A little over a week ago YG and Nipsey Hussle released their dual "Fuck Donald Trump" video. It was a political call to arms that placed the duo firmly in the anti-authoritarian lineage of N.W.A., and while the response has been largely positive in the hip-hop community, yesterday YG said that the Secret Service had contacted his label over concerns that his upcoming album, Still Krazy, would contain the song, or songs like it, and if so that they would make sure the album was never released.
The internet's reaction to YG's claim of attempted government censorship has been, to put it midly, skeptical, thinking that YG's lying in order to drum up some publicity:
Secret Service has much better things to do than worry about this. They're are people on twitter literally threatening to assassinate Trump. This is small potatoes.
Yeah I call bullshit
I wouldn't be so sure. First, let's establish that as a leading presidential candidate Trump receives Secret Service protection, just like Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and others, and they do not play around. Just ask the dude in the Dreamville t-shirt who tried to rush Trump and immediately got hammered by large gentlemen wearing suits and ear pieces.
Second, the Secret Service is in the literal business of protecting lives - "Our concern is overt acts of threats to our protected officials," said Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy in a recent testimony - which also puts them in the strange position of having to monitor and breakdown art and media like they're Genius. So while they're not about to get involved with Mac Miller saying "fuck Trump" on a Comedy Central show, anything that crosses the line into threats of physical violence against the President or presidential candidates will trigger them, and if "Fuck Donald Trump" doesn't cross that line, it puts its toe right up on the line.
You built walls? We gon' prolly dig holes
And if your ass do win, you gon' prolly get smoked
When me and Nip link, that's Bloods and Crips
Where your L.A. rally? We gon' crash your shit
All the niggas in the hood wanna fight you / Surprised El Chapo ain't tried to snipe you
Surprised the Nation of Islam ain't tried to find you / Have a rally out in L.A., we gon' fuck it up
YG would be far from the first person to have the Secret Service come knocking recently. Earlier this month conservative radio host Glenn Beck found himself face to face with the Secret Service after he seemed to suggest on-air that he would stab Trump if given the opportunity, and a 20-year-old man was arrested just days ago for tweeting a bomb threat against a Trump rally.
And that's just in the past month. Go back in history and you'll find that the FBI had a file on Public Enemy, Ice-T was monitored closely after releasing "Cop Killer" and the NYPD had a special unit in the early 2000s devoted solely to monitoring Jay Z, 50 Cent and other high profile rappers. Those aren't conspiracy theories, those are well-documented facts.
The closest parallel here is, fittingly, N.W.A. After the group released "Fuck the Police" they were contacted by the FBI and watched by the Secret Service, leading to the song being banned from radio and retail chains.
"Music plays a significant role in society, and I wanted you to be aware of the FBI's position relative to this song..."
So it's not just possible that the Secret Service contacted YG's label in response to the lyrics to "Fuck Donald Trump" and at least insinuating that they'd attempt to block his album. It's not even probable. Even a quick look at the relationship between hip-hop and the government over the years says that there's a high chance that YG really is feeling some very real heat from the Secret Service, which should serve as a reminder of just how powerful hip-hop can be.
As watered down and appropriated as it may be at times, it's still the planet's most dangerous musical genre.