Back in the 1990s, when Bill Clinton was president and Donald Trump was merely an example of when-you-got-it-baby-flaunt-it! wealth and not the Russia-endorsed leader of the United States, the latter showed up in a whole lot of rap songs.
Seriously: a whole lot of them.
What with his vast wealth (but nobody is entirely sure how vast), conspicuous consumption and love of the spotlight, he seemed an ideal aspirational figure (or at least a rich white guy).
As you might imagine, references to the man have gotten grimmer since, say, 2015. They are unlikely to get more positive any time soon.
Here are five of the best hip-hop songs that shout out the current president-elect. All of these are older and actually mention the man, unlike Run the Jewel’s brand-new “2100,” which they wrote in response to the election but which does not mention the president-elect by name.
1. Nelly — “Country Grammar “
“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.”
In one of 2000’s best pop songs, Nelly blended playground/double dutch rhymes with spare, loping beats. The clean version is better than the dirty.
2. UGK — “Pocket Full of Stones”
“It’s gettin’ so bad I got pregnant fiends hoin’/ (REDACTED) and (DEFINITELY REDACTED) just to get a pump/
(BEEP) Black Caesar, (BEEP) call me Black Trump”
A classic ode to that trappin’ life from Houston gods Underground Kingz. RIP Pimp C.
3. A Tribe Called Quest — “Skypager”
“The ‘S’ in skypage really stands for sex/ Beeper’s goin off like Don Trump gets checks”
A deep cut from Tribe’s immortal “The Low End Theory,” “Skypager” takes us back to a time when, well, folks had pagers. The line belongs to the late Phife Dawg. It’s a bit of a throwaway, but as with so much on “Low End,” that beat is RIGHT.
4. Raekwon– “Incarcerated Scarfaces”
“Poisonous sting which thumps up and act chumps/ Rae’s a heavy generator/ But yo, guess who’s the black Trump?”
A stone classic from the still-knotty “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx,” considered by many heads to be the finest of the first wave of solo Wu Tang albums. (Yes, “Liquid Swords,” “Brooklyn Zoo” and “Ironman” all compete for the top spot, don’t @ me). How strong was “Cuban” as an album? “Scarfaces” was THE B-SIDE to “Ice Cream.” Those were the days.
5. Kanye West — “So Appalled”
“I’m so appalled Spalding ball/ Baldin’ Donald Trump, takin’ dollars from y’all”
Well before he was taking meetings in Trump Tower, Ye manages to work in a joke about the Donald’s hair. And yeah, it’s not the strongest track on the opulent “My Dark Twisted Fantasy” (indeed, the whole opening has a freestyle feel), but it takes us back to a time when Kanye and Jay still talked to each other, which is nice to recall. And the chorus is probably how about half of Americans will feel Jan. 20: “It’s like that sometimes, I mean ridiculous/ It’s like that sometimes, this (beep) ridiculous.”