With 2016 being an election year in the U.S., rappers seemed to be more involved in politics than ever. And it's a good thing because there was a lot going on this year.
Many rappers threw their endorsements behind either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, who were both vying for the Democratic nominations. MCs like like 50 Cent, Slick Rick, Pharrell and A$AP Rocky backed Hillary while Killer Mike, Lil B and Bun B threw their hat with Bernie. Azealia Banks was in the slim percentage of rappers who endorsed Republican candidate Donald Trump during the election. And the politicians did the most to try to secure millennial and minority votes. Bernie introduced Run The Jewels at Coachella while Hill hosted a star-studded concert in Cleveland which included Jay Z and Chance The Rapper.
Aside from the political showdowns, rappers showed their support for the Black Lives Matter movement in constant wave. During this past summer, the deaths of Black men Philando Castile and Alton Sterling (two separate incidents) at the hands of the police promoted a reaction from many in hip-hop world. Jay Z, Young Buck and Mistah F.A.B. dropped music about the ordeal while T.I., The Game, Snoop Dogg and August Alsina took part in protests against police brutality.
In a time when it's easy to donate money or tweet out a political agenda, these rappers went above and beyond to make their voices heard. From leading protests to dropping albums about #BlackLivesMatter and the corrupted government, these rappers in particular lived their words and urged their fan bases to wake up.
The lyricist monster used his voice to endorse 2016 Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders as early as November 2015. Mike accompanied Bernie throughout the campaign trail and still backed him when Bern lost the nomination to Hillary Clinton. Once Donald Trump won the presidency this November, Mike was quick to tell people to be more vigilant of their government. We're putting money Mike has a future in office himself.
As one of the most puzzling and outspoken figures in all of rap, Kanye West could definitely be considered a political flip-flopper this year. The Chi-town spitta donated money to Hillary Clinton's campaign in early 2016 and even took a selfie with her while she was on the campaign trail. But once the votes were in and the election was over, Kanye switched his story, saying at a concert that he would've voted for Donald Trump. Kanye then met with President-Elect Trump in December to talk about how to improve the violence in Chicago.
Any K-Dot fan will tell has known to drop politically-charged rhymes for years now. But hip-hop fans went wild when news broke that Kendrick met President Obama face-to-face for the first time earlier this year. Obama asked Lamar to make his way to the White House to be apart of the Pay It Forward mentorship program.
King Push not only put his money where his mouth his, he put his time in. When Pusha T threw his official endorsement behind Hillary Clinton, the VA wordsmith got involved with her campaign by offering up meet-and-greets for young voters backing her. He was also vocal about offering up his own political ideas during this election cycle, saying publicly that believes felons should have the right to vote.
Lil Chano may be young, but he's one of Chicago's brightest new stars. And as a voice of the youth, Chance used his sway to gather up thousands of fans and personally lead them to the polls on election night.
Vic dedicated his whole 2016 EP, There's A Lot Going On, to rapping about the political woes facing minorities in this country and he took part in Vevo's "Why I Vote" campaign to get his fans to the polls.
Common Sense has been spittin' the conscious rap fire for nearly 20 years now. So it makes sense that if he were to drop an album in 2016, it'd be centered around the Black Lives Matter movement. And let's not forget Common dropped crazy bars about the movement on Sway in the Morning.
The awakened and analytical Tip put his feelings about the Black Lives Matter movement on wax as well, dropping the Us or Else EP in September in response to all the police brutality this past summer. He followed that up with the Us or Else: Letter to the System album in December.
Even though many rappers came to the aid of Flint, Michigan during their water shortage and poisoning with donations, Flint native Jon Connor put his words into action.
"Seeing the way it’s being portrayed on the news, seeing the deterioration of my city, its all that frustration and emotion," Connor told XXL when he dropped music and held a fundraiser for his hometown.
The Bompton rapper didn't mince words when letting the world know how he feels about Donald Trump. YG enlisted fellow West Coast Staple Nipsey Hussle for the banger "FDT (F*** Donald Trump)" and went on a full-blown 'Fuck Donald Trump' U.S. tour, complete with a piñata of the Don which he invited fans to bash in each night.