Hi-Cal was a construction worker from New Jersey, who after 9/11 became a Christian and starting calling himself a “Republican rapper.” He has performed for many thousands at Tea Party rallies, serenading this movement in their efforts to move the USA more to the right of the political spectrum.
Fans and experts of rap and hip hop might find Hi-Cal’s rhymes and beats to be pedestrian. But perhaps there is room for ideological diversity in all styles of music.
Perhaps we can now have a rap battle not of boasting but of political debate?
Back in 2005 Hurricane Katrina caused much damage along the Gulf coast, from central Florida to Texas. Many observers felt the President, George W. Bush, didn’t do enough. More than one million Americans were uprooted, there was a huge economic impact and much negative environmental consequences. And it seemed government disaster response was slow, especially in regards to the flooding of New Orleans. The President directed the department of Homeland Security to oversee assistance. They sort of delegated to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But an apparent lack of planning and coordination led to resignations and replacements of key officials. It seemed unique (and disappointing) to many, that international relief organizations had to come into the world’s superpower of a country to assist.
Governments have disaster response plans. We never know how good they are until they must be implemented.
Lil Wayne, in 2013, critiques his country for a foreign policy that lives and dies by the sword. The same point is made for domestic policy in terms of police and jail. The rapper then seems to get off track, describing performing a sex act on his girlfriend. Maybe it’s all somehow related? It could be about the country having no soul, being even aimless, putting disparate things together. Regardless, the image of seeing a butterfly in hell is vivid.
Hip hop mogul Kanye West had a laundry list of issues to itemize, along with singer Frank Ocean, in 2013.
Racial segregation in schools is noted to the extent of separate drinking fountains for blacks and whites. Kanye also points to the fashion industry for past racism. It goes on.
A larger theme might be criticizing mindless consumerism, even though West is easily able to afford luxuries and set popular culture trends. Maybe that makes the man a hypocrite, or at least someone who thoughtfully feels conflicted by his wealth given the struggles of his people in the past, and the challenges many of his brothers and sisters continue to face. Whatever, the chorus crudely suggests that for Kanye, its better to lead than follow (or is that, better to give, than to receive)?
This is the type of song that raises many political issues, with individual lines that could be parsed as individual posts.
The song quotes from Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit. Also by West, reviewed here: Otis
These Aussie hip hoppers employ real instruments. According to this 2003 song (warning: many curse words), 77% of Australian citizens are racists. This statistic refers to a public opinion poll result regarding the Tampa Affair. A 2001 situation involved the government of Australia refusing permission for a vessel hosting refugees from Afghanistan to enter Australian waters. Tampa was the name of the boat. During these times, refugees were regularly arriving and the concern was being flooded with so many newcomers. There was public support for this position, which is why The Herd felt that their fellow citizens needed to reconsider their apparent racism.
The people behind this song appear to be in hiding despite the courage it took for the girl it is about, to literally put herself in the line of fire for women’s freedom and education rights. They are apparently musicians from the USA, Canada, Nigeria and elsewhere, but as of writing not identifiable despite the power of Google.
Hopefully this video is a legitimate tribute and not done simply because “Malala” as a phrase rolls off the tongue for singing quite nicely. Regardless, the story of this girl needs to be reviewed by this blog.
Malala Yousafzai is the Pakistani teenage girl now being fêted with numerous peace awards, and who is a Nobel Peace prize nominee for 2013. In 2012, she was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen, returning home from school for which as a girl she was not supposed to attend. Thankfully she barely survived, and now is even more passionate about bringing attention and change to her worthy cause.
If there are other prestigious or more well-known/high profile songs for Malala, please share them with a comment below.