In the decades before his first presidential bid, artists would often name-check Trump as a symbol for wealth and power.
Back then, artists would rap about staying at a Trump hotel to signify their status. Or they’d compare themselves to Trump to imply they were rolling in cash and had the right connections to make more of it. This was a testament to the image of Trump as a rich playboy that he burnished in the media.
Then, around 2016, we start to see a steep drop-off with the positive Trump references. Years of racist rhetoric aimed at Barack Obama — a popular figure in hip-hop, and Black culture more broadly — depleted Trump’s hip-hop clout. And his rise to the White House, propelled by right-wing bigots, hurt his rep even more.
For “Hip-Hop Is Universal,” The ReidOut’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, I’ve assembled some of the most memorable Trump-inspired bars. Check it!
A Tribe Called Quest, “Skypager” (1991)
Beeper’s going off like Don Trump gets checks
Keep my bases loaded like the New York Mets
Sharing this one because it shows how far back Trump’s contrived image as a rich power broker goes. The late rapper Phife Dawg referenced him in this song back in 1991.
Nelly, “Country Grammar” (2000)
From broke to having brokers, my price range is Rover
Now I’m knocking like Jehovah
Let me in now, let me in now
Bill Gates, Donald Trump, let me in now
Spend now, I got money to lend my friends now
Nelly includes more Trump/money talk in this banger.
Yung Joc, “It’s Goin’ Down” (2006)
Time to flip the work, make the block bump
Boys in the ’hood call me Black Donald Trump
The phrase “Black Donald Trump” has a different connotation to the masses today than it had in 2006. Here, it just seems to mean “rich and powerful.” This song is a certified classic. It still rings off at clubs and parties.
Kanye West, “So Appalled” (2010)
I’m so appalled, Spalding ball
Balding Donald Trump taking dollars from y’all
Baby, you’re fired, your girlfriend hired
But if you don’t mind, I’ma keep you on call
Who would have guessed that years later, the artist would be comparing Trump to his own father?
Mac Miller, “Donald Trump” (2011)
Take over the world when I’m on my Donald Trump s---
Look at all this money! Ain’t that some s---?
This is probably the most well-known song referencing Trump. Miller made clear before he died in 2018 that he was no fan of Trump, but this song from earlier in his career shows how rappers have used Trump as a symbol of wealth, power and excess.
Kendrick Lamar, “The Heart Part 4” (2017)
Donald Trump is a chump
Know how we feel, punk — tell him that God comin’
And Russia need a replay button, y’all up to somethin’
Electorial votes look like memorial votes
But America’s truth ain’t ignorin’ the votes
Celebs: They’re just like the rest of us. Lamar appears to have read the Mueller report and — like many of us — been troubled by the shady links between Trump’s team and Russia.
Dreezy, featuring 6lack and Kodak Black, “Spar” (2017)
My word is bond as f---
My life is hard enough
They not rewarding us
They disregarding us
And if I go to D.C., I’m tryna spar with Trump
I’m not a politician, you can’t ignore the stuff
Here, Dreezy and 6lack are telling us they’d gladly come to blows with Trump if given the opportunity.
Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, featuring Yasiin Bey and Black Thought, “Education” (2019)
You ain’t lit, you litter like Trump Twitter feed
Black mobster s---, I’m more Melvin Williams than Genovese
Gibbs made it known that he — also like many of us — thought Trump’s social media habits were trash.
Smino & Saba, “Plead the .45th” (2021)
I got a laundry list of lessons in Chicago lost
Runnin’ from pagans, runnin’ with Reagan, now they with Donald Trump
FYI: Smino, out of Missouri, is one of the best lyricists in the world. This bar seems pretty straightforward to me: irritation with conservative political forces behind Ronald Reagan and, more recently, Trump.
Lil Uzi Vert, featuring Nicki Minaj, “Endless Fashion” (2023)
I got a Republican doctor
Made my a-- great again, MAGA
This one doesn’t mention Trump specifically, but feels like it still should count, right? I don’t think this needs any further analysis. Just wanted to share. Trump should walk out to this at rallies.
And you know I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention YG and Nipsey Hussle’s hit song “FDT,” an immensely popular and explicit diss that has become an anthem for Trump haters everywhere. The song was released in 2016 ahead of the election, and YG even made it into a political ad.
Read a little more about it here:
This post is part of MSNBC’s “Hip-Hop Is Universal” series, which celebrates the genre’s 50th anniversary and examines its future.