With buzz surrounding artists like Uncle Luke and Rhymefest taking aim at political office, SOHH recently spoke with Shyne to get his take on the relationship between politics and hip-hop.
From Shyne’s perspective, rap music has always had an element of politics and democracy embedded into it.
“Rappers been political,” Shyne explained to SOHH. “Public Enemy, you dig? That’s what we’ve been doing. KRS-One, Rakim, you know, that’s the essence of hip-hop. It’s revolutionary music. You dig? We talk about hanging in the gutter, not having food to eat, standing in that welfare line. So hip-hop is the epitome of politicians. The only thing is we’re not trying to lie. We’re not trying to snuff somebody out because we’re the original revolutionaries. Not these sheep that’s organized running around. When you see Wyclef [Jean] and you see dead prez or whoever it is being political, Jay-Z helping President Barack Obama getting elected, that’s what we do. We’re for the people. Our music speaks to the people. That was Kool Herc banging the two turntables straight from Jamaica with light sockets in the BX, getting it going for the people when we ain’t have nothing else to do except for robbing and knifing each other up, wilding out. We spray painted train stations, break danced and rapped. We rapped to the whole people to enjoy ourselves and enjoy our misery and poverty. So the music we make is from the people and that’s what the government is supposed to really be about. A democracy is for the people. They’re supposed to serve the people that elected them and unfortunately [some of them] don’t do that.” (SOHH)
Last week, Miami rap pioneer Uncle Luke revealed his intent to possibly run for mayor.
“If Carlos Alvarez gets recalled, I will seriously think about running for Miami-Dade County mayor,” . “And should I win, I would make everyday I am in office a reality show. Everyday, Miami-Dade residents will have transparency in the mayor’s office…I’ve been a successful businessman in this community for years. I was born and raised in Miami-Dade. No one can question the love I have for my home county.” (Miami New Times)
Rapper Rhymefest is set to run in next month’s Chicago election to become an alderman [a member of a council].
Since announcing his run for office back in October, Rhymefest has been hit with hurdles, from opponents calling him out for his hip-hop ties to questioning his eligibility to become an alderman. Now the rhymer, born Che Smith, can focus more on his political platform after officials cleared him to run for the position in Chicago’s 20th Ward. (The Boom Box)
Outside of running for office, rap stars like Jay-Z have been influential in supporting politicians.
During his 2008 Presidential campaign, Barack Obama relied heavily on mobilizing youth and connecting with the younger generations through speeches, ads and an online presence. Now, with an eye on his 2012 Presidential reelection campaign, there’s been talk that Obama’s camp may enlist the help of Jay-Z. “I can’t believe you’ve finally heard the chatter about [Jay] replacing Larry Summers,” Deputy White House Press Secretary William Burton joked with the New York Post. “In all seriousness, keep in mind he was pretty active during the 2008 election, so I don’t think it’d surprise anyone that [Jay] would be involved again. But it’s a little premature.” (XXL Mag)
Check out some recent Shyne footage below: