[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/06/art.nas.gi.jpg caption="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.