Community, Edge, Music

Election causes uproar, diverse reactions from music industry icons

On Nov. 11, hip-hop trio A Tribe Called Quest released its first album in 18 years, “We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service.” In addition to being a tribute to hip-hop and the late rapper Phife Dawg, the album is a form of protest. The hook of the second song, “We the People,” is politically fueled. It comments on police brutality, inequality and discrimination. The hook of the song satirizes President-elect Donald Trump, and the current political and economic status of the United States is criticized in “Conrad Tokyo.”

This release, just three days after Election Day, is not the only strong response from movers and shakers in the music and entertainment industry.

The music world did not welcome President-elect Donald Trump with open arms. There are many artists who refused to give him permission to use their music on the campaign trail, such as The Rolling Stones, Adele, R.E.M., Neil Young and Queen.

Before the election, protest music was being made in response to his actions and proposed policies. Compton rapper YG wrote a song called “FDT (F*** Donald Trump),” and Macklemore and G-Eazy joined in on the remix. This song, one of the most explicit that protests Trump, carries the resentment that both those in the industry and a large portion of the public feel toward the future president and his administration.

Hip-hop group Run the Jewels released “2100” in the wake of the election and said, “’It’s about fear and it’s about love and it’s about wanting more for all of us.”

Killer Mike of Run the Jewels is a politically outspoken rapper, and Run the Jewels is one of many groups that have commented on this election. Punk rock band Black Lips released an anarchist punk protest song called “Deaf Dumb and Blind,” while rock duo Best Coast set up an email hotline for concerned citizens and music fans.

Much of the response to this election from the music world has come from social media, especially Twitter. Thousands took to Twitter to voice their thoughts on this controversial election. Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg, Chance the Rapper and John Legend are some of the many that voiced their frustration.

The quotes ranged in tone, from Katy Perry saying, “Gonna cry my false eyelashes off tonight,” to Chuck D saying, “Hitler is real.” Yoko Ono simply posted a video of her iconic screech. Radiohead’s Thom Yorke reposted the video for “Burn the Witch.”

On the flip side, there has been support for Trump in the music industry as well, though definitely less prevalent.

Gene Simmons said Trump will be “good for the political system” in the Rolling Stone in March, while Ted Nugent praised Trump. Nugent said, “Trump should be given the Medal of Freedom for speaking his mind in such a bold, honest, and straightforward manner,” in an article he wrote for WorldNetDaily in July. Kid Rock, another rock musician from Michigan like Nugent, agreed that Trump is a strong candidate in the Rolling Stone in February.

In one of the most polarizing, controversial U.S. elections, it’s no surprise that icons in the music industry had much to say about President-elect Trump.

November 16, 2016


Tristan Niskanen

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