June 6th, 2008
07:24 PM ET
2 years ago

Rapper Nas hypes Obama in "Black President"

Nas slams John McCain in his new rap single.
Nas slams John McCain in his new rap single.

(CNN) – Barack Obama made a splash in the hip-hop world last summer when his name showed up as a lyric in two singles from Common and Talib Kweli.

Then came the online mega-hit “Yes We Can” by Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas, who artfully re-mixed Obama’s New Hampshire election night speech into a star-studded music video that racked up millions of views on video-sharing Web sites.

Big-name performers like Jay-Z, T.I. and 50 Cent have all endorsed Obama, and Mos Def even campaigned for him before the North Carolina primary.

Now that Obama has secured the Democratic nomination, a new mix tape is making waves on the Internet - “Black President,” from the New York-based rapper Nas and DJ Green Lantern.

The song opens with a memorable line from Obama’s victory speech in Iowa (“They said this day would never come”), and then dips into a sample from Tupac Shakur’s 1998 hit “Changes” (“We ain’t ready to have a black president”).

The track’s chorus quickly counters Tupac’s decade-old lament with a sing-songy take on Obama’s campaign mantra – “Yes we can/change the world!”

Nas, apparently, is a campaign news junkie. The song slams Obama’s former spiritual mentor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright with the lyric, “You ain’t right, Jeremiah/Wrong pastor.”

He also accuses John McCain of pandering during his April visit to Memphis on the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s murder, when McCain apologized for his 1983 vote against a federal King holiday: “We ain’t falling for the same traps standing on the balconies/Where they shot the King at/McCain got apologies/Ain’t nobody hearing that/People need honesty.”

Nas’s rhymes are, at moments, optimistic: “I think Obama provides hope and challenges minds of all races and colors to erase the hate/And try to love one another/So many political snakes.”

But it’s clear he remains cynical about the political process, wondering if Obama will remain true to his convictions and tackle issues facing inner-cities and the prison system if elected. “When he wins, will he really care still?” Nas asks.

According to MTV News, “Black President” will be released on Nas’ upcoming LP, due out in July.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. Obama Supporter

    > He still has more white votes than he has of any other demographic that voted for him. Guess what? He will regain the White vote because people are tired of the divisions.

    I'm white, but I still want to give you a Black church style "AMEN!" for that. I'm sick of all the people trying to drag Obama down. My voter registration card may say "Republican" but I will not vote for a fake like McCain. Obama has my vote all the way and no phony scandal is going to change that.

    June 7, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  2. Debby Belcher

    Dear "small" Minds:

    See? This is exactly how Lies and Propaganda get started. Obama did NOT pat his wife on the behind!! (If you're going to tell a lie, tell it right!) He simply and lovingly touched her lower back and so what anyway? Is it now a world crisis? It always seems to be the "small" minds whose commentary is never much more intelligent than discussing a hug, or a song, or the constant ignorant utterances of hate-speak. Thanks alot for your contributions. While the whole world is watching, you sure do us proud!

    June 7, 2008 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  3. Chi4Obama

    CNN,
    This must have been a slow newsday. I'm sure Nas isn't the first (and definately wont' be the last) artist to make reference to Obama as "The first black President" . I'm still scratching my head trying to find why this is "newsworthy".

    Let's get back to real issues, like why gas prices, are rising to near $5.00/gallon in Chicago and other major markets. Or why my hard earned tax dollars, are funding an unnecessary war that we were "lied" into by the Bush administration.

    June 7, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  4. Nicolas Smith

    WHEN WILL THE MEDIA STOP THIS NONSENSE. YOU ARE SUPPOSE TO BE MORE RESPOSIBABLE THAN THIS. AMERICA IS A RACE CONCIOUS SOCIETY AND THIS DOESN'T MEAN THERE ARE RAVING RACISTS EVERYWAY BUT IT HAS BEEN SOCIALIZED INTO EACH INDIVIDUAL. IN ORDER FOR THE MEDIA TO HAVE SOMETHING TO DO CNN AND OTHERS ARE PROVIDING PLATFORMS FOR RACIAL COMMENTS e.g. THE ABOVE ARTICLE. STOP IT CNN AND I AM ASHAME OF SOME OF THE BLOGGERS WITH THEIR COMMENTS. THE WORLD IS WATCHING AMERICA CLEAN UP UP YOUR ACT.

    June 7, 2008 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
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