24 Political References in Kanye West's Lyrics
Kanye West has never been afraid to speak his mind, both on record and off -- just ask George Bush. And while he has a long track record of speaking on sex, relationships, fashion, social issues and, of course, himself, he's also spent plenty of time over the years diving into the political world in his lyrics.
With all eyes on the November presidential election showdown between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump -- not to mention Kanye's maybe-joking-maybe-not candidacy for 2020 on the horizon -- Billboard combed through his lyrics and pulled out 25 political references that he has made in his music over the years.
"All Falls Down"
"We shine because they hate us, floss 'cause they degrade us/ We tryna buy back our 40 acres"
"I say f--- the police, that's how I treat 'em/ We buy our way out of jail, but we can't buy freedom"
"Getting choked by detectives, yeah, yeah, now check the method/ They be askin' us questions, harass and arrest us/ Sayin', 'We eat pieces of sh-- like you for breakfast'/ Huh? Y'all eat pieces of sh--? What's the basis?/ We ain't going nowhere but got suits and cases"
"Never Let Me Down"
"I get down for my grandfather who took my mama/ Made her sit in that seat where white folks ain't want us to eat/ At the tender age of 6 she was arrested for the sit-ins/ And with that in my blood I was born to be different/ Now n---as can't make it to ballots to choose leadership/ But we can make it to Jacob's and to the dealership/ Swear I hear new music and I just don't be feelin' it/ Racism's still alive, they just be concealin' it"
"And I basically know now, we get racially profiled/ Cuffed up and hosed down, pimped up and ho'd down/ Plus I got a whole city to hold down"
"Heard 'Em Say"
"Before you ask me to go get a job today/ Can I at least get a raise of the minimum wage?/ And I know that the government administer AIDS/ So I guess we just pray like the minister say"
"How we stop the Black Panthers?/ Ronald Reagan cooked up an answer/ You hear that? What Gil Scott was hearin'?/ When our heroes or heroines got hooked on heroin/ Crack raised the murder rate in D.C. and Maryland/ We invested in that, it's like we got Merrill Lynch-ed/ And we been hangin' from the same tree ever since/ Sometimes I feel the music is the only medicine"
"Who gave Saddam anthrax?/ George Bush got the answers/ Back in the 'hood it's a different type of chemical/ Arm & Hammer baking soda raised they own quota"
"Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)"
"See, a part of me saying keep shinin'/ How, when I know what a blood diamond is?/ Though it's thousands of miles away/ Sierra Leone connects to what we go through today/ Over here it's a drug trade, we die from drugs/ Over there they die from what we buy from drugs/ The diamonds, the chains, the bracelets, the charms/ I thought my Jesus piece was so harmless / Til I seen a picture of a shorty armless"
"Projects to' up, gang signs is thrown up/ N---as hats broke off, that's how we grow up/ Why else you think shorties write rhymes just to blow up?/ Get they first car and then IRS show up"
"Everything I Am"
"I know people wouldn't usually rap this/ But I got the facts to back this/ Just last year, Chicago had over 600 caskets/ Man, killing's some wack sh--"
"Inter-century anthems based off inner-city tantrums/ Based off the way we was branded/ Face it, Jerome get more time than Brandon/ And at the airport they check all through my bag/ And tell me that it’s random"
"I treat the cash the way the government treats AIDS/ I won’t be satisfied till all my n---as get it/ Get it?"
"The system broken, the school is closed, the prison's open/ We ain’t got nothing to lose, motherf---er we rollin'"
"Lost in translation with a whole f---in' nation/ They say I was the abomination of Obama’s nation/ Well that’s a pretty bad way to start the conversation"
"And I’ll never let my son have an ego/ He’ll be nice to everyone wherever we go/ I mean I might even make him be Republican/ So everybody know he love white people"
"Murder to Excellence"
"And I’m from the murder capital where they murder for capital/ Heard about at least three killings this afternoon/ Looking at the news like, 'Damn, I was just with him after school'/ No shop class but half the school got a tool"
"I feel the pain in my city wherever I go/ 314 soldiers died in Iraq, 509 died in Chicago"
"What’s the life expectancy for black guys?/ The system’s working effectively, that’s why"
"Yeah I'm talking business, we talking CIA/ I'm talking George Tenet, I seen him the other day/ He asked me about my Maybach, think he had the same/ Except mine tinted and his might have been rented"
"To The World"
"These n---as tryna hold me back/ I'm just trying to protect my stacks/ Mitt Romney don't pay no tax/ Mitt Romney don't pay no tax"
"I know that we the new slaves/ I see the blood on the leaves"
"Meanwhile the DEA/ Teamed up with the CCA/ They tryna lock n---as up/ They tryna make new slaves/ See that's that privately owned prison/ Get your piece today"
"Pablo bought a Rollie and a Rottweiler/ Seem like the more fame, I only got wilder/ Hands up we just doing what the cops taught us/ Hands up we just doing what the cops taught us"
"On the field I'm over-reckless on my Odell Beckham/ 2020 I'mma run the whole election"
Big Sean, "All Your Fault"
"I don't give a f---, I don't give a f---/ But cops chokin' n---as out in the media/ We finna have a protest and tear the city up/ We 'bout to tear this whole place up pretty much"