Music and politics have always been intertwined, especially in the world of hip-hop. But not all rappers relegate their political viewpoints to the confines of their art. Sometimes, they bring political candor to an actual campaign trail.
Plenty of rappers have flirted with the idea of running for political office. However, there have been a few who have thrown their hat in the ring, earnestly. From Belizean rapper-turned-congressman, Shyne to Kanye West, here are five rappers who have legitimately run for political office.
Before his career in politics, Belizean rapper Shyne was probably best known for his hit song “Bad Boyz.” The track reached number 9 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart. Shyne’s musical career was hit with some turbulence after he was convicted and imprisoned for assault and reckless endangerment.
While incarcerated, Shyne signed a multi-million-dollar contract with Def Jam Records and released his second album Godfather Buried Alive. The album was a hit. After Shyne’s release from prison in 2009, he was deported to Belize. A year later, he was appointed the Belize Music and Goodwill Ambassador. In 2020, he was elected to the Belize House of Representatives. Shyne’s political career shows no signs of waning as he is currently looking to run for prime minister of Belize in 2025.
Detroit-based rapper Esham has had a long career in the world of underground rap. His breakout album Bruce Wayne: Gothom City 1987 reached number 57 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album chart the year of its release. In 2002, Esham signed to Psychopathic Records and released a string of experimental “acid rap” albums including fan-favorite release Repentance.
In 2008, Esham told Metro Times he was in the process of petitioning to run for Mayor of Detroit. His petition was ultimately denied. However, his potential bid for candidacy did give fans a mayoral campaign EP. And to be honest, it was kind of ill. Seriously.
3. Uncle Luke
Luther Campbell (aka Luke, Uncle Luke, or Luke Skyywalker) was the leader of one of rap’s foremost group of provocateurs, 2 Live Crew. With that in mind, it’s hard to believe Miami native would ever run for office. After all, this was the guy who co-wrote “Throw the D.” So, make of that what you will.
However, in 2011, Campbell ran for mayor of Miami-Dade County. He ran on a somewhat(?) progressive platform that looked to bring transparency to local government (and tax strippers). Uncle Luke came in fourth among a group of eleven candidates. Regardless, he still managed to get 11% of the vote, which seemed like an impressive percentage, all things considered.
2. Kanye West
Kanye West has been the subject of countless controversies over the course of his career. From interrupted awards shows to several public feuds, West was no stranger to combative behavior. However, one of the strangest moments in his career was his bid for the presidency of The United States. On July 4th, 2020, Kanye West announced his campaign for President of the United States. In what seemed like another media stunt by the controversial rapper, West managed to qualify for ballot access in 12 states. His bid for the highest office in the US garnered over 66 thousand votes, receiving an average of 0.32% of voter support
1. Wyclef Jean
Wyclef Jean has never been stranger to politics in his art. He helped galvanize the socially conscious rap group The Fugees in the early ’90 and has been politically active ever since. Jean has tackled several political topics in his art, but in 2010 he went a step further.
Dee-1’s Perspective on Joe Budden’s Critique: A Discussion for SNLVIFE
In the world of hip-hop and podcasting, debates and disagreements are not uncommon. One such instance that has caught our attention at SNLVIFE involves Joe Budden and Christian rapper Dee-1. Budden, a well-known figure in the industry, has openly criticized Dee-1’s approach in the rap scene. According to Budden, Dee-1, at 34, might be stepping out of line by calling out various individuals without establishing his own credibility first. Budden’s advice, albeit delivered in his characteristic blunt manner, raises an important question: Is Joe Budden right in his assessment, or does Dee-1 have a valid point in his approach?
Budden’s stance is clear. He believes that Dee-1 should first establish himself more firmly in the industry before taking the liberty to call out others. “I’m telling you as somebody that knows the history of the people you’re speaking about. Leave them alone — especially those who might not take kindly to your words,” Budden stated in a recent podcast.
Dee-1, on the other hand, responded to Budden’s criticism with a message of his own. He suggested that Budden is not fulfilling his higher purpose, a purpose that Dee-1 believes is ordained by God. “God doesn’t call the qualified, God qualifies the called,” Dee-1 remarked, indicating his belief that his mission transcends conventional industry norms. He even mentioned preparing a diss track about Budden but chose not to release it, fearing it would detract from his overarching goal of unity and improvement.
This exchange between Dee-1 and Joe Budden opens up several intriguing questions for our readers at SNLVIFE:
- Is Joe Budden’s Critique Justified? – Do you think Budden’s advice about establishing credibility before calling out others is valid in the rap industry?
- Dee-1’s Approach: Bold or Reckless? – Is Dee-1’s method of addressing issues in the industry a sign of boldness or a reckless disregard for industry norms?
- The Role of Purpose in Artistry – Dee-1 speaks of a higher purpose in his music. How important do you think it is for artists to have a sense of purpose beyond fame and recognition?
- Impact of Public Disagreements – What impact do public disagreements like this have on the hip-hop community and its audience?
We at SNLVIFE are keen to hear your thoughts on these questions. Your insights and opinions are valuable to us, and we plan to feature some of the top ideas in an upcoming podcast. This is your chance to be part of a larger conversation about artistry, purpose, and the dynamics of the hip-hop industry. Share your views in the comments section below, and stay tuned for more updates and discussions on this topic.
Lil Durk, Alicia Keys – Therapy Session / Pelle Coat (Official Video)
Stream “Pelle Coat” off Lil Durk’s New Album, Almost Healed. Out Now:Tour On Sale: Follow Lil Durk: Listen To Lil Durk: Shop: Subscribe: Director : Steve Cannon Executive Producer : Nolan Riddle Executive producer :Peter Jideonwo “unnecessaryballing” Producer : Tashi Bhutia DP: Liam Reardon & BBTHDP Editor : Keats Sound Design : Ayo Douson Titles : Damien O DeAnda
Diddy, City Girls, and Fabolous get freaky in new “Act Bad” video
Diddy, City Girls, and Fabolous get freaky in new “Act Bad” video
“If you look good, act bad” might be the platonic ideal of a summer slogan — a simple mantra that can be used to write off bad behavior as the weather gets steamy. With this emphatic statement of intent, Diddy, City Girls, and Fabolous are laying it all on the line in an attempt to do for summer 2023 what Meg, Nicki, and Ty did for summer 2019: provide an unimpeachable summer anthem for rash decisions and guilt-free entanglements.