Barack Obama Addresses Hip Hop; Meets With Jay-Z And Kanye West
Obama, who lost to Hillary Clinton in yesterday's New Hampshire primary, says he has been a Hip Hop fan for years. Although neither Jay-Z nor Kanye West have come out to publicly support Obama's candidacy, Obama has already talked with the two regarding ways in which they can use their music in a positive way, and also how to branch out and fill the gap between older generations who dismiss Hip Hop as a negative, inferior art form.
"I've met with Jay-Z; I've met with Kanye. And I've talked to other artists about how potentially to bridge that gap. I think the potential for them to deliver a message of extraordinary power that gets people thinking (is massive)," Obama told Jeff Johnson during BET's political special What's In It For Us?.
Though he supports using Hip Hop as a catalyst for good, Obama is also aware of Hip Hop's negative side too, acknowledging that messages of crime and misogyny overshadow the many positive aspects of rap music.
"There are times, even on the artists I've named, the artists that I love, that there is a message that's sometimes degrading to women, uses the N-word a little too frequently. But also something that I'm really concerned about is (they're) always talking about material things about how I can get something; more money, more cars."
With the primaries in full swing, the voice of young Black America and the Hip Hop vote will continue to be a focal point in the media. So far, rappers including Common, Rhymefest and Talib Kweli have voiced their support for Obama.