Five dope vintage rap songs that reference Donald Trump

Kanye West meets with President-elect Donald Trump in New York in December. Sam Hodgson/The New York Times
Kanye West meets with President-elect Donald Trump in New York in December. Sam Hodgson/The New York Times

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 Jewels’ 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.”

 

 

 

Gone Country: 10 crazy pop-country collaboration predictions

These are crazy times we live in. A reality TV star is running for president. Hoverboards are things you can buy. And country artists like Kenny Chesney are recording songs with pop artists like P!nk.

It’s a smart business decision, to be sure. And Kenny’s just following in the footsteps of other artists before him, from Florida Georgia Line and the Backstreet Boys to Brad Paisley and Demi Lovato to Dierks Bentley and Elle King.

All this cross-promotion isn’t new, but it’s certainly become more rampant these days. Which made me wonder— What are the most crazy country-pop collaborations I could think of? Well, here’s the top 10, ranked from least outrageous to most outrageous. Listen up, record execs.

10. Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 14: Justin Timberlake performs on stage at Barclays Center on December 14, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for M2M Construction)
NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 14: Justin Timberlake performs on stage at Barclays Center on December 14, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for M2M Construction)

This one has the best shot at happening, since they actually performed together at the 2015 CMAs. I’d buy a duet album from them. Plus, Timberlake and Stapleton together on a version of “Fire Away” is tailor-made for radio appeal.

9. Jason Aldean and Ludacris (again)

They already got together on “Dirt Road Anthem,” which means duplicating that success shouldn’t be hard to do. Think about it. “Fast 8” comes out soon. Just make the song about fast cars, friends, freedom and family and you’ve got a hit.

via GIPHY

8. Bo Burnham and Wheeler Walker, Jr.

Bo Burnham performs in Pittsburgh in 2012. Photo by Flickr user Jennifer.
Bo Burnham performs in Pittsburgh in 2012. Photo by Flickr user Jennifer.

If you haven’t heard Wheeler Walker, Jr.’s album “Redneck S—,” you’re denying yourself a wonderfully profane good time. The alter ego of comedian Ben Hoffman’s debut album sounds like a raunch film set to steel guitar. Combine that gleeful anarchism with Burnham’s piano-led humor, and there’s a great commentary on country music there somewhere. Speaking of, have you heard “Panderin’“? It’s great.

7. Britney Spears and Sam Hunt

Sam Hunt performs in concert during the iHeartCountry Festival at The Frank Erwin Center on April 30, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman
Sam Hunt performs in concert during the iHeartCountry Festival at The Frank Erwin Center on April 30, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

Rapping, synths, Auto-Tune, timed drums and a shared chorus could make this collaboration the song of the summer. Bonus points if Sam throws something in there about how he used to listen to “…Oops, I Did It Again” as a teen.

6. Dolly Parton and Nicki Minaj

FILE - In this June 28, 2015 file photo, Nicki Minaj appears at the BET Awards in Los Angeles. Taylor Swift apologized to Minaj Thursday, July 23, on Twitter after the pair traded words Tuesday after MTV announced the nominees for the VMAs, where Swift is the leader with nine. Minaj was upset she didn't earn a nomination for video of the year for “Anaconda” and launched a series of tweets about how slim women earn top nominations. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
FILE – In this June 28, 2015 file photo, Nicki Minaj appears at the BET Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

I’m thinking like a dueling banjos/yodeling jam between the two respective queens of their genres. And it would have to be a feminist anthem, obviously.

5. Loretta Lynn and Drake

Loretta Lynn performs at the BBC Music showcase at Stubb's during South by Southwest March 17. (Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Loretta Lynn performs at the BBC Music showcase at Stubb’s during South by Southwest March 17. (Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

They both started from the bottom, now they’re here. I’m envisioning a nice back-and-forth about the road to fame and the trials of success over a melancholy dancehall beat, full of homespun wisdom from Kentucky and the 6, respectively.

4. Luke Bryan and Fergie

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 15: Recording artist Luke Bryan, winner of the Male Vocalist of the Year award, poses in the press room during the 2014 American Country Countdown Awards at Music City Center on December 15, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Sara Kauss/Getty Images)
Recording artist Luke Bryan poses in the press room during the 2014 American Country Countdown Awards at Music City Center on December 15, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Sara Kauss/Getty Images)

Fergie’s new song is all about how she “makes that MILF money,” and Bryan’s been trying to go in a more sultry, adult-contemporary direction with a few of his songs on “Kill the Lights.” I have no clue how this collaboration would turn out, but something like it is probably in the back of some studio suit’s mind, and it would be amazing/horrible to watch.

3. Jake Owen and Shakira

ORG XMIT: BRO157 Columbian singer Shakira performs at the opening concert for the soccer World Cup at Orlando stadium in Soweto, South Africa, Thursday, June 10, 2010. The Soccer World Cup kicks off on Friday, June 11. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Columbian singer Shakira performs at the opening concert for the soccer World Cup at Orlando stadium in Soweto, South Africa, Thursday, June 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Jake meets Shakira on the beach somewhere, he sings her a love song, Coronoa is drunk, hips are truthful, multiple music markets are satisfied, everyone goes home happy.

2. Granger Smith and Tiffany Trump

inger Granger Smith attends the 2016 iHeartCountry Festival at The Frank Erwin Center on April 30, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman
inger Granger Smith attends the 2016 iHeartCountry Festival at The Frank Erwin Center on April 30, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

Probably would be a song all about how life is actually better in the big city, where you can live it up, party it down, and not worry about your minor-league woes.

1. Country Taylor Swift feat. Pop Taylor Swift feat. Kanye West feat. Kim Kardashian

ORG XMIT: NY455 FILE-This Sept. 13, 2009 file photo shows singer Kanye West taking the microphone from singer Taylor Swift as she accepts the "Best Female Video" award during the MTV Video Music Awards in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow,File)
ORG XMIT: NY455 FILE-This Sept. 13, 2009 file photo shows singer Kanye West taking the microphone from singer Taylor Swift as she accepts the “Best Female Video” award during the MTV Video Music Awards in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow,File)

Less of a collaboration than a full-on rap battle, this song would sample KimYe’s conversation with T-Swift about “Famous,” and incorporate verses from Swift’s beginnings as a teen country starlet, West’s early hip-hop career and Swift’s later “1989” era, all set to West’s “Life of Pablo”-style production. The song would be as schizophrenic and calculating as their relationship, and it would only vault their super stars higher.

Got any other crazy pop-country collaborations? Send ’em my way @jakeharris4 or jharris@statesman.com.

Gone Country aims to thoughtfully explore the country music genre and where it’s headed, with a focus on national trends and buzzworthy news of the week. For info about album releases and concerts, check out this week’s Country Music Roundup.

Questions, comments, suggestions? Let me know on Twitter @jakeharris4 or through email at jharris@statesman.com.

This week’s playlist: Get mad about the Grammys all over again!

We’ll say this for the 57th Grammy Awards: #kanyewasright.

Singer-songwriter Sam Smith at the 57th Grammy Awards on February 8.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Singer-songwriter Sam Smith at the 57th Grammy Awards on February 8. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Sunday’s music awards show gave us something to talk about, thanks to Mr. West’s fakeout-cum-rant about the virtues of Beyonce’s smash self-titled album over Beck’s award-winning (but, hey, a little snoozy) “Morning Phase.” Let’s not forget, though, that surrounding trickster god Yeezy’s demonstration about artistic integrity (or something) were performances stacked on performances. There was our personal favorite, a duet between Hozier and Annie Lennox, and a Kristen Wiig-featuring “Chandelier” from Sia. Don’t forget a couple appearances from Kanye West himself, either.

This week’s playlist is all 2015 Grammys, all the time: winning songs by artists ranging from Roseanne Cash to Pharrell to Tenacious D, as well tracks from the aforementioned performers and a few more to boot. Be forewarned: the Rihanna-Paul McCartney-Kanye West collaboration “FourFiveSeconds” is not on Spotify. As a consolation, we have included both the original version of “Stay With Me” by Grammy wunderkind Sam Smith, as well as the duet version with Mary J. Blige that the pair performed at the awards show.

Listen to this week’s playlist, now on Spotify.