In The Throes of a Chaotic Trump-Biden Race, Hip-Hop Stays on Message

Timothy Hiatt/Getty ImagesBY: DEENA ZARU, ABC NEWS

(NEW YORK) — As the contentious election fight between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden rages on, dominating the airways and social media feeds, presidential commentary is generally absent from the latest hip-hop protest songs of 2020. Hip-hop activism has been on the rise again over the past few months and while each new song is unique, top protest anthems show that hip-hop artists are generally not caught in the fray of presidential politics.

Treva Lindsey, a professor at Ohio State University whose expertise includes Black popular culture and hip-hop studies, said that artists “keeping their eye on the ball” in 2020 is consistent with the fact that historically there isn’t a “large body” of “direct critiques of presidents” in hip-hop because the genre has “always been preoccupied with the conditions and the system.”

Pointing to the fact that police brutality, non-indictments and non-convictions of police officers who kill unarmed Black men and women occurred under every administration, Lindsey said that while responses from presidents like Barack Obama may be “better than what we’ve seen with Trump,” these systemic injustices are “not singular to any particular president.” And in the throes of a chaotic race, artists are looking beyond the day-to-day drama of 2020 by focusing on the bigger picture.