The political polling website FiveThirtyEight decided to take a break from the electoral college and apply its analytical lens to hip-hop to examine how the genre intersects with this year’s presidential race. Writer Allison McCann was initially interested in exploring Donald Trump’s transformation from an idolized symbol of ’90s luxury to the hated symbol of bigotry epitomized in YG & Nipsey Hussle’s “FDT (Fuck Donald Trump).” McCann wound up with a far more complex look at how Trump has been referenced both positively and negatively in 266 hip-hop songs dating back to 1989.
Meanwhile Hillary Clinton has appeared in her fair share of rap songs, too. She or her family has been named-dropped in 92 songs since 1993. “It is unheard of for two presidential nominees to have been part of hip-hop’s conversation for so long,” McCann writes.
She goes on to breakdown how Trump and Clinton were used in these songs. About a third of the references to Clinton had a negative context, and only 17 percent were positive (the rest were “neutral”). Meanwhile, Trump was referenced in a positive context 60 percent of the time from 1989 to 2014, but that began to shift in the lead-up to the election. Starting in 2015, Trump’s negative references leapt from 13 to 34 percent.
McCann has plenty more data and she even did a brief interview with the Atlanta trio Migos over on FiveThirtyEight. The article also allows users to search through the Genius lyrics of every hip-hop song that mentions a 2016 presidential candidate, right down to Lupe Fiasco’s Bernie Sanders shout-out.