When Kanye West Runs For President In 2020, These 16 Lyrics Will Be Used Against Him
It’s becoming increasingly clear that Kanye West wasn’t just riffing when he finished his MTV VMA speech by announcing he’s running for president in 2020. During his recent In Camera interview he revealed he’s been thinking about that presidential run for five years now. And the craziest thing about it is that Yeezy might be the model post-digital candidate.
We’re approaching the era in which all politicians will have heaping piles of digital skeletons in their cloud closets. Every red cup-filled Facebook photo from sophomore year, every sexy Halloween selfie on Instagram, every groaner of a joke tweeted to 74 followers can some day be used to submarine a future campaign. It’s quite possible we may never again have another elected official because of the social media explosion and all the digital dirt we leave behind. Kanye’s version of that social media detritus is over a decade’s worth of rap lyrics.
West is responsible for one of the most clever and nuanced bodies of lyrical work in all of hip-hop, touching on everything from his own hypocrisy to the hypocrisy of the American experience for black men. And while most song lyrics shouldn’t be taken literally, or even seriously, West’s political opponents will surely strip away all the context from every #problematic thing he has ever said on wax and put it under the campaign smear microscope.
And below are 16 rhymes Kanye will have to explain away on the campaign trail when it happens.
1. “Can I at least get a raise of the minimum wage?” — “Heard ‘Em Say” (2005) Several Kanye lyrics could serve as a jumping-off point for a campaign platform. Republicans will pounce on this one.
2. “I say fuck the police, that’s how I treat ’em” — “All Falls Down” (2004) Unless there’s some miracle and America’s police militarization subsides by 2020 (lol), this lyric will be right in the campaign crosshairs and Ye will get some heat for it, as is rapper tradition.
3. “I’ll move my family out the country” — “New Slaves” (2013) The “love it or leave it” contingent will eat him alive for suggesting there are places other than America that would be viable options for raising a family.
4. “And I know that the government administer AIDS” — “Heard ‘Em Say” (2005) This isn’t the only time Kanye rapped about the “AIDS is state-sponsored” conspiracy.
5. “Treat the cash the way the government treats AIDS / I won’t be satisfied ’til all my niggas get it, get it?” — “Gorgeous” (2010) See? This could be Ye’s version of the right-wing “Obama was born in Kenya!” stance.
6. “Fuck you and your corporation” — “New Slaves” (2013) Only candidates with Trump money can say that.
7. “I still hear the ghosts of the kids I never had” – “The Joy” (2010) A pop star openly discussing the use of contraception and possibly even abortion! “Think of the kids!” is what the Religious Right will say, even though that’s probably exactly what he was thinking of.
8. “So if I stole, wasn’t my fault / Yeah I stole, never got caught” – “Spaceship” (2004) Whatever his excuse for stealing, it won’t matter in the black-and-white moral universe of the campaign.
10. “What’s the life expectancy for black guys? / The system’s working effectively, that’s why” — “Murder To Excellence” (2011) Here Kanye implies American society is rigged in order to disenfranchise black males, and this is an affront to politicians he’d face who push the “land of opportunity and equality” narrative.
11. “I just talked to Jesus / He said, ‘What up, Yeezus?’ / I said, ‘Shit I’m chillin’ / Tryna stack these millions’ / I know he the most high / But I am a close high” — “I Am A God” (2013) This is the rare quote that will both scare off godless liberals (“He’s so religious he thinks he talks to Jesus?”) and god-fearing conservatives (“He’s so sacrilegious he thinks he’s god-like?”).
12. “Meanwhile the DEA teamed up with the CCA / They tryna lock niggas up, they tryna make new slaves / See that’s that privately owned prison get your piece today” — “New Slaves” (2013) West’s opposition to private prisons will certainly be warped into a “soft on crime” angle by political spin doctors.
13. “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” — “Clique” (2012) Presumably a Kanye campaign would highlight his D.C. outsider status, but his opponents could use this tenuous CIA connection to argue he’s just as tangled in the Beltway as any other politician.
14. “Or was it at the first party / When we tried our first molly / And came out of our body” — “Blood On The Leaves” (2013) Having a pothead or a drunk as president is one thing, but is the country ready for a president who’s ready to roll?
15. “Careless whispers, eye fuckin’, bitin’ ass / Neck, ears, hair, legs, eating ass” — “I’m In It” (2013) Having an adulterer as president is one thing, but is the country ready to put a booty eater in the Oral Office?
16. “Damn your lips very soft / As I turn my Blackberry off” — “I’m In It” (2013) The only explanation for Kanye having that device in the year 2013 is that he’s in the pocket of Big Blackberry. Tell me you wouldn’t believe an attack ad making that point.