Donald Trump won—three words I never expected to write. The election aftermath continues to seem surreal like we are living in a prank gone terribly wrong. His victory over Hillary only further solidified that this year has been a twisted nightmare full of unforeseen tragedies and unlikely phenomenon. There isn’t a bucket of ice big enough to stick this entire 2016 into.
When I think of Donald’s campaign, it still surprises me how he won a race without ever seeming like a politician. He spoke with a vocabulary that was meant to fuel contempt, his every speech was hate on a silver platter. There was no hiding the evils of his rhetoric, the vile words were said loud and proud to heavy applause and cheers. Actually, I’m not surprised at all. He picked his demographic and spoke the language of their cold, chauvinist, sexist, racist, xenophobic hearts.
Donald Trump won—three words YG didn’t expect to read. His vocal stance against the president-elect was one of the loudest in hip-hop, and one of the most unexpected. Politics wasn’t a subject that you heard in his music—he took you into the heart of Compton, not to the steps of Congress—but he couldn’t ignore Donald Trump, he couldn’t overlook what was being said and done at his rallies.
He made a song that wasn’t politically correct, he took a stance as a rapper and not a politician, but just like Donald, he spoke a language that spoke directly to the hearts of the people he wanted to reach—"Fuck Donald Trump." It was simple, pure, and full of West Coast passion. YG and Nipsey Hussle were the first voices I remember speaking out against Trump, and their song continues to be cherished during these dark times. Win, lose or draw, “FDT” embodied the middle finger of the people.
"I’m growing as an artist," he says, to explain the increase in social commentary as compared to 'My Krazy Life.' “This shit that’s going on, I feel some type of way about it, and I’ve got a platform to speak my mind and say what I feel. There’s a gang of motherfuckers who have the time to speak on it, who have the platform to speak on it, who—I feel like—are supposed to speak on it, because they’re associated with hip-hop and rap. That should be protocol.” —Complex
YG dared to stand up against Donald Trump because it was the right thing to do. He wanted to be a voice that stood for the people, and that means using his platform to confront their adversaries. Other rappers spoke out, many rappers got involved in politics, but only YG made you feel as if he truly understood how the people felt toward Trump. At every turn, he made sure you knew just how much disdain he carried for the man. It reminded me of when Jeezy made “My President,” the lyrics about claiming a black man as your president made you feel something. The first time playing the song after Barack won felt like a spiritual experience—singing those lyrics never felt so good. When Donald won the election, playing “FDT” was also spiritual, they were the lyrics that you felt deep down in your soul.
I’ll remember Killer Mike standing alongside Bernie Sanders, Pusha T, Hillary Clinton, Chance The Rapper and President Obama, but mostly, when I look back on politics and hip-hop in 2016, I’ll remember YG and “FDT.” I’ll remember the music video that preached unity, I’ll remember the remix with G-Eazy and Macklemore that still seems kind of strange, but mostly I’ll remember how one Compton rapper never stopped standing against a vile man who became president. DJ Khaled became Snapchat famous, Frank Ocean emerged from Dagohbah, Gucci Mane returned from prison, and Drake may have dominated every chart and broke every record, but none of those moments truly lived up to YG being the people’s champion throughout the 2016 presidential election.
“By his own admission, YG is "not political." He told CNN in a wide-ranging interview about his music over the summer his concerns over issues like Trump's anti-Mexican rhetoric and his dismissal of police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement led him to speak out. "He can't be counted on to handle these issues. This issue is important to the black community, period. It's life," YG said. "This s--- is bigger than hip- hop. ... We're supposed to use our platform to speak up and bring our brothers together and put some light on some of this s--- that's not right for our people.’” - CNN
You can argue that it isn’t the biggest moment of the hip-hop year, but few moments made me more proud, to see a rapper care about sending a message that was bigger than himself. He’s the only rapper who had to face the Secret Service for fear of what else he might say on his album. If that’s not carrying the legacy of N.W.A, I don’t know what is.
Long live YG, and forever fuck Donald Trump.
By Yoh, aka Yohpton, aka @Yoh31