Hip-hop in the Obama age

Is rap ripe for a new revolution now that Barack is on the block?

For decades, rappers have rhymed about the day a black man wins the White House. So now what? Here’s a thought: “Obama’s rise might weaken the position of those…who rap about the allure of the drug trade in neighborhoods low on viable careers, or those whose gangsta tales make an implicit point about the conditions that create gangstas in the first place. Even an unabashedly crass commercialist like 50 Cent casts his boasts of alpha-male domination as a socioeconomic symptom: ‘Some say I’m gangsta, some say I’m crazy—if you ask me, I say I’m what the ‘hood made me.’ Going forward, there may be less patience for this line of thinking. Our president overcame the disadvantages of growing up black and fatherless—what’s your excuse? Will Obama make grappling with social inequity and racial injustice trickier for rappers? It can be harder to speak truth to power when power looks like you.”