes into the lyrics. And while Hillary had… whatever this was, our favorite from this year was Ron Paul's Rapping Pizza.
Wyclef Jean – “If I Was President” (2010)
While first debuting it years before on “Chappelle Show,” Wyclef Jean dropped a much more upbeat arrangement of “If I Was President” in 2010. While his bid to be the Commander in Chief of Haiti was unsuccessful, it can be assumed if Jean ever found himself in the Oval Office that the odds of Lauryn Hill being pardoned for her tax evasion would significantly improve.
Lil B – “Vote For Lil B” (2012)
Off his new election-themed Obama BasedGod mixtape, Lil B cuts to the chase on “Vote For Lil B.” If his Twitter account is anything to go by, his campaign platform would have the most swag and he would likely choose his adopted tabby cat as his running mate.