Donald Trump. The first thought in most people’s heads when they hear his name is probably something like “You’re Fired” or the fact that he’s our current president. But one aspect involving Trump that frequently gets overlooked is his influence on the music industry.
What many people often don’t realize, especially younger generations, is that Donald Trump has been a staple of American culture since the 1980’s. Before he became a politician, Donald Trump was known for his billionaire status, TV personality appearances like “The Apprentice,” and his playboy lifestyle.
Because of his fame, he was often the subject of mention and sometimes mockery in contemporary American music culture, primarily hip-hop. The first reference of Trump in song is in “Johnny Ryall,” part of the Beastie Boys’ 1989 album, “Paul’s Boutique.” In the song, Trump is contrasted with his homeless alter-ego, Donald Tramp.
This theme of continuing to pair Trump with money would follow for the next few decades, such as in Ice Cube’s “Three Strikes You In,” where he said, “I’m just tryin’ to get rich like Trump”. Trump would also be compared to other billionaires, like in Puff Daddy’s 2006, “We Gon’ Make It,” where he groups Trump with Mike Bloomberg and Bill Gates.
One of the most notable songs featuring Trump was the song “Donald Trump,” released in 2011 by rapper Mac Miller. While Trump publicly approved of the song at first, as it became more popular, he feuded with Miller over the royalties involved with his name.
Some artists would specifically mention Trump’s hotels, such as Jay-Z, who references “Trump International” in “What More Can I Say.” This would all change come 2015, when Trump announced his candidacy for president. He was frequently criticized, mocked, insulted and sometimes even threatened in raps since then. The earliest one making reference to his campaign being in Kendrick Lamar’s “Black Friday,” where he sarcastically suggests, “You better off voting for Donald Trump”.
This harsh criticism has continued into Trump’s Presidency, and up until this very day, such as with rapper EMINEM, who bashed Trump at the 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards. This rough rebuke of Trump by the majority of the hip-hop community will likely continue for years to come, as long as Trump continues to be a staple of American culture, whether he is president or not.
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