Hip-Hop Takes a Bow for Obama’s Win


| 11/13/2008 2:18:06 PM


Tags: Arts, music, hip-hop, politics, Barack Obama, Jeff Chang, Dizzee Rascal, BBC, Bloggingheads,

Did hip-hop play a big role in the ascendance of Barack Obama?

Absolutely, hip-hop author Jeff Chang told Eli Lake of the New York Sun on Bloggingheads.tv. It was still before the election—October 29—but Chang already saw change afoot.

“Potentially what [an Obama victory] could mean is the beginning of the undoing of about 40, 44 years of really nasty racialized politics in the U.S.,” he said. “And I think it is in large part due to hip-hop, actually. Hip-hop, in a lot of ways, culturally prepared the way for the U.S. to be able to seriously look at a young, biracial candidate for the highest office in the land.”

It’s a point Chang makes at greater length in the cover story “The Tipping Point” in the November Vibe (excerpt available online).

And it’s one made much more concisely by British hip-hop star Dizzee Rascal in a post-election interview with the BBC. “I don’t think [Obama] could have won it without hip-hop,” Rascal told anchor Jeremy Paxman. “Hip-hop is what encouraged the youth to get involved.”

Rascal also told Paxman Britain could one day follow the U.S.’s example and elect a black leader.