The Relationship Between Hip-Hop And Politics

Justin Patton
5 min readNov 8, 2018

The voice of hip-hop has been more vocal than ever about the power of the political process.

Photo credit: Rolling Stones Magazine

Representation Matters

In 2008, Barack Obama not only became the first African-American President, but he was the first politician of his stature to make politics even remotely “cool” in the hip-hop community. President Obama looked like us, and embraced the culture by gestures like mentioning Lil’ Wayne in a speech and inviting rappers like Common to perform in the White House. The country is obviously in a different place, but the hip-hop culture has been engaged in the political process more than ever.

Not only are rappers and those with influence in hip-hop speaking about injustices and getting the word out to vote, but they are taking political action a step further by endorsing candidates beyond Barack Obama. In 2016, it was guys like Jay-z, Diddy, Pusha T, and many more who campaigned on behalf of Hillary Clinton. She may not have looked like us, but to have someone that represents us (or at least pretend like they are going to) matters!

Further Engagement

In 2018, Hip-hop has taken its political engagement further by campaigning in the midterm elections. Guys like T.I. and Killer Mike have been on the front lines campaigning for Stacey Abrams to win the Governor’s race in Georgia. Beyoncé and Travis Scott were both vocal in their support of Beto O’Rourke in Texas.

Rapper’s activity in the political process has opened the eyes of many people in urban communities in America who may not have otherwise cared about midterm elections.

Among rappers who were getting the word out to vote, some of hip-hop’s biggest platforms dedicated entire segments to these latest midterm elections. The Breakfast Club broadcasted live from Miami just days before the election in support of Andrew Gillum. The popular morning show also interviewed politicians from both parties to bring awareness to the elections.

Hot 97’s Ebro In The Morning radio show has had numerous segments discussing elections in detail regarding platforms of different candidates, and what…

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Justin Patton

Spoken word artist and writer. Living my life and writing about it along the way, it just might inspire somebody. IG: @iamjustinpatton