What do Barack Obama and rappers have in common?
Not much as far as I can tell.
Let’s look at Jay-Z for example, he played at the inauguration celebration party and has been a visitor to the White House on more than one occasion:
Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969), better known by his stage name Jay-Z, is an American rapper and businessman. He is one of the most financially successful hip hop artists and entrepreneurs in America having had a net worth of over $150 million in 2009. He has sold 40 million albums worldwide while receiving ten Grammy Awards for his musical work.…..
Originally from Marcy Houses housing project in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City, Jay-Z was abandoned by his father and, at age 12, he shot his brother in the shoulder for stealing his jewelry. Jay-Z attended Eli Whitney High School in Brooklyn, along with rapper AZ, until it was closed down. After that he attended George Westinghouse Information Technology High School in Downtown Brooklyn, which fellow rappers The Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes also attended, and Trenton Central High School in Trenton, New Jersey, but did not graduate. In his music he refers to having been involved in selling crack cocaine.…….
….Jay-Z has also established himself as an entrepreneur like his fellow hip hop moguls, and friends, Russell Simmons, Dr. Dre and Sean “Diddy” Combs, who also have business holdings such as record companies and clothing lines. In an interview, he stated that “my brands are an extension of me. They’re close to me. It’s not like running GM, where there’s no emotional attachment.”
From the beginning of his professional recording career, when no major label gave him a record deal, Jay-Z, Damon Dash, and Kareem Biggs created Roc-A-Fella Records as their own independent label.[………….]
He is the founder of the urban clothing brand Rocawear along with Damon Dash. Rocawear has clothing lines and accessories for men, women and children. The line was taken over by Jay-Z in early 2006 following a falling out with co-founder Damon Dash. In March 2007, Jay-Z sold the rights to the Rocawear brand to Iconix Brand Group, for $204 million. Jay-Z will retain his stake in the company and will continue to oversee the marketing, licensing and product development. He also co-owns The 40/40 Club, an upscale sports bar that started in New York City and has since expanded to Atlantic City and Chicago.
Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961 at Kapi’olani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii, United States, to Stanley Ann Dunham, an American of predominantly English descent from Wichita, Kansas, and Barack Obama, Sr., a Luo from Nyang’oma Kogelo, Nyanza Province, Kenya Colony[…….]
Originally from Hawaii, Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the president of the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree. He worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.[…………..]
[………..].After her divorce, Dunham married Indonesian student Lolo Soetoro, who was attending college in Hawaii. When Suharto, a military leader in Soetoro’s home country, came to power in 1967, all Indonesian students studying abroad were recalled, and the family moved to the Menteng neighborhood of Jakarta. From ages six to ten, Obama attended local schools in Jakarta, including Besuki Public School and St. Francis of Assisi School. During this time period, Obama was known as “Barry Soetoro” which was his childhood nickname and his stepfather’s surname. He continued to use “Barry” into college.
In 1971, Obama returned to Honolulu to live with his maternal grandparents, Madelyn and Stanley Armour Dunham, and attended Punahou School, a private college preparatory school, from the fifth grade until his graduation from high school in 1979. [………..]
[…………] Obama has also written and talked about using alcohol, marijuana and cocaine during his teenage years to “push questions of who I was out of my mind.” At the 2008 Civil Forum on the Presidency, Obama identified his high-school drug use as his “greatest moral failure.”
Following high school, Obama moved to Los Angeles in 1979 to attend Occidental College. In 1981 Obama went to Indonesia to visit with his mother and sister Maya. Then Obama traveled to Pakistan with a college friend born there. The Obama campaign says Obama was in Pakistan for about three weeks, staying with his friend’s family in Karachi and also visiting Hyderabad in Southern India. The Pakistan visit was later used to complete his international studies requirements.…………..
When you read each man’s bio you will see they have very few similarities.
While both are men of color, they each had their father abandon them and they both admittedly had intimate knowledge of drugs in their youths, they both did manage to marry wealthy and powerful, influential women but that’s where it would appear any similarities would end. The way each of them handled their circumstances and what they did to mold and shape their futures to become the men that they are to day is very unique as well.
Jay-Z didn’t even finish high school;
Barack Obama not only finished high school but was afforded the opportunity to attend college preparatory school as well before going on to study at Occidental College and stayed in Pakistan and India to obtain international studies credits. Barack Obama also a graduated from Columbia University as well as received a Law Degree from Harvard.
Day to day struggle:
Jay-Z struggled in his neighborhood to find away to make money to survive.
Barack Obama struggled with how to “fit in” being raised by a white family.
Jay-Z found a talent on his own of his own and when he couldn’t find a label to invest in him he used his entrepreneurial spirit and found a partner and established his own company.
Barack Obama used his connections and worked “organizing” but made no real impact in the areas he was working in, he had two small motor voter cases he dealt with but nothing substantial until he met some people to “help him” enter Chicago politics.
Jay-Z continued to use his business savvy to expand his company and delve into other markets like clothing as well as helping to discover produce and distribute more talent into his industry and put Rap on the map as it were.
What I’m getting at here is you have two men of color who in the overall picture had very different lives but somehow as we see Jay-Z supports Barack Obama in spite of the fact that in reality Obama represents everything opposite of what Jay=Z is about.
Rappers sing about getting out of the “hood” and the struggles of everyday life and the fight against the establishment (police) ie government to let them be free to make their way in life. They rap about how people put them down and do not respect them for what they do and do not take them as serious artists. They are upset with censorship of their lyrics and at their concerts.
The entrepreneurial spirit and the self determination by someone like Jay-Z to make his own way and become rich and successful without a government handout, the desire to be free to express himself without government regulation and censorship goes against the very grain of what Barack Obama is doing to this nation.
Strict regulations, high taxes, holding back small businesses and anyone who wants to be their own boss and succeed, handouts to those who “can’t or won’t” make their own way in life. Closing down the very free market that enabled Jay-Z to build his empire would lead me to believe that not only should Jay-Z not be supportive of Obama’s policies, he should be very vocal about it and a leader in the black community against these restrictive policies. Especially the performance tax which is being pushed by Congress to tax songs played on the radio as well as the actions by the Free-Press and the FCC to control TV radio and the Internet for content.
Bottom line: Rappers no matter what you think of them or their music are free-market capitalist and self-made entrepreneurs and Barack Obama has shown that he has no use for people like that for anything other than collecting taxes.