The two west coast rappers performed “F.D.T.” - or “Fuck Donald Trump,” for those unfamiliar with the acronym - on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore this past Friday night. And to top it off, YG wore an AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted shirt, a clear reference to Ice Cube's classic album.
It has been a joy to see hip-hop get involved in the political process and social activism this year. Killer Mike joined Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail in a way that we've never seen before by a rapper, and he was the perfect emcee for the job, but Mike's been far from an isolated example. From Drake to T.I. and everywhere in between, rappers have been doing far more than tweeting their supporting for political and social issues of late.
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But there's still something special about good, old-fashioned protest music. And that's exactly what YG and Nipsey delivered.
The song has already gained steam as the year’s most potent sociopolitical rap anthem; and as a highlight on Still Brazy, the album that has established YG as one of the best, most promising voices in rap music right now. But a great song is one thing: it's different to see two gangsta rappers on late-night TV performing a song that's designed to help take down a specific presidential candidate.
To be clear, F.D.T isn’t a song with clear solutions to the complex set of issues facing millions of Americans. But it demands action through voting and expresses a wide sentiment. Even without the f-bomb, since the performance was on TV, the song is just as effective.
Rappers should continue to find multiple ways to impact their communities, but let's not forget that the microphone and the stage are still two of their biggest weapons. When the Secret Service is trying to censor your work, you're making music with real impact that reminds the world of the true power of hip-hop.
By William Ketchum III, aka @WEKetchum
Photo Credit: Instagram