Get out the vote. In 2016, Hip Hop ism aking its point in a unique way.

Visit for more information

Words: Milca Pierre

We watched history unfold in 2008 and we watched it repeat itself in 2012 as Barack Obama was elected by the people to lead the free world as President of the United States of America.


In a few months that era will come to a close as the nation’s first Black president wraps up his second and final term in office.

Affectionately dubbed the “First Hip Hop President,” President Obama’s energized elections saw the largest turnouts in young voters and voters of color than ever before, with 22 million Americans under 30 voting in 2008—a fact that exists partly because of one very special factor: Hip Hop.

Functioning as a social and political outlet for the disenfranchised, Hip Hop has made its way to the top as a very important stake in American culture, igniting trends and sparking movements for social change. So, it was pretty inevitable that when a promising African-American Democratic senator decided he wanted to be in the White House, some of Hip Hop’s biggest names didn’t hesitate to show their support.

Now, nearly eight years later, Hip Hop has showed up, perhaps stronger than ever before, making a huge crossover, helping voters navigate through the unusual political playing field that is the 2016 presidential campaign.

Political focuses within the newest generation of constituents are experiencing a shift from the mere desire of connecting and relating to a candidate, to seeking a candidate prepared to deliver on social issues most pressing to both young and minority voters, and a growing group of artists and social influencers haven’t failed to publicly endorse the candidate they feel fits the description.

For Hillary Clinton that means support from the likes of Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, and even Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, who appeared in a now viral selfie with the former Secretary of State.

Pharrell Williams also tossed his hat into Hillary’s camp, specifically promoting her position and strength as a woman. “I know what Hillary represents: she represents a woman in power, and she did great as the Secretary of State. She’s gonna win.”

Bernie Sanders’ support fittingly came from some of Hip Hop’s uncanny figures, with rapper Lil B famously switching from his public support of Hillary Clinton to the Vermont senator last summer. “As much as I want to a woman leading the USA, right now it’s all about Bernie. He’s the real, he loves us,” the rapper tweeted last August.

Perhaps Sanders’ most solid endorsement of all came from the community activist and politically involved Killer Mike—an endorsement that stemmed from Senator Sanders’s ideal on voter’s rights. “It’s official I support [Sanders]!,” the Atlanta emcee tweeted, “His call [for] the restoration of the voters rights act sealed the deal for me.”

Mike’s endorsement of Sanders has been a bit different from most, as his backing has remained apparent throughout the Sanders campaign, delivering stirring opening speeches at various rallies and sitting down with Sanders in a six-part interview series.

However, there are those who aren’t quite sold yet. Most notably, the socially aware emcee Talib Kweli. Speaking on his opinion that neither candidate has demonstrated a genuine interest in the Black voter, Kweli publicly decided not to lend his vote to any one candidate. “If I had to go with the lesser of two evils and I was forced to vote for somebody, [Sanders] would probably be the one to get my vote at this time,” Kweli told CNN last October. “But me saying that, that’s really, really hypothetical. That’s not at all me endorsing him as a candidate.”

Other artists have made waves by atypically lending their support to the Republican Party. Most recently, Azealia Banks took to Twitter to reveal her support of Donald Trump in a perplexing series of posts that, at times, insulted Mr. Trump to make her point.

Despite these efforts, however, the turnout of minorities has waned since President Obama’s re-election, with Democratic Black voter turnout decreasing by 30 to 50 percent in various states, something that could certainly hurt the party in the end.

Despite Hip Hop’s heavy influence within urban communities, failure to identify and relate with voters is what’s led to a loss of energy this election year, and it’s hard to tell if there’s any candidate capable of recreating the energy that once surrounded President Obama’s campaigns.