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. Janey

    Just like oprah, these people want to jump on a bandwagon. They have everything else and are hoping for a little more==using AA for all they can get. Rock starss–for Obama–vote them out!

    June 6, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  2. karen

    I will sit back and read all the racist comments now..just because he is a "rapper" certain people will see this as very nagative, just watch, see and read.....

    June 6, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  3. Pepou

    Barack Obama will be my president and I am white. He will be the president of EVERYONE , all colors, all shapes, all religions. Period.

    June 6, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  4. Female Outsider for Obama!

    O-blah-ma June 6th, 2008 7:16 pm ET
    Yo yooooo Rappers – keep it up homies. Between yo raps and Obama's brush-off moves – non-black America will vote NO to turning the White House into a Ghetto crib.
    This isn't MTV folks – it the highest office of our proud Nation.

    *********************

    You are an Ignorant Egotistic Human being... Its people like you that create DUMB and unrealistic stereotypes! Even though America is moving past racial stereotypes, You are still living in la la land (and this is a dark place)!!!

    June 6, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  5. darren

    Get over it , hes BLACK....ok now that's cleared up...

    and if he was purple, pink, white or my favorite "baby blue" i'd still vote for him...

    STOP THE DRAMA>>>>VOTE OBAMA!!

    June 6, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  6. Steve

    Barack Obama is another Jackie Robinson on a much larger scale. At first, some of Robinson's Dodger teammates didn't care about his breaking the color barrier in baseball. However, they did care at the end of that 1947 season as Robinson made them money. The Dodgers won the Pennant. Here's hoping Obama can help us win the pennant after 8 losing seasons with George Bush.

    June 6, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  7. Didine in Maryland

    Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is showing us that Obama inspired everybody. Even rapper like Nas already create a song for Obama. That is really cool!

    June 6, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  8. tough crowd

    There has never been a step change in thinking in this country that wasn't a struggle. Without that struggle, there would still be slavery, only white males would be allowed to vote, hell we might still be part of England.

    Congrats to both senators!

    June 6, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  9. Eric

    INDEPENDENCE DAY June 6th, 2008 5:46 pm ET

    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.
    _____________________________________________________

    YOUR IGNORANT, and since you asked, i did see it and it was not a sign of disrespect. It actually showed how well they are not only as husband and wife, but as a team.

    June 6, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  10. King in MO

    It's depressing hearing how many negative comments are out there coming from people who know nothing about Nas or Rap music. It's also disheartening hearing people argue about race. Let me help all of you morons out. If you are not Black – Don't think you can judge Black churches, music, or make racial slurs commonly used by Blacks about other Blacks. If you are not White "dito". If you are not Asian "dito". If you are not Hispanic "dito". As a mixed person I get so sick and tired of hearing you idiots bicker about this when it really all comes down to the most simple rule in all society. The GOLDEN ONE.

    June 6, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  11. ginger

    Listen up Hillary die-hard supporters. Hillary is not leaving the DNC. She is committed to her party and will stand with her party. And if you really cared about Hillary and the womans movement you will stand with her in support of Barack Obama.

    Do you not realize that your behavior could become a hindrence to Sen Clitons future? The outrage some of you display is without deep reflection. Do you think in 2012 the DNC will rally behind a candidate whose supporters cause division and striff?

    18 million is a lot of votes but how many Americans live in this country? 300 million or so. So in light of this REALITY 18 million isn't going to get the job done.

    Sen. Clinton would like to continue her political career and perhaps become President someday. But if her supporters don't stand behind her even in defeat no one will support her in 2012.

    Think on it.

    June 6, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  12. Linda K.

    I never cared much for rap until my sons got me interested. Now we listen together (sometimes–to artists who don't use profanities).

    We had our generation. Times have changed. Fist bumps and rappers and genuine affection between the candidate and his wife. It's not the way I grew up but this old fogie is willing to try something new.

    June 6, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  13. jeff

    PLEASE dont put Nas and Obama on the same page. Nas is a complete moron.

    June 6, 2008 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  14. Vernon

    We are on the verge of electing the first Black man to be President.His mother is half-white.Barack Obama himself is a metaphor for what we can achieve if race is not the issue.When Dr.King mentioned white and black children holding hands as part of his "I Have a Dream" speech,his dream has evolved to the point to where we're about elect one of those black children to be the most powerful man in the world!!....I'm so proud of this country!!............OBAMA 08

    June 6, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  15. fred

    Karen in Fla June 6th, 2008 6:50 pm ET

    Oh yeah – a bunch of rappers are going to convince me to vote for Obama – NOT.

    I am confused, as are others, why he considers himself "The First Black Candidate". Excuse me, didn't we hear ALL about that White Grandmother? Shouldn't he be the "First Bi-Racial Candidate"?

    Sure seems like he is ashamed of his white heritage. Instead of celebrating both sides of his heritage he chooses to ignore one half. Why don't his supporters see that he is divisive as is his wife? His supporters are the ones to rant and rave about anyone with a differing opinion than theirs. His supporters are the ones that started calling for Hillary to drop out MONTHS before the primary was finished. Why is it his supporters react so strongly and negatively towards ANYONE who questions him in the least?

    Guess what – there are going to be a LOT of questions coming up over the next few months so you'd better get used to it. And if the scandals of the last few months are any indicator – you will have to stop acting like he and his wife are squeaky clean.
    ============================

    AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!11

    June 6, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  16. TrueBlue

    Here goes the country. This is the kind of people that support osama. My children can't even listen to that stuff, and we are supposed to follow these people to hell?

    June 6, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  17. Nija

    This is not about black or white Nas do not be to stupid pls take my advice.

    June 6, 2008 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  18. Chelsea

    Hold on.....why is this news worthy..? I am with the "who cares" group... I'm an ardent Obama supporter...but I don't QUITE get why this matters...at all?

    June 6, 2008 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  19. Pam from Michigan

    Big deal, he inspired a rapper, so what kids like him they won't vote anyways. I doubt any country western music star feels inspired by him. he sure doesn't inspire me. all this talk about historic stuff, it doesn't feel historic, whats the big deal? How many people are going to call me racist? When really I'm not. I just don't think its a big deal. I vote for the candidate not the color, not the gender, not the party.

    June 6, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  20. jimmy velman

    OBAMA HAS THE SOLID AFRICAN-AMERICAN VOTE AND THEY ARE FORMIDABLE AND UNITED. BUT HE HAS NOT WON THE WOMEN, THE SENIORS, THE RURAL AMERICANS , THE JEWISH VOTE.
    THIS ELECTION IS THE ONE AND ONLY CHANCE FOR OBAMA TO BECOME THE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESIDENT. THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN AGAIN. THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARIES WENT VERY FAR AND LONG BECAUSE IT WAS A CLOSE ONE. THAT IS TO SAY OBAMA DID NOT WIN BY A LANDSLIDE AND AN OVERWHELMING MANDATE. (TO ME IT IS AN UNDERWHELMING VICTORY).
    OBAMA'S SUPPORTERS RELISHING HIS VICTORY SEEM TO IGNORE hILLARY'S 18 MILLION SUPPORTERS AND CHOOSE TO
    DENY HER THE VP SPOT.. BIG MISTAKE IF THAT WERE TO HAPPEN. HILLARY WILL CONCEDE AND PLEDGE TO SUPPORT OBAMA. HER SUPPORTERS HOWEVER ARE A DIFFERENT BREED
    THEY ARE NOT ONLY VERY LOYAL AND PATRIOTIC AMERICANS,
    THEY ARE ANGRY AND VERY DISAPPOINTED. THE MORE OBAMA IGNORES THE CLAMOR FOR HILLARY TO BE ON THE VP SPOT, THE ANGRIER THEY WILL BECOME, NOT WITHSTANDING HILLARY'S CONCESSION SPEECH AND PLEDGE FOR PARTY UNITY IN SUPPORTING OBAMA.. HILLARY'S SUPPORTERS ARE
    NOT JUMPING WITH JOY WITH OBAMA'S TALK AND SPEAK SINCE HE CLINCHED THE NOMINATION.. THEY CAN SEE THRU AND BETWEEN THE LINES OF OBAMA'S SPEAK. OBAMA'S BODY LANGUAGE WHEN TALKNIG ABOUT HILLARY ALSO BETRAYS HIM.

    June 6, 2008 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  21. TRUTH AMERICA

    rappers nor country singers make no diff. in a presidential race. especially this time in this election. the stakes are too high. so lets talk about the issues instead of scaring white voters by pointing out rappers are for obama. its very obvous by putting a story like this on the ticker. your better then this CNN.

    June 6, 2008 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  22. Debby

    DEAR "small " MINDS,

    THIS IS EXACTLY HOW LIES AND PROPAGANDA START!! OBAMA DID NOT PAT HIS WIFE'S BEHIND ! ! HE LOVINGLY TOUCHED THE LOWER PART OF HER BACK !! AND SO WHAT ANYWAY?? IS IT NOW A WORLD CRISIS?? GOD HELP THE " small " MINDS OF AMERICA WHOSE COMMENTARY CAN'T BE ANY MORE INTELLIGENT THAN TALKING ABOUT A HUG, OR A SONG, OR SOME OBVIOUSLY IGNORANT HATE-SPEAK. WHILE THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING – YOU REALLY DO US PROUD!!!!!!

    June 7, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  23. Slider

    Some questions for the ignorant rapper who appears to be just one in a sea of ignorant performers in our deluded, diseased culture:

    Why do you continue to believe the myth that an Obama presidency will put black America over the hump?

    Why do you belong to the party of Theophilus Eugene "Bull" Connor? The party of the Dixiecrats? The party of the Southern Manifesto (with the exception of two Republicans)?

    The party that has done more than any other in this country in damaging blacks and ethnic minorities?

    Not to hit on too fine a point, Mr. Unintelligent Rapper, but if you had any sense at all, you would be feeling something called cognitive dissonance, but it appears that you simply take an inordinate amount of pride in not knowing what you don't know.

    But don't worry, you have plenty of company.

    June 7, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  24. Anonymous

    this is new generation let sodier boy retire, it time for change.

    June 7, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  25. timmy

    why is it ok for black people to vote for Obama just cause he is black, while it was seen as racist if someone voted for Clinton just because she was white.

    i support neither, its just a double standard. Being black actually helped him as 95% of blacks are democarts, but it hurts him in a general election as blacks were voting democrat anyway, allthough more will go out and vote.

    June 7, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
1 2 3 4