Hip-hop should get a turn to say what it thinks of Obama. After all, Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message” spoke directly to the Reagan administration. In fact, despite criticisms, rappers have a long history of speaking truth to power and to the people at the same time, no matter how abrasive their lyrics. So why not let Tupac Shakur warn us that we “gotta start makin’ changes/learn to see me as a brother instead of two distant strangers.”
“One Nation Under a Groove“ by Funkadelic
When I was a kid in grade school, we would deliberately skew the lines to the Pledge of Allegiance, replacing them with the lyrics to this song. It would infuriate our teacher and get us in trouble every day, but we didn’t care. We thought it was funny then, but now Funkadelic seems to make a hell of a point by offering “a chance to dance my way/out of my constrictions.” If the Obama campaign understands that’s what we Americans are looking for, then they’ll “give you more of what you’re funkin’ for.” All we really want is to be “One Nation Under a Groove.”
R.I.P. Glen Goins.
“Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder
Obama actually used this song at his inauguration in 2009. That’s because this song rocks so hard that it’s perfect to inspire people, motivate them and get them to believe that better times are ahead. Wonder’s message is simple: “Teachers keep on teaching/Preachers keep on preaching/World keep on turning/Cause it won’t be too long.” If you hear this one at a Democratic campaign rally this summer, don’t be surprised. And get ready to rock!
Madison Gray is a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based writer and Web journalist. Follow him on Twitter.