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. Shawn T

    Here come these wannabe idiots trying to make a buck by using Obama's good name in their trashy songs.

    June 6, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  2. Denial

    Don't really listen hip hop anymore .. but i'll take a listen to this tune ..

    June 6, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. Alecki

    Obama is not a good candidate for the Democratic party.

    He will not bring the world together.
    He has fought to bring us apart.

    Obama has fought not to have Michigan and Ohio seated.
    He brought up race to divide the party

    He lost the white vote with his Father Pflager.

    He's doing a great job. Please.

    June 6, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  4. Alecki

    Black American and Black votes
    When will this stop.

    There are white, yellow and brown.

    17 percent of our nation is black.
    That's it.

    17 percent will have a black reaction.

    June 6, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  5. Ernest

    Thank you. Now go get more votes.

    June 6, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. Ian

    I didn't realize that Nas was a superdelegate.

    June 6, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  7. Proud American

    We can only hope he does Nas. We've gotta try something new cause the old aint working.

    June 6, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  8. INDEPENDENCE DAY

    ENOUGH ALL READY, DID ANYONE SEE MICHELLE OBAMA HAND GESTURE TO OBAMA THE NIGHT HE WAS GRANTED THE ENDORSEMENT BY THE SUPERDELEGATES. IT WAS VERY UNPROFESSIONAL, SHE REALLY LACKS POLISH. AND THEN OBAMA PATS HER BUTT LIKE A FOOT BALL PLAYER TO SCOOT HER OFF THE STAGE. YEAH THIS IS GONNA BE GREAT. HE DISRESPECTED HIS WIFE, AND ALL WOMAN WITH THAT MOVE. I CANT WAIT TO SEE THE LINE OF DIGNITARIES AWAITING A RECEPTION LINE AND MICHELL OBAMA HIGH FIVING EVERYONE. JACKIE O SHE IS NOT.

    June 6, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  9. Stacy Clarks

    YAYYY!!!!

    I LOVE IT!!

    LET'S GO DEMOCRATS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 6, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  10. NO MORE NEOCONS

    I'm just gonna sit here and watch the comments pile up. They will all fall into two categories:

    *Racist banter
    *"Why does this matter?"

    June 6, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  11. ambboogie

    Who says Hip Hop talks about a bunch of nothing?

    June 6, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  12. im over it

    trashy songs for a trashy presidental candidate

    June 6, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  13. Mike

    (Please Post)

    Yet it's NOt about race?

    If Obama becomes President, is every headline going to read: "First African American," "History Making..." etc...

    We got it already, it's amazing to me, Obama did not want this to be about race and he didn't want his middle name used.

    Also, in essence, shouldn't it be "First Bi-racial Nominee," I mean afterall this is how he spun it during the primaries.

    I really hope that we don't have to be reminded that he is AA for 4-8 years.

    Though it's not about race, yeah right.

    Michelle will remind us of that!

    June 6, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  14. SAL

    OBAMA REACHES PEOPLE FROM ACROSS THE SPECTRUM. THIS IS PROOF THAT THE MAN INSPIRES SOMEONE TO MAKE AN ALBUM BASED ON THE GOOD EXAMPLE HE'S MAKING DURING HIS LIFE. HIS PRESENCE UPLIFTS YOUNG BLACK MALES LIKE MYSELF. I DONT CARE IF THE ALBUM SELLS WELL BUT IM BUYING IT.

    June 6, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  15. milito

    hes not black people!

    June 6, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  16. Jessica in IL

    "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”).

    Sooo... I guess I don't understand. This is supposed to be pro-Obama?

    June 6, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  17. Not a puppet for Dems

    DON'T LISTEN TO THIS CRAPPY MUSIC NEVER HAVE, YOU CAN'T EVEN UNDERSTAND THEM.

    June 6, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  18. RONNIE

    Just what Obama is some rapper supporting him.He has had enough support from idiots.

    June 6, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  19. FEDUP

    I am so sick of race, will it never end? Obama, Michelle, Oprah, Wright, Pfleger, MLK... it never seems to stop even for a day. What will the next 4 years be like? God Help us if Obama should actually win in November. Keep pointing out our differences until we all say yeah, your right, we are very different and it is not just the color of our skins.

    June 6, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  20. The Truth

    Obama was also mentioned in Lupe Fiasco's 1st Album.

    This was before Obama annouced he's run for the White House.

    June 6, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  21. MelissaMinneapolsi

    I'm a white woman.

    I like hip hop.

    I'm an Obama supporter who was at the inspirational speech he made on Tuesday. He did NOT pat her butt and while you are free to hold your opinion, everyone I've talked found their "bump" refreshing because they are a presidential couple who obviously loves each other deeply rather than being a frigid marriage of convenience.

    Last but not least, of course race is a part of this because it is so historic (just as is the case with Clinton being a woman and JFK being a Catholic). That does NOT mean though that people are voting for him because of race or that he has intentionally played the race card. His love for his white grandparents is clear and makes it obvious that he has no interest in deliberately alienating white voters.

    June 6, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  22. Obama

    Nas who? LOL

    Whatever happened to him ??

    June 6, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  23. Dems be dopes

    Mr Creative Effort looks like he is stoned.................you Dems need more endorsements like this........maybe one from Bubba?

    June 6, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  24. tell the truth

    I want a Hilliary support to answer this question. I wanted some facts. Why would you vote for McCain. I wanted to talk about some issues like health care, war in Irag, housing market, social securtiy, bush taxes cuts, pro lofe or pro choice. Please can someone tell me how you supported Hilliary but now support McCain. I will post this messeage everyday until I get a real answer. Please just tell the truth.

    June 6, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  25. GR

    Oh yeah, this was not racist until he won the nomination. Now listen to them.

    June 6, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
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