Tongue In Cheek
It’s a feat of cunning but the logic is so obvious. Hip-hop and blackness are not one in the same, as we know. Blackness appropriates, refines, explains hip-hop but never restricts it to one niche. But there is no absence of race as far as hip-hop or Mr. Obama is concerned. It seems a lost issue, however, because of the speed with which his mania enraptured young voters.
That is to say, Obama is a metaphor for hip-hop; rappers relate to him as a symbol of national ascendance. Obama’s refusal to be limited to The First So-And-So has made him momentarily more significant than the manifestation of his successes. When hip-hop swept the globe, it was the same tale: local musicians with ardor as their backbeat, and creativity as their passport claimed stake in the emotional lives of many people. “Can’t We All Just Get Along?” is oversimplifying though. The same way “Yes, We Can” has served as a malapropism, a delusional slogan that loses punch with time. Obama’s real test is to match the execution with the rhetoric. His opponents and pundits have mentioned that caveat of fame as the contest becomes more contentious. Rap music has not only thrived on its affinity for crossing boundaries but it has been evocative, spell-binding, capricious, irrational and torrential.