It only took about an hour for West Coast rhymers YG and Nipsey Hussle to lay down their anti-Donald Trump track “FDT (F— Donald Trump).” There’s no sugarcoating on the DJ Swish-produced cut, which was created about five days ago, per Nipsey. Not only does the politically charged track boast a graphic of the Republican candidate’s face with a large red “X,” but it also finds Trump being called “a Comedy Central ass n—a” and “cancer.” YG even makes this vow: “Have a rally out in L.A., we gon’ f— it up.”
Hussle swoops in with a fiery 16 from the POV of an L.A. native, who has grown up around Mexicans, one of the many ethnic groups Trump has targeted in his campaign speeches. The song also begins with a quote from an interview with 19-year-old Valdosta State University student Tahjila Davis, one of approximately 30 black students who were kicked out of Trump’s recent rally at the Georgia college. Later, Nip spits, “You vote Trump, then you probably on dope.”
Below, YG and Hussle explain how “FDT” came together and express their true feelings about Trump as well as the 2016 election.
What was your first reaction to the news that Donald Trump was running for president?
Nipsey Hussle: I always heard over the last couple of years that he’s been foreshadowing that he’s going to run. Like I said in the song, I thought it was a joke. I always knew he was a big celebrity but I didn’t know it was possible for him to become the president. When you think about the 2016 election, all you really hear is Trump. You know Hillary [Clinton], you know Bernie Sanders, but it seems like [Trump’s] name and voice is louder than the rest of them so it was like are we actually taking this serious? Are people really taking this dude as a legitimate presidential candidate?
YG: At first, I really didn’t believe that it was going to get this far so I wasn’t paying attention. Then all the crazy shit [happened] to black kids at the rallies and getting hit by the police.
What made you both decide to take your frustrations with Trump to the studio?
YG: Oh man, a million things. It got to a point where [Trump] was disrespectin‘, saying shit that makes no sense. Me and Nip always talk about doing real shit about these politics, stepping up and saying stuff other motherf—ers are not doing so we finally hit the studio and really did it.
Nipsey: It was honestly a combo of me and YG. We were just talking about using our voices and YG had a concept for a song called “F— Donald Trump.” ‘Let’s do a F— Donald Trump record,’ he said. Immediately, I said, ‘Let’s do it.’ He had a beat and just started mumbling the hook. We was in the studio listening to it and we was like, ‘Go lay that right there.’ We heard it back through the speakers and we already knew this was powerful. I went in and immediately laid my verse. He went back and laid his, and the record was done in less than an hour.
Was there a specific Trump moment that really pissed you off?
Nipsey: Overall just hearing his stance on Hispanic people, especially being from L.A. Him being so vocal and one-sided on how he feels about Mexican people as far as categorizing [them] as illegal immigrants and that they make no positive contributions to the country. Number one, I’m from L.A. so I grew up with Mexican people and number two, I see Mexican people at all my concerts that really support. I felt like they needed somebody to ride for ‘em.
Honestly, that was one of the things that really turned me off to Trump aside from me having an assertion that he was just a privileged rich dude that got an out-of-touch view of the world. That made me [feel] like dude is definitely out of his mind and our country sounding crazy for even taking him as a legitimate candidate. It says something about the American people if he do actually get elected.
There’s a line from YG that says if Trump has a rally in L.A. you going to f— it up. Was there anything you were hesitant about putting on the song?
YG: No, not at all.
Nipsey: Likewise. To me, we kinda went light. We didn’t make it too threatening. We held it back and told the people how we was feeling.
Is there a candidate you’re leaning towards?
Nipsey: Man, I’ma be honest. I’m not even fully informed on every [candidate’s] principles and the stances they’re taking with their campaign. I just feel like what I’ve heard from Trump is unbelievable. I think a lot of America feels like that. He’s wealthy, he’s a celebrity, he has a platform. People that have a platform, a voice and influence can counteract the usage of his platform.
Truthfully, if a rapper that’s been successful didn’t care about his people, it would actually make sense to get Trump into office because for a person who makes legitimate income, it would probably mean paying less taxes if Trump was president. It would probably be financially better for people like YG and myself, but it’s bigger than people’s financial benefits.
YG: I’m still doing my research right now. I’m doing real research to find out who is talking about the things that I can stand behind.
What are you thoughts on Sanders and Clinton?
Nipsey: I like seeing some of the things [Hillary] stands for. I like what Bernie Sanders is doing with hip-hop and just not being afraid to accept the love that he gets from rappers like Killer Mike. Like what YG said, it takes time. You have to look at what these candidates are standing on as their main principles. Obama was standing on healthcare, prison reform, same-sex marriages, and it seems like he pulled it all off, even though it took awhile. I personally have to see what Hillary and Bernie really put forward as their message.
YG: I agree with what Nipsey said.
YG, what made you rap about starting to appreciate Barack Obama more?
YG: I never really acknowledged Obama and all he was doing while he was in office.
Nipsey: [Obama] made it to where people that got life unjustifiably [in prison] or got three strikes off nonviolent crimes got an appeal to come home. I really think people affected by that either [took] action back in court or the streets because of that.
YG: Exactly. I never spoke on it to the public but Obama is doing it. I appreciate what he’s doing as a young black man. Now, when Donald Trump talking about all this wild and crazy shit, it’s like, damn. If we go from Obama to this dude, shit is going to get wicked wild. It was just me talking about how I was feeling.
Why is it important for artists, especially in hip hop, to share their political views?
YG: That shit is important because we got a lot of people with power that really ain’t doing too much. I feel like these motherf—ers that got more power have to open their eyes and register to vote but motherf—ers really ain’t doing nothing. Me and Nip always talk about that but we already deal with getting blackballed by the police, shows getting shut down, so we was always hesitant about going ham on shit. But f— all that — this hip hop, this rap, we got a platform and we’re going to use it for the right shit. I ain’t hesitating no more.