Nas performed at Virginia’s Hampton University this weekend, as Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody points out. My initial reaction to a conservative writing about Obama’s ties to rappers is to assume a subtle, or not subtle, appeal to racism, but Brody is hip enough to recognize Nas’ artistry, while also questioning Obama’s self-identification with hip hop.
Nas’ music, overall, is a gumbo of uplifting mantras, black history, sex, drugs, youth empowerment and violence. In short, there are many songs, including some he performed Sunday, such as “If I Ruled the World,” and “I Can” that are positive, hopeful hymns that wouldn’t be out of place at a church picnic. And then there are some that offended some people so much that protests emerged when he was announced to be playing the benefit concert for Virginia Tech students in 2007…Obama has been very upfront about how he enjoys the music of rappers Jay-Z and Kayne West. Both have helped promote his campaign yet they have been known to sing a few controversial songs to say the least. The Brody File wonders why these associations seem to be given a free pass. Is it because rap music has become so mainstream today that provocative lyrics don’t even register with folks anymore?